A survey of works from the 1960s, 70s and 80s, the exhibition includes a selection of Flanagan's key early explorations in material and form instrumental in shaping his later career, some having not been exhibited for over 30 years. The artist's use of unconventional materials and his central position in early British Conceptual Art is further informed by displays of contemporary material from the Estate archive, including examples of the artist's concrete poetry, working drawings, logbooks and photographs. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of Flanagan's first solo show, held at Rowan Gallery, London, in 1966; Animal, Vegetable, Mineral was the title American writer and curator Gene Baro gave to his review of that show.
Barry Flanagan represented Great Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1982 and in 1991 was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts and awarded an OBE. Major retrospectives of his work have been held at the Fundación 'La Caixa' Madrid in 1993 (which then toured to the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes in 1994), Tate Britain and the Irish Modern Museum of Art, Dublin.