Barry Flanagan (1941 – 2009)
- 156.2 X 39.3 X 53.4
- Accession number
During his long sculptural career, Barry Flanagan was not afraid to take new directions. His work pursued certain themes, but not a logical progression. But of course art is not necessarily subject to logical laws. Flanagan was, however, careful to consider tradition in sculpture, to utilize the accumulation of experience in the professions of bronze casting and stone carving. Sculpture is an art concerned with shape, and Flanagan constantly tested methods of making shapes. In the 1960s he experimented with materials which were new in sculptural terms, for example with coloured hessian sewn into shapes, and sand. At the beginning of the 1970s he turned to stone carving, and a few years later took up modelling works in clay, from translation into bronze, the traditional, stable and most lasting of all sculptural materials.
In 1981 he held his first exhibition entirely of bronze sculptures, and many of them were concerned with the subject of the hare. Flanagan has often drawn animals, choosing them both for the mysterious ritual of their lives and for their formal attributes. He made his bronze hares so that they would gently tease and reverberate with the classical sculptural tradition, anthropomorphic figures full of vitality and engaged in physical activity: either they stand on their back legs in postures of delicate balance (not unlike the bronze dancing figures of Degas and Rodin) to take part in a parody of human sporting activity, such as boxing. Cricketercombines both approaches. Flanagan, although very catholic in his tastes and preferences, has a peculiarly English streak, revealed by the knowledge of his love of cricket and by his use of the symbolic and revered beast of the Anglo-Saxon world, the hare so full of magical life and energy. Flanagan’s sculptural practice has utilized two methods in this sculpture – the figure of the hare is modelled swiftly, confidently and with humour form soft clay while the three stumps and bails of the wicket are cast straight from their wooden originals, with the sculptor’s only artistic intervention being their positioning into a tripod form, serving as the stable base for the jaunty posture of the animal posed aloft.
A selection of paintings and sculpture: The British Council Collection, The British Council 1984