William Turnbull

Figures and Signs

1953, c.1954

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
William Turnbull 1922–2012
Monotype on printed paper
Image: 515 × 400 mm
Purchased 1990

Display caption

This print is distinguished from the others by Turnbull in this display by the fact that it is printed on newspaper. As a result daily life intrudes on his image of two figures and a series of signs. The page in question incorporates a crossword, property advertisements and personal announcements. Like many of his contemporaries, Turnbull was steeped in the culture of popular imagery and magazines where unrelated images would collide randomly. Here Turnbull's juxtaposition of simple marks against mass-produced text may suggest a return to the origins of language.

Gallery label, August 2004

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