This exhibition presents a selection of fascinating and unexpected drawings by JMW Turner investigating the science of perspective.
From 1807–1837 Turner was the Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy. He gave a series of lectures about perspective during these years, which were famous for being at once fascinating and extremely difficult to follow. As one critic said: ‘Excellent as are Mr Turner’s lectures, in other respects there is an embarrassment in his manner approaching almost to unintelligibility’.
The drawings were made as visual aids, held up during the lectures to illustrate the complex theories Turner struggled to explain.
To accompany her exhibition Subject to Constant Change, Rosa Barba has made a selection of these drawings from the Tate collection. Struck by their modern appearance, at once stark and complex, Barba was intrigued by the drawings’ explorations of points of view, colour, and reflection, all key interests in her own recent work. The exhibition gives insight into Barba’s practice and the structures underlying Turner’s masterful paintings.
See what visitors think
In the lead up to the opening of Carl Andre: Mass & Matter, Rosa Barba: Subject to Constant Change and Turner's Perspective at Turner Contemporary (1 Feb - 6 May 2013), gallery visitors asked questions about each of the artists' work. Some of these questions were answered by Carl Andre, Rosa Barba, and Maurice Davies, an art historian with specialist knowledge of Turner's perspective drawings. Listen to the questions and answers by watching the film below.