John Latham



Not on display

John Latham 1921–2006
Acrylic paint on canvas
Support: 1530 × 2140 mm
Purchased 1971

Display caption

Since the mid-1950s, Latham's work has addressed the need for a single theory capable of explaining the universe. Bridging scientific, philosophical and artistic ideas, Latham proposes a time-based explanation of reality, a theory he calls 'Event Structure'. This argues that all things that exist can be thought of as 'events' of different duration. According to Latham, the form and structure of things are explicable only in relation to time. This concept is demonstrated in P(n)2:3/12. The painting is the result of spraying parts of the canvas with paint for a definite period.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

John Latham 1921-2006

T01468 P(n)2:3/12 1963

Not inscribed.
Canvas, 80½ x 60 (204.5 x 152.5).
Purchased from the artist through the Lisson Gallery (Knapping Fund) 1971.

In notes on this painting dated 25 February 1972, the artist explained that T01468 was the twelfth in a series of paintings, and that the title meant, in abbreviated form, ‘Painting (not), time-signature 2:3, number 12’. For a further expression of the time-signature idea, he referred the reader to his series of One Second Drawings’, 1970, which were exhibited at the Lisson Gallery, November–December 1970 and described in the catalogue of that exhibition, pp. 6–7.

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

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