RICHARD DUCKER
The use of cement in Richard Ducker’s most recent sculptures emphasises a kind of
death, or a modernist monumentality, but the objects it coats and with which it is
juxtaposed evoke nostalgia, myths soaked in dreams, and fairy tales gone wrong. If a
domestic interior is evoked, it is one in which homely things have sprouted aggressive
appendages, grown unexpected textures, or multiplied into viral aggregates, as if to
embody the nightmares that commodity fetishes might dream of if they fell asleep. Like
Proust’s madeleine dipped in tea, they evoke memories and sensations according to a
logic that combines cultural association with phenomenological fantasies of sensual
experiences, often clashing within the same piece. In
Death Star (and Baby), for
example, the familiar shape of plastic bottles is made strange by a coating of intensely
black flock, at once attractive and repellent in its soot-like impurity, contrasting the
smooth sensation of drinking ‘spring water’, with the gagging artificiality of spray-flock;
we are reminded with a jolt how toxic our obsession with purity and cleanliness really is.
Lots of fluids seem to run through the work: sucked in by a fur-lined, mouth-like creature
with the energy of a crack addict; apparently running between a suitcase – travel,
escape and refreshing holidays – and a concrete block that seems to be feeding off (or
to?) a tree that might have been killed or perhaps re-energised by artistic usage...
Sculptural processes have become the magic instruments of a post-Freudian fairy-tale,
in which life and death, pleasure and pain, nourishment and poison have become
entangled in an exchange that could lead to deadly battle, intense pleasure, or remain a
secret.

Emotionally evocative without ever telling a clear story, affecting without being obvious,
Ducker’s sculptures seem to be there with the mute theatricality of minimalism, yet to
engage with notions of transformation. With simple formal means, they excavate fears,
anxieties and desires associated with the most visceral of physical sensations –
attraction and repulsion, pleasure and pain, need and self-sufficiency. The work keeps
referring back to the body, a missing body we as viewers cannot help but imagine filling-
in for with our own, transforming it into the ill-fitting piece of a jigsaw we are trying in vain
to complete with our presence.

                                   -- Patrizia Di Bello, 2007



Education:

Goldsmiths College, University of London, M.A. Fine Art
Reading University, B.A. Fine Art

Selected Exhibitions:

[forthcoming]
2008        Gone Tomorrow Gallery, London, 'Words Fail Me'

2008        Schwartz Gallery, London
2008        Concrete & Glass, London, 'Heart of Glass'
2008        Bearspace, London, 'WasteState'
2008        Fieldgate Gallery, London, 'Matt Franks - Sheena Macrae - Richard Ducker'
2007        Gone Tomorrow Gallery, London, 'Durty Turkey'
2007        Katherine E. Nash Gallery, Minneapolis, 'Enchanted'
2007        Fieldgate Gallery, London, 'Intervention'
2006-7    Studio 1.1, London, 'Santa's Grotto'
2006        Fieldgate Gallery, London, ‘Houses in Motion’
2006        Fieldgate Gallery, London, ‘Beauty and the Beast’
2006        sevenseven contemporary art, London, ‘No-Ship’
2006        Fieldgate Gallery, London, ‘Kamikaze Blossom’
2006        sevenseven contemporary art, London, ‘MCTwo’ (‘Memoire Collective II’)
2005        Flowers Central, London, ‘Small is Beautiful’
2005        The Crypt @ St. Pancras, London, ‘Memoire Collective’
2005        Cell Project Space, London, ‘Hard Labour’
2004        21 New Fetter Lane, London, ‘Sonya’s Office’
2002        The Yard Gallery, Nottingham, ‘Growth & Form’
2002        London Art Fair, London, Mark Jason Gallery
2001        The Kitchen, New York, ‘Art for Plot’
2001        TWO10 Gallery, London, Wellcome Trust
2000        Royal Academy, Edinburgh, SSA Annual Open 2000  
2000        Mappin Gallery, Sheffield, ‘New Art 2000’
1998        Cable Street Gallery, London, ‘Store’
1997        Commercial Too, London, ‘WheNever’
1996        Commercial Too, London, ‘Nicepace’
1994        Shad Thames, London, ‘Inflation Saints’
1994        IAS, London, ‘Mix Fiz Spin’
1993        ICA, London, ‘Art for Equality’
1993        Clove Gallery, London, ‘Contingent’
1992        Kettles Yard, Cambridge, ‘Face Values’
1992        Serpentine Gallery, London, Barclays Young Artist Award

Artwork in private collections in Britain, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Australia and
Singapore