Turnbull was soon strongly influenced by the new American direction in painting, by the large 'tyrannical absoluteness 'of Barnett Newman. As John Russell said (Private View, 1965):
A majestic act of homage to the New York School was paid by Turnbull at the time. Turnbull's subsequent larger works of sculpture remained within the realm of the "implacable event", where ritual, not display, is its function in terms of society; it is less an object of art than an instrument of ceremonies as yet unformulated ... As a sense of an equilibrium delicately judged and firmly maintained.
However, this was not, by contrast, as Herbert Read was to formulate the work, referring to it as 'an architecture of trauma'.
Amanda A Davidson has produced a scholarly monograph here, which charts Turnbull's key transitions within sculpture. But, it would have been in no way detrimental to the artist's record to also include the surviving paintings. In Turnbull's own key Notes on Sculpture, he himself made clear that it was his primary experience as a painter that formulated a series of important tenets, which equally influenced conclusions in his sculpture. These Notes were published in Studio International, Vol. 196, No. 905, in November 1968 (pp 198-199). Such statements emphasised the 'preservation of the unity of the white canvas' but as a 'positive experience', and that 'colour painting is not colourful painting' but colour as a means of avoiding duality (figure-field ambiguity) and the 'elimination of sculptural forms from painting have involved it with another sculptural quality ... physical scale directly related to the observer'. From these precepts emerged the outstanding evolution of Turnbull, the sculptor as he is known, defining a realm in no way divorced from painting.
The book maps thoroughly Turnbull's sculptures, a remarkable range of dedicated work. It is interesting to learn that, as late as 1993, he exhibited new paintings and retained publicly his ongoing commitment to paint. As Davidson says, 'An autonomous aspect of his oeuvre lay there, complementing and informing his sculpture'. So, it is all the more to be regretted that the reader is unable to also experience Turnbull's paintings, which are excluded from this otherwise complete monograph.
A Runaway Girl at Home in New York: Louise Bourgeois at the Guggenheim
Louise Bourgeois, a travelling retrospective marking the artist's nearly 100 years of living and more than seven decades of art-making, is an ambitious project. Opening in October 2007 at Tate Modern in London, the exhibit appeared at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and now is installed in expanded form at the Guggenheim in New York. The museum's singular Frank Lloyd Wright rotunda, with its spiralling ramps, emphasises Bourgeois's prevailing modes of operation: recalling, recreating, reworking, revisiting and re-examining.
Performance and Play
The curators James Lindon and Erin Manns have taken the idea of the 'absentee performer' as a starting point for this 'Absent without Leave' exhibiton at the Victoria Miro Gallery, London, and present a wide range of possible formulations of 'performance' in contemporary art. The idea of performance is continually repositioned here to encompass notions of illusion and theatricality, ritual and process, social etiquette and subversive behaviour in which the viewers themselves play a key role.
Robert Rauschenberg: Combines
It was only a matter of time before the work of Robert Rauschenberg would again receive a star billing in Paris, and there could be no better venue than the Centre Pompidou. The reason is that the work literally benefits from the implied temporariness of the 'rooms' at the Centre.