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b. 1977, United Kingdom

Michael Dean Biography

Borrowing instruments and strategies from the practices of the sculptor, the writer and the typographer, British artist Michael Dean investigates the relationship between text and physicality. Exploring the three-dimensional possibilities of language, Dean often ‘spells out’ his words through an alphabet of human-scale shapes, employing industrial and everyday materials such as concrete, steel, MDF, padlocks and dyed books of his writings.

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While the transmutation of language is particularly important to Dean’s practice, his sculptures are not intended to be read as words, but rather to be identified as an element of language in their own form and imagined as a word or idea. He attributes a physical form to a personally developed language, based on a series of typographic alphabets, which he designs himself.

Addressing the timeless subject of human intimacy, references to the human body are recurrent throughout Dean’s works. Casts of his and his children's fists, limbs and fingers with drilled out eye holes and tongue muscles appear among the forms. The latter of these is particularly emblematic of Dean’s overlapping interest in touch and language, since it is the part of the body which can feel, as well as taste, and which also moulds words before they leave our mouths.

Michael Dean (Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK, 1977) lives and works in London.

His most recent solo exhibitions include Having you on, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2018); Analogue LOL, ShanghArt Gallery, Shanghai (2018); Four Fucksakes, Herald St | Museum St, London (2017); Teaxths and Angeruage, Portikus, Frankfurt (2017); Sightings: Michael Dean or Lost True Leaves, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2016) and Qualities of Violence, De Appel, Amsterdam (2015).

Additionally, his work has been included in institutional group exhibitions such as The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture 2018, The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield (2018); Against The Wall?, S.M.A.K., Ghent (2018); Skulptur Projekte Münster 2017, Münster (2017); Turner Prize, Tate Britain, London (2016); Sculptures Also Die, Centre for Contemporary Culture Strozzina, Florence, (2015); Mirror City, Hayward Gallery London, London (2014) and A History of Inspiration, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013).

Text courtesy Mendes Wood DM.

Michael Dean Featured Artworks

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Untitled by Michael Dean contemporary artwork
Michael DeanUntitled, 2011Reinforced concrete
175 x 30 x 20 cm
Mendes Wood DM Contact Gallery
LOL (Working Title) by Michael Dean contemporary artwork
Michael DeanLOL (Working Title), 2018Steel, concrete, cable ties, scene tape and perishable goods
155 x 183 x 100 cm
Mendes Wood DM Contact Gallery
Unfucking Titled (BLESS) by Michael Dean contemporary artwork
Michael DeanUnfucking Titled (BLESS), 2018Steel, concrete, paperback publications, cable ties, scene tape, wire fencing
182 x 182 x 87 cm
Andrew Kreps Gallery Contact Gallery
shore sake (Working Title) by Michael Dean contemporary artwork
Michael Deanshore sake (Working Title), 2017Concrete, cable ties, steel, paper pages, lock, drink can
215 x 40 x 58 cm
Andrew Kreps Gallery Contact Gallery
LOL (Working Title) by Michael Dean contemporary artwork
Michael DeanLOL (Working Title), 2018Concrete, steel reinforcement, plastic, cable ties, publications, stickers
181 x 127 x 80 cm
Andrew Kreps Gallery Contact Gallery
Analogue Series (Leaves) 类比系列(树叶) by Michael Dean contemporary artwork
Michael DeanAnalogue Series (Leaves) 类比系列(树叶), 2018Ink stained publication, cable tie
21 x 28 x 26 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Lols (Working Title) by Michael Dean contemporary artwork
Michael DeanLols (Working Title), 2018Concrete, steel reinforcement, plastic, padlocks, ink stained publications
215 x 118 x 100 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
lollol (Working Title) by Michael Dean contemporary artwork
Michael Deanlollol (Working Title), 2018Concrete, steel reinforcement, plastic, publications, ink stained publication, cable ties, bike locks, papers on crashed cans, leaves
180 x 80 x 75 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery

Michael Dean Recent Exhibitions

View All (6)
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, EnormousBalls at Mendes Wood DM, Brussels
Closed
13 June–18 July 2020 Group Exhibition EnormousBalls Mendes Wood DMBrussels
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, White Flash at ShanghART, Beijing
Closed
5–31 August 2018 Group Exhibition White Flash ShanghARTBeijing
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Sculptures at Andrew Kreps Gallery, 537 West 22nd Street, New York
Closed
12 July–10 August 2018 Group Exhibition Sculptures Andrew Kreps Gallery537 West 22nd Street

Michael Dean Represented By

Mendes Wood DM contemporary art gallery in São Paulo, Brazil Mendes Wood DM São Paulo, Brussels, New York

Michael Dean In Related Press

How Important is Art as a Form of Protest? Related Press How Important is Art as a Form of Protest? 3 April 2017, Frieze

Given the current political climate, we here at frieze have been reflecting on the role of art in responding to conflict. With this in mind, we invited a cross-section of artists, curators and writers to answer two deceptively simple questions: ‘How important is art as a form of protest?’ and ‘How effective is it as a conduit of change?’ Responses...

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Why this year's Turner Prize is one of the best in ages Related Press Why this year's Turner Prize is one of the best in ages 25 October 2016, The Telegraph

It’s sculpture, but not as you know it. For years the shortlists for the annual £25,000 Turner Prize given to an artist under 50, with the runners-up each receiving £5,000, have focused on sound art, archive art, theory art, video art and other more or less immaterial forms. Last year’s competition, when much of the...

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This years Turner Prize exhibition makes good on its potential to shock Related Press This years Turner Prize exhibition makes good on its potential to shock 5 October 2016, Hyperallergic

LONDON — It’s the same thing every year. The press has a field day with some sensational piece that challenges the very definition of art and the Turner Prize is front page news for the day — a rare event for any contemporary art show — bringing it to the attention of hundred of thousands, if not millions, of potential...

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