John Furnival (1933 London, England – 2020) was a British artist, a leading figure of visual and concrete poetry since the 1960s, and a beloved teacher in the community around the Bath Academy of Art in Corsham. Between 1954 and 1957, he served in the National Service, receiving Russian lessons in Scotland and then working as a translator at the War Office in Whitehall. In 1963, together with Dom Silvester Houédard (a.k.a. dsh) and Edward Wright, Furnival founded Openings Press (OP), specializing in the dissemination of concrete and visual poetry of peers such as Ian Hamilton Finlay. Other presses followed, such as Satie’s Faction in honor of the composer Erik Satie and the Openings-Closings Press. Alongside the calligraphic quality of his letters and words, Furnival’s work is characterized by drawing. He described himself as a draughtsman of landscapes, characters, and wordscapes created by marking letters, words, sentences, or long passages on paper, cardboard, or large screens. Furnival favored the recurring themes of the tower and the maze developed with infinitesimal precision. Examples are The Fall of the Tower of Babel (1963), now part of the permanent collection of the MACBA – Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, and his elaborate works on panels, such as Europa and Her Bull (1966), acquired by the Arts Council of Great Britain. Between 1979 and 2010, John and Astrid Furnival made several trips to Italy, exhibiting in acclaimed institutions and often residing with Francesco Conz.His works are included in the collections of the Tate and the British Museum in London, as well as in the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry in Miami Beach. He has participated in numerous exhibitions at international institutions in the United States, France, Italy, and Russia.

Artworks (22)