Richard Deacon's survey of abstract drawing
Jackson Pollock, Gordon Matta-Clark and Anish Kapoor all feature in the Drawing Room's new exhibition
We may think of drawing as the most figurative of arts - we don't call it illustration for nothing - and Richard Deacon also isn't an artist best known for his works on paper; he is, as we describe him in our monograph a "formally inventive, Turner Prize-winning sculptor."
So, what's the thinking behind this new exhibition? Deacon is the latest in a line of artists to curate a show at London's Drawing Room, the only public, non-profit gallery in Europe dedicated to the investigation and presentation of international contemporary drawing.
Abstract Drawing, which runs 20 February - 19 April, roughly coincides with Deacon's major exhibition at the Tate Britain, taking place 5 February - 27 April 2014. The broad theme for Deacon's drawing show is abstraction, yet the works are varied, both in terms of geography and period, and stylistic movements. There are 30 artists represented in the show, which spans 105 years, going back to the beginnings of the formal abstract art movement, and right up until the present day.
Still, Deacon, in his accompanying statement says he has no ambitions for this to be a universal survey, and that in putting the show together "around the idea of abstract drawing, these various strands - inscriptive, calligraphic, ornamental, generative, individuating and identifying - have all featured."
There are a few artists well known for their abstract drawings, such as Sol LeWitt and Hilma af Klint. There are also artists better-known for abstract works in other media, such as Jackson Pollock, Richard Serra and Anish Kapoor; there are also a couple of other inclusions, such as Gordon Matta-Clark, who aren't really known for painting or drawing, abstract or otherwise.
"One of the things that has interested me in making this selection - aside from the intrinsic delight at looking at so many drawings - has to do with ideas about what or where is the real," Deacon says.
Indeed, looking at this brief preview, it's hard not to recall Picasso's great line that "there is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality."
Traces of reality or otherwise, it looks like a well put together show. For more go here. For greater understanding of the abstract movement, pre-order our newly revised book, Painting Abstraction; for more on Richard Deacon, take a look at our monograph, and if you'd to know more about the other artists in the show, also consider our Anish Kapoor and Gordon Matta-Clark books.