Catalogue entry

William Tucker b. 1935

T01374 Unfold 1963

Not inscribed.
Painted aluminium, 28 X46¿ x 52¾ (71 x 117 x 134).
Presented by Alistair McAlpine 1971
Exh: Rowan Gallery, July 1963 (8); Richard Feigen Gallery, New York, December 1964; The Alistair McAlpine Gift, Tate Gallery, June–August 1971 (38, repr.).
Lit: Richard Morphet, in catalogue of The Alistair McAlpine Gift, 1971, pp. 89–105.

See entry on T01373. ‘Unfold’ is a unique piece.

As folded, ‘Unfold’ appears to be, but is not, a symmetrical image. The band of lighter pink in its larger half plays on the always critical character in Tucker’s work (here, one of ambiguity) of a change of plane, by distracting from though not obscuring the source of the asymmetry. The angles of the folds in these two works, determined by the average spectator’s eye-level, present most openly and naturally to his view the total form of the work, and thus maximise its ambiguities. A further role of colour here is to give a visual richness equivalent to the texture and detailing in works like ‘Margin I’. Without being intentionally specific, these first three works, ‘Margin I’, ‘II’ and ‘Unfold’, have a strongly evocative character. In all of them, suggestions of the human figure are, among Tucker’s work, unusually easily derived; colour is sensuous, and in ‘Unfold’ it combines with a shape which one might variously link with Matisse and Wesselmann to convey an erotic quality. Even these works, however, are prevented from being primarily illustrative of ideas separate from construction and abstract perception as such, by a determined matter-of-fact character, which Tucker’s work increasingly expressed.

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1970–1972, London 1972.