Barry Flanagan

no. 5 ‘71


Not on display

Barry Flanagan 1941–2009
Felt, wood and rope
Object: 635 × 2642 × 2515 mm
Purchased 1973

Display caption

Flanagan wanted to show the sculptural properties of everyday things. No. 5 consists of 44 tapering hazel branches, 33 strips of felt and 3 ropes piled according to a system devised by the artist. Two branches are laid parallel to each other on the floor. A second pair are laid on top but positioned slightly closer together, and so on. The positioning of the felt and rope elements are also defined by the artist. However, the person installing the work chooses the reduction in width between the parallel branches on each layer, taking into account the location and surrounding space.

Gallery label, November 2009

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Catalogue entry

Barry Flanagan 1941–2009
no. 5 ’71
Hazel branches, coloured felt and rope
635 x 2642 x 2515 mm
Purchased from the Rowan Gallery, London (Grant–in–Aid) 1973

Exhibition History:
1971     Rowan Gallery, April 1971
1973     From Henry Moore to Gilbert & George, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, September–November 1973

1971     Studio International, vol.181 May 1971, p.218.
1971     Art International, vol.15, Summer 1971, p.91.
1973     From Henry Moore to Gilbert & George, exhibition catalogue, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels 1973, reproduced p.120.

The Sunday Times, 11 April 1971, reproduces a photograph by J.S. Lewinski of the artist installing this work.

no. 5 ’71 consists of forty-four hazel branches, thirty-three strips of coloured felt of which five are brown, fourteen pink and fourteen red, and three ropes. The branches – which are all approximately ninety-two inches long – are used interchangeably to make a structure by laying two parallel branches on the floor, separated by a space, then laying another pair, parallel to one another but at a right-angle to, and on top of the first pair; the two branches of the second pair being separated from each other by a space slightly smaller than that separating the two in the first pair. With the internal space again reduced slightly, a third pair of parallel branches is then laid on the second pair, at right angles again, and so on until there are twenty-two pairs.

The degree of steepness of the pile is determined by the width by which a particular installer chooses to reduce the gap each time, which he or she should decide according to his or her response to the space and place in which the work is being installed. Each branch is thicker at one end than at the other; to ensure the stability of the pile, the branches are thus laid big end to little end alternately.

The strips of felt are laid parallel to one another, and to half the branches, in one orientation only, in a particular sequence designated by the artist, in which the brown strips are lowest, the pink in the middle and the red at the top. The lowest strips are laid over and at ninety degrees to the second pair of branches, and the highest are laid over the last pair; the rest are interleaved at various specified levels. Two of the ropes are attached to the diagonally-opposite ends of the third pair of branches; the third rope is attached, above one of the other two, to the end of one of the branches in the thirteenth pair to be placed. The loose ends of the ropes lie on the floor.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1972–4: Biennial Report and illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1975, p.135.

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