Figures modeled or molded in beeswax, either as finished pieces or for use as forms for casting metal (see lost-wax casting) or creating preliminary models. At ordinary temperatures, beeswax can be cut and molded easily, it melts at a low temperature, it mixes with any colouring matter and takes surface tints well, and its texture can be modified by a variety of additives. The ancient Egyptians used wax figures of deities in their funeral rites, and the Romans used wax images as presents in the Saturnalia. Michelangelo used wax models in making preliminary sketches for his statues. Wax medallion portraits, popular in the 16th century, enjoyed renewed popularity in the 18th century. John Flaxman made many wax portraits and relief figures which Josiah Wedgwood translated into pottery. Exhibitions of wax figures are still popular, the most famous being those of Madame Tussaud's museums in London and other international cities.
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Three-dimensional art produced especially by forming hard or plastic materials into three-dimensional objects, usually by carving or modeling. The designs may be produced in freestanding objects (i.e., in the round), in relief, or in environments, and a variety of media may be used, including clay, wax, stone, metal, fabric, wood, plaster, rubber, and found objects. Materials may be carved, modeled, molded, cast, wrought, welded, sewn, or assembled and combined. Various forms of sculpture have been found in virtually every culture throughout history. Until the 20th century, sculpture was considered a representational art, but, beginning in the early 1900, nonrepresentational works were increasingly produced. The scope of the term became much wider in the second half of the 20th century. Present-day sculptors use any materials and methods of manufacture that will serve their purposes, and so the art of sculpture can no longer be identified with any special materials or techniques. Seealso environmental sculpture; kinetic sculpture.
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Sculpture in which movement (as of a motor-driven part or a changing electronic image) is a basic element. Actual movement became an important aspect of sculpture in the 20th century. Pioneers such as Naum Gabo, Marcel Duchamp, László Moholy-Nagy, and Alexander Calder produced movement by such means as water, mechanical devices, and air currents (as in Calder's mobiles). Neo-Dadaist works such as Jean Tinguely's self-destructing Homage to New York (1960) embody the concept of a sculpture that functions as both an object and an event—a “happening.”
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Art form, developed in the 20th century, that involves or encompasses the spectator. The environmental sculptor can use any medium, from mud and stone to light and sound. Indoor environmental works often incorporate sculptural figures in detailed settings in gallery or museum spaces. Outdoor works in natural or urban settings include “earthworks” (large-scale alterations of the Earth's surface effected by earth-moving equipment) such as Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty (1970), a rock-and-dirt spiral 1,500 feet long in the Great Salt Lake. The wrapped buildings of Christo are notable urban environmental works.
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Richard Deacon was born in Bangor in Wales, educated at Plymouth College and then studied at the Somerset College of Art in Taunton, St Martin's School of Art in London and the Royal College of Art, also in London. He left the Royal College in 1977, and went on to study part time at the Chelsea School of Art. Deacon's first one man show came in 1978 in Brixton.
Deacon's work is abstract, but often alludes to anatomical functions. His works are often constructed from everyday materials such as laminated plywood, and he calls himself a "fabricator" rather than a "sculptor". His early pieces are typically made up of sleek curved forms, with later works sometimes more bulky.
Deacon's body of work includes small-scale works suitable for showing in art galleries, as well as much larger pieces shown in sculpture gardens and objects made for specific events, such as dance performances.
Deacon won the Turner Prize in 1987 (nominated for his touring show For Those Who Have Eyes) having previously been nominated in 1984.
Deacon was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1999 New Year Honours List. In 2007 he represented Wales at the Venice Biennale. He was one of the five artists shortlisted for the Angel of the South project in January 2008.