The overriding sensation this work evokes, however, is the quality of the controlled stability formed between two simple, motionless forms. The slim horizontal beam seems to barely touch the head of the vertical, yet stays in perfect balance, poised in space. A stillness and silence pervades this elegant sculpture, which is placed directly on the ground, eliminating the traditional plinth and inviting us to directly interact with the work.
In contrast to the simplicity of the forms, the bronze’s ribbed and heavily corrugated textures give it a rough and weathered surface. This ‘surface skin’ was particularly important to Turnbull who, from the mid 1940s, worked directly in plaster applied to a metal armature; he created the ribbed texture by utilising corrugated paper. Turnbull was also meticulous in his choice of colour and patination, and unlike most sculptors of the time, he preferred to work on the patinas himself at the foundry. Each work from this edition is unique in the colouring of its patina. In the present work, Turnbull has employed rich tones of brown with carefully deployed hints of deep reddish hues. As Turnbull himself said: ‘It makes a hell of a difference to a bronze whether you patina it brown or reddish or greenish or blue. It has something to do I felt with the expressive quality of the bronze itself’ (Turnbull quoted on Radio Four, ‘Last Word', 23rd November 2012).
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