William Turnbull b. 1922
T01384 No. 2 1963
Steel, painted red, 84¼ x 14¿ x 14¿ (214 x 38 x 38).
Presented by Alistair McAlpine 1971.
Exh: Newport Harbor Pavilion Gallery, Balboa, California, March–April 1966 (15, repr.); The Alistair McAlpine Gift, Tate Gallery, June–August 1971 (48, repr.).
Lit: Richard Morphet, in catalogue of The Alistair McAlpine Gift, Tate Gallery, 1971, pp. 106–21.
Turnbull’s last totemic sculpture, ‘Oedipus’, 1962–3, led directly to the group of austerer sculptures each dominated by a single tall cylinder, from which come T01384, T01386 and T01387, as well as T01150. In ‘Oedipus’ the bronze, wood and stone cylinders are exceptionally pure by comparison with earlier totems. The even more regular and much longer cylinder which is the principal feature of ‘No. 1’, 1962–3 (coll. the artist) was produced by turning wood on a lathe steadily to refine its shape before casting if in bronze. It retains a just perceptibly irregular outline. Realising that this process was ludicrously long and complex to achieve a form which could be bought ready-made, Turnbull switched to metal construction—a logical development both formally and in terms of his ‘found elements’ process…