in Frieze | 16 JUN 22

July at No.9 Cork Street: William Turnbull

Offer Waterman and Turnbull Studio present a major retrospective of Turnbull’s works, opening 29 June to 20 July 2022, to celebrate the centenary of the artist’s birth

in Frieze | 16 JUN 22

No.9 Cork Street continues its summer programme with a major retrospective of William Turnbull, presented by Offer Waterman and the Turnbull Studio, to mark 100 years since the artist’s birth. The exhibition will run from 29 June to 20 July 2022, and includes screenings on Saturdays of the documentary on the artist, Beyond Time, as well as a launch event for Lund Humphries expansive new publication, William Turnbull: International Modern Artist, edited by Art Historian Jon Wood.

William Turnbull (1922-2012) was one of Britain's most important post-war Modernists, recognised for adeptly working across figurative and abstract sculpture, as well as abstract painting. Turnbull explored the changing contemporary world and its ancient past, actively engaging with the shifting concerns of British, European and American artists.

The exhibition at No.9 Cork Street will be the most comprehensive exhibition of Turnbull’s work since the artist’s retrospective at the Tate in 1973, bringing together more than 60 paintings and sculptures from across the artist’s oeuvre, as well as a small number of works on paper from the late 1940s. Works on display will predominantly come from the artist’s estate, complemented by major loans from private collections to present a comprehensive picture of the artist’s inventive brilliance and mastery of different mediums.

The retrospective begins in 1949, a year after Turnbull left London and the Slade to relocate to the more artistically experimental and exciting environment of Paris, where he met some of the giants of modernism, including Brancusi and Giacometti. At this time Turnbull was ‘fascinated with things moving and touching and perceptually convinced of energy as creation’. Initially he created kinetic sculptures, before producing static works that suggested the potential for movement, with the thought that ‘ultimate movement is ultimate rest’. Three sculptures, Forms on a Base, Maquette for Large Sculpture and Torque Upwards, all dating from 1949, epitomise this notion, their spindly forms rising in different directions from rectangular bases. The plaster versions of these bronzes were exhibited at the Hanover Gallery, London in 1950, and the original presentation of the plasters, on sculpture stands, has been recreated at No.9 Cork Street.

The exhibition goes on to introduce some of the most important themes of Turnbull’s career: the horse, the female figure and the human head, with iconic examples of each of these themes grouped thematically across No.9 Cork Street’s galleries. Also on display will be a group of Turnbull’s monumental, vibrant colour-field paintings, showcased alongside a number of his large, raw and sprayed colour steel sculptures. These potent and experimental works were in part informed by a trip to New York in 1957 during which Turnbull met Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko, and marked a significant turn for the artist.

Visitor information

The exhibition will run from 29 June – 20 July 2022


Offer Waterman will host a launch event for the Lund Humphries publication William Turnbull: International Modern Artist at No.9 Cork Street. Produced in association with the Turnbull Studio and edited by Jon Wood, this book will be the most comprehensive publication on the artist to date.

On Saturdays at 12pm and 3pm, the basement of No.9 Cork Street will host screenings of Beyond Time, a film exploring the life and work of William Turnbull, produced by the artist’s son, Alex Turnbull, alongside Pete Stern, and narrated by Jude Law.

Main Image: Courtesy of Offer Waterman the Turnbull Studio