Audio transcript

Richard Deacon 'After'

Narrator: The British artist Richard Deacon talks about the large wooden sculpture in this room. It's called 'After'. Deacon made it after studying a painting by the seventeenth-century artist Poussin called 'Landscape with a Man killed by a Snake', from which the sculpture takes its writhing, sinuous form.

I think 'After' immediately raises questions of after what? And I think the duality of the work between the outside and inside, the sense of an inner core, the way the light behaves on the inside would lead you to think of that duality as being a kind of body-spirit duality. So that would be one aspect of one's thinking. I'm not sure that I'd want it to be tied up with that entirely, because obviously it's materially very specific and there are questions about what the relationship between inside the tubes - the space inside the tubes - to the work as a whole, that kind of ribbed structure, what the connotations of that ribbed structure were. I mean also because of its scale - it looks like a kind of fairground structure of some sort. It goes up and down like a Big Dipper and as you walk around it you feel that. The points where the wooden structure leaves the ground, which are the points where you could possibly get into it, are also the areas where the steel structure acts as a barrier, where you can look into it, over the work. The actual width of the section is big to make stepping into it kind of awkward. You can't step over it and you're barred from crawling into it, so the inside of the contour of the tube is visible, but it's not inviting, it's not a place where you're meant to be.