The Whitechapel Gallery presents a major exhibition surveying Richard Tuttle’s career from the 1960s to today. He is renowned for being one of the first artists to make the radical gesture of taking the canvas off the stretcher and hanging it directly on the wall in works such as Purple Octagonal (1967), as well as making provocative sculptures such as Third Rope Piece (1974), the intimate scale of which directly responds to traditional ideas of monumental art.
Showcasing works selected in close dialogue with the artist the exhibition centres on his use of fibre, thread and textile and offers a fascinating introduction to Tuttle’s influential body of work. The exhibition will include Looking for the Map 8, (2013-14), a new work shown in the UK for the first time on display alongside works made in situ by the artist such as the re-making of the key sculpture Ten Kinds of Memory and Memory Itself (1972) as well as international loans from museums and private collections.
Rather than displaying the works chronologically, the artist will instead position works in a formal relationship to each other and in direct response to the architectural framework of Whitechapel Gallery’s historic exhibition spaces. A concern with colour, line and movement runs through Tuttle’s intuitive presentation which will occupy both ground and first floor galleries, featuring works ranging in scale from the intricate series of Section, Extension wall pieces to the 3-metre long floor-based sculpture Systems VI (2011).
Alongside this exhibition, Tate Modern will present a newly commissioned sculpture in its iconic Turbine Hall from 14 October 2014 to 6 April 2015. Principally constructed of fabric, it will be the largest work ever created by the artist, measuring over twelve metres in height. It will bring together a group of specially-made fabrics, each of which combines natural and man-made fibres to create different textures in bright colours. These will be suspended from the ceiling as a sculptural form, contrasting with the solid industrial architecture of the Turbine Hall, to create a huge volume of joyous colour and fluidity.
A new book will be published as part of this project, drawing on Tuttle’s knowledge as a longstanding collector of textiles from around the world. It will include contributions by the artist and new essays by Magnus af Petersens, Chief Curator, Whitechapel Gallery and Achim Borchardt-Hume, Head of Exhibitions, Tate Modern. The publication will bring together photographs of Tuttle’s personal collection of textiles, images of works from the Whitechapel Gallery exhibition, and documentation of the sculpture at Tate Modern.