5th November 2004 - 6th February 2005
William Turnbull: Playground (Game), 1949, bronze. Courtesy Leeds Museums & Galleries.
photo: Jerry Hardman-Jones
Ever wanted to explore the landscapes of William Turnbull or Alberto Giacometti? To physically immerse yourself in their sculptural vistas and walk among their undulating plains? Simon Beeson has, in a multi-media exhibition that centred on William Turnbull’s 1949 sculpture Playground (Game).
Beeson, a lecturer in architecture and Research Fellow at the Institute in 2003, used this show to investigate the viewer’s relation to horizontal relief, allowing it to be considered not only as a sculptural form, but also as a game and playground to be explored. As Beeson comments about such works:
‘Sculpture no longer records the play of the hand over the body, but rather the exploratory choreography of the body traced playfully on the ground.’
Playground (Game) is one of several horizontal relief pieces that William Turnbull developed while living in Paris (after World War II). This was a crucial period in Turnbull’s life, where exposure to new artistic ideals and methods greatly enriched his personal development. As the title suggests, Playground (Game) may be interpreted in two ways, on two different scales - the first the size of a table-top board game, the second an imaginary area of ground large enough to accommodate several figures.
Turnbull’s visions owed much to the bird’s-eye views he encountered as a war-time flyer with the RAF, and the pinball machines he would have seen in the milk bars and coffee shops of London and Paris. Beeson explores these influences by framing the sculpture among a collection of images and photographic research that places the piece in a far broader context than is usual.