1943 - 2004
Carl Plackman was one of the most challenging sculptors of his day and a generous and influential teacher, developing his work whilst lecturing at Goldsmiths College, London and other institutions across the UK. Many of the students he taught have since become major names in British contemporary art including Tony Cragg, Damien Hirst, Liam Gillick and Alison Wilding. Talking about his conversations with Plackman during his time at Goldsmith’s Hirst remembers:
It didn’t really answer any of the complex questions the work raises [Plackman’s], as invariably an insight into the man doesn’t necessarily shed light on the work of an artist. In fact if anything it made the work more enigmatic, more mysterious. But what it did give me was a belief in the work, a belief that there was a sound logic reverberating around the mini-universes he created, a logic that could be trusted, a logic where seemingly a playful god reigned supreme unencumbered by trivialities and rules such as clear narrative, reason and gravity, rules that are mostly helpful but, as we often forget, can sometimes hold us down too firmly.
Carl Plackman studied at the Royal College of Art under the tutelage of Bryan Kneale, Bernard Meadows and Ralph Brown. His work consists of sculpture, drawings, installation and occasionally photographs. In many cases his work is an attempt to examine how people communicate with each other and how objects often get in the way. The work appears to use real objects but more often than not these have been completely remade in a different material that become a decoy or a sham. The work often grew out of his interest in poetry, philosophy, cinema and the origins of language but he also became concerned with the subversiveness of the silent still image.
Solo shows of Carl Plackman have been held at various institutions across the UK, including the Arnolfini, Bristol; Huddersfield Art Gallery; Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston Upon Thames; Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff and Chisenhale Gallery, London. His work can be found in a number of prestigious permanent collections including the Tate Collection, Arts Council Collection, The Henry Moore Institute, Victoria and Albert Museum, British Museum, National Museum of Wales and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia.