Term applied to the work of young British sculptors in the 1980s who, in reaction to minimal and conceptual art, adopted a more traditional approach to materials, techniques and imagery

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  • Richard Deacon, 'After' 1998

    Richard Deacon
    After 1998
    Wood, steel, aluminium and resin
    unconfirmed: 1700 x 9500 x 3000 mm
    Purchased from funds provided by CGNU plc 2002 Tate

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  • Anish Kapoor, 'As if to Celebrate, I Discovered a Mountain Blooming with Red Flowers' 1981

    Anish Kapoor
    As if to Celebrate, I Discovered a Mountain Blooming with Red Flowers 1981
    Drawing, wood and mixed media
    object: 970 x 762 x 1600 mm object: 330 x 711 x 813 mm object: 210 x 153 x 470 mm
    Purchased 1983 Anish Kapoor

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  • Antony Gormley, 'Bed' 1980-1

    Antony Gormley
    Bed 1980-1
    Bread and parafin wax
    unconfirmed: 280 x 2200 x 1680 mm
    Presented by the artist 1995 Antony Gormley

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Around 1980 there can be seen to have been a general reaction in western art to the predominance of minimal and conceptual art in the previous decade. In painting this reaction took the form of neo-expressionism and related phenomena. In sculpture there was a notable return to the use of a wide range of techniques of fabrication and even the use of traditional materials and methods such as carving in stone and marble. Figurative and metaphoric imagery reappeared together with poetic or evocative titles.

In Britain a strong group of young sculptors emerged whose work although quite disparate, quickly became known as new British sculpture.

The principal artists associated with New British Sculpture were Stephen Cox, Tony Cragg, Barry FlanaganAntony Gormley, Richard Deacon, Shirazeh Houshiary, Anish Kapoor, Alison Wilding and Bill Woodrow.