Summary

Untitled Drawing is executed on two sheets of cream cartridge paper which have been glued together side by side. The vertical join along the centre remains visible. It is worked mainly in graphite with some biro and the paper is punctured by pinpricks in several places by the use of compasses and drawing pins. Some of the lines that traverse both sheets are continuous, while others are dislocated. This is a result of Deacon having worked on the sheets separately, as well as in tandem. The left-hand sheet was worked on first, with a circle placed on the median line. The second sheet was subsequently placed alongside the first, and the drawing activity moved over to the right-hand side. The work progressed over a number of sessions, with gaps of days or weeks between sessions. At some point during this process, the sheets were glued together and the drawing developed across both.

The drawing was made a couple of years after Deacon completed the series, It's Orpheus When There's Singing, one of which is in Tate's collection (It's Orpheus When There's Singing #7, 1978-9, Tate T04859). Untitled Drawing is developed using a similar process: a geometric shape (in this case a circle) taken as a point of departure, and subsequently elaborated with the help of geometry and a compass. In conversation with a Tate curator (29 October 1996), Deacon has described this drawing's rationale as 'the deconstruction or subversion of a circle'.

Further reading:
A Quiet Revolution: British Sculpture Since 1965, exhibition catalogue, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago 1987.
Jon Thompson, Pier Luigi Tazzi and Peter Schjeldahl, Richard Deacon, London 1995.
Sculptors' Drawings Presented by the Weltkunst Foundation, broadsheet, Tate Gallery, London 1994 [p.3].

Helen Delaney
November 2001