Richard Deacon was born in Bangor, Wales in 1949. He studied at Somerset College of Art, Taunton in 1968, and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London in 1970–73 then the Royal College of Art in 1974–77 where he gained an MA in Environmental Media. Richard now lives and works in London.
Solo exhibitions include Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland (2015); Tate Britain, London, United Kingdom (2014); Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany (2011); Musée de la Ville de Strasbourg, France (2010); Portland Art Museum, Oregon (2008); PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2001); MACCSI, Caracas, Venezuela (1996); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1989) and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1988). He represented Wales at the Venice Biennale (2007) and has participated in the Venice Architecture Biennale (2012), the Glasgow International (2006) and documenta 9 (1992). He won the Turner Prize in 1987, the Robert Jakobsen Prize, Museum Wurth, Kunzelsau, Germany in 1995 and Documenta IX in 1992. He was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the Ministry of Culture, France in 1996 and made a CBE in 1999.
Richard Deacon is one of Britain's most successful and influential sculptors. Working both on a domestic and a monumental scale, Richard Deacon combines the essence of human form with elements of engineering in his precisely made structures. Deacon's catalogue of materials is vast and diverse and has in the past included laminated wood, stainless steel, corrugated iron, polycarbonate, marble, clay, vinyl, foam and leather. He is known for his tenacious progression through materials and will rarely stick to the same material for a new work. Instead he changes material each time, which he sees as a way of beginning again each time and thus of finishing what had gone before. Deacon considers himself a 'fabricator', taking pride and delight in the manufacturing and engineering of the finished result. Often the process of the construction is exposed; metals are riveted together in sweeping shapes, screws protrude, remnants of glue remain and wood is bent and twisted into unlikely ribbons and smoothed to solid perfection in volumetric states. This exposure is a deliberate act to emphasise the sculptor behind the sculpture, raise questions about the distinction between art and craft and artistic labour. There is also a conscious narrative that permeates many of Richard Deacon's sculptures, contriving meaning through material that is reiterated and reinforced through his titling; 'Water Under the Bridge' (2008), 'No Stone Unturned' (1999).