William Turnbull

Marching Figures

1953

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Medium
Monotype on paper
Dimensions
Image: 500 x 566 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1990
Reference
P77470

Display caption

From the late 1940s, when he lived in Paris, Turnbull created sculptures based on highly simplified human and animal forms. He said of this work: 'I wanted to make sculpture that would express implication of movement (not describe it), ambiguity of content, and simplicity.' In this print Turnbull depicts a figure, or possibly a group of figures, going through a series of movements. He may be referring to the first photographs of the figure in motion done in the 1880s by Eadweard Muybridge, as well as to the French painter Marcel Duchamp's celebrated exploration of the body in motion, Nude Descending a Staircase of 1912.

Gallery label, August 2004