A student of the celebrated British sculptor Caro, Flanagan explored every technique in sculpture in an attempt to challenge our traditional perception of the art. Opting for a figurative style, he introduced animals into his sculptural vocabulary. Elephants, horses, unicorns, cougars and hares humorously embodied human qualities and failings. The motif of the hare appeared in his work in the late 1970s and became his signature. It represents a universal figure—sometimes comical, sometimes sad—that pays tribute to the history of sculpture, as well as to dance and literature. With his sculptures, Flanagan invented a way to express himself freely and imaginatively: “I sculpt hares because they have things to say that interest me.” Typical of the Hares series, this Drummer combines a traditional sculptural technique—bronze casting—with an ironic and absurd figurative subject. Created in 1988, it shows a proud-looking, anthropomorphic hare put in a funny situation.
The Estate of Barry Flanagan. Courtesy Plubronze Limited