Barry Flanagan was born in Prestatyn, North Wales, and studied sculpture in Art and Crafts at Birmingham College. After spells at different colleges, he was accepted on the Vocational Diploma in Sculpture at St. Martin’s School of Art in London 1964. Flanagan graduated in 1966 and taught at St. Martin’s School of Art and central school of Art and Crafts, between 1967 and 1971. He was best known for his bronze statues of hares and other animals. In 1991, he was elected at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and received an OBE for his contributions to arts.
Flanagan work has been perceived as fundamental and independent. He revolutionised sculptural material in 1965, while still a student and presented some of his work at Better Books and Charing Cross Road. He was also interested in pataphysics, which is the science of superinduced upon metaphysics, whether within or beyond the latter’s limitations. And this ethos was evident in the playfulness of his approach, which allows materials to find their own sculptural form, whether sand, rope, stone, sheet metal, clay or bronze. His work was included in the exhibition between poetry and painting at the Institute of Contemporary Arts ICA in 1965.
Barry Flanagan is perhaps best known for his dynamic or often monumental, bronze hares, which spring into life and were first exhibited in the early 1980s. His return to bronze with the hare in 1969, was part of his exploration into different media from sand, rope and cloth pieces. Flanagan represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1982, and has had his work held at major retrospective places such as CaixaForum Madrid in 1993, and Musee D’Arts De Nantes France.