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Barry Flanagan at Tate Britain

Through the 1960s and 1970s one of the greatest names in the British art scene with Barry Flanagan. His sculpting moved away from the norm and during the 1960s his work was reduced to only process and material. Much of his work made viewers of it wonder why he was doing such strange sculptures, for example, he would have a pile of sticks supported by nothing but gravity.

One of his most notable sculptures was a sack that contained only sand. At the time these works were regarded as exciting because they were taking sculpting to a whole new area. Today however these sculptures look out of date, to the modern art fan they are experiments and little more.

Flanagan’s work at the time was something that curators and critics loved but the public simply found boring, Flanagan is a perfect example of how experimental art doesn’t last.

The Tate Britain is holding an exhibition dedicated to some of his works. Bronze hares are on display at the end of the exhibition and it shows how the subject matter evolved from initial carvings made from stone, to his final works of art.

Many people who remember the first time these bronze hares were shown might have forgotten how strange they were, this exhibition is a good reminder. These bronze hares were created at a time when animal sculptures were not often done and bronze was a material not often used.

Today David Tremlett seems to be taking the place which Flanagan held all those decades ago. His work today seems to be breaking the same ground that Flanagan’s used to. What is different about the work of Tremlett is that he is making his work more visually appealing. Generally, it is unusual to see his work in the UK so while it is on display at the Tate Britain make sure you take the time to see the exhibition.

That said, there is no real hurry, the exhibition is set to go on for five years. The work on display is interesting and involves a wide range of colours and makes good use of the space the exhibition has been allocated at the gallery.


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