The exhibition, on view until June 9th, brings together a selection of Flanagan’s iconic bronze hares from the 1980s – 1990s and his lesser-known works made with rope, sand, cloth, stone, ceramics and light as a sculptural component (largely from the 1960s – 70s). These show alongside a series of small paper collages, drawings, prints and films, a hole in the sea (1969), sand girl (1970) and bollards project (1970).
For Flanagan the activity of making sculpture, although primarily visual, involved orchestrating ways to demonstrate the sensual and the tactile; surface, color, weight, balance, sound, and light. From the outset of his career, Flanagan questioned expectations and value structures; testing the limits of the genre and so redefining sculpture’s conventions.
In 1979 Flanagan’s investigations turned to figuration, modelling and casting in bronze at a time when the medium was as unexpected as the soft sculpture and use of building materials had been to its audiences fifteen years previously. He was drawn to the figure of the hare, the motif for which he is now best known, via his immersion in country pursuits of game keeping and poaching. Flanagan’s primary fascination, however, lay in the hare’s anthropomorphic potential; its ability to magnify a range of expressive attributes, to convey meaning and feeling beyond what he felt was possible in the manifestation of human form.
Images: Installation views of Barry Flanagan The Hare is Metaphor, Paul Kasmin Gallery 2018, © Barry Flanagan photos by Diego Flores, Courtesy Kasmin Gallery.