Created in 2000, the year of the artist’s solo exhibition at Tate Liverpool, Acrobat on Pyramid is an animated example of Barry Flanagan’s celebrated hare sculptures. Inspired by the memory of a hare the artist saw leaping through the South Downs, the animal became Flanagan’s most recognisable motif and synonymous with his artistic practice. Abandoning the more unconventional materials that had come to characterise his work in the 1970s, Flanagan began to cast a series of animals in bronze, whose lofty symbolism within sculptural tradition is somewhat undermined by the humour the hare. In Acrobat on Pyramid, a lithe hare balances atop the titular pyramid, an athletic delight which seemingly defies sculpture’s weighty materiality. The artist was so taken with this form that another cast of this work was included in his 2006 solo presentation at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. Modelling the bronze into a nimble, wiry form, Flanagan creates a sense of dynamism and vitality, which seems to course through the perfectly balanced hare. As Paul Levy notes, ‘Nothing is more free, vital, spontaneous, and alive – from Aesop’s hare outrun by the tortoise to Bugs Bunny – than a capering hare... Flanagan’s hares do not carry much historic symbolic freight; they simply frolic freely and expressively. They don’t symbolise life, they live it.’ (P. Levy, quoted in Barry Flanagan: Linear Sculptures in Bronze and Stone Carvings, exh. cat., London, Waddington Galleries, 2004).