© The Artist


John Furnival (1933 – )


78.3 X 58.3 CM
Accession number


This print derived originally from a large panel-piece called Manhattan, which I hope one day will become a part of my complete word-maze. The idea of reducing such a large image so drastically by means of photography, changing it yet again by block-making and printing, changing it yet again by the archaic ‘and-colouring’ process, is one which appeals to me. It is like these books of recipes that one can buy: ‘Fifty tings you can do with a Potato’. As a final ‘reductio as absurdam’, I have produced photo-offset versions of these and other images which are sold at the same price as a daily newspaper, and which have the same, or less, value as a daily newspaper.

Which brings up the interesting question: ‘How valuable is a daily newspaper?’ Whatever its value, the nature of the image becomes so ‘degraded’ by the various processes that it has been put through, that it becomes something else, and I hope that this ‘Something Else’ becomes just as interesting in its own way, as its forefather. The one quality which it does have in its new form is, of course, availability.

In most of my work the idea of ‘subject-matter’ seems to be quite important, although as far as I am concerned, this is something of a red-herring, perhaps being my natural reaction against the vacancy of self-referential work, or perhaps being my natural English preference for Pragma rather than Dogma. Whatever the appearances, my pictures are for me the effects of my activities, rather than the cause of them.

Or, as Henry Reed in his poem Lessons of War put it, more economically:
' ... and lastly
That things only seem to be things

This is how I would like my things to be seen'.

Cratylus The English Artist and The Word, The British Council, London 1979