A selection of images is on display at the moment made with a variety of “obsolete” printing technologies and representing the various stages of Dante’s journey into hell.

This is Barrie Tullett’s “The Typographic Dante,” an exhibition showcasing the artist’s typographic works created in response to Dante’s  “Divine Comedy.” Tullett has created 100 typographic illustrations, each of which responds to a Canto of Dante’s unfolding narrative, although only a small fraction are on display at the moment.

It’s an interesting concept, to use various artistic forms of writing to represent parts of the 14th century poem. Each graphic is shown with a section of text edited from the poem to put the image into context.

Some are undeniably very abstract and very much seemingly a random graphic with text, but others clearly show some direct relationship between the art and the poem.

Overall, it’s a rather pleasing exhibition – slightly intellectually rewarding and arty at the same time.

Oddly, the image used by the Southbank Centre to illustrate the exhibition is itself not on display. Which is a pity as that was the lure that got me going to see it.

The exhibition, The Typographic Dante is free to visit and open daily from 11am until 30th June. It’s in the National Poetry Library, which can be found on the 5th floor of the Royal Festival Hall on the “blue side”, that is, the furthest from the railway — take the lift up.


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Article last updated: 29 May 2021 08:40


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One comment
  1. Dear Ian,
    Thank you for reviewing my exhibition. There are about three-quarters of the works on display at the South Bank Centre (in the National Poetry Library and the Members Lounge) – about 72 pieces all told.
    The Inferno (Letterpress) pieces are in the Library and the Members Lounge, which also has Purgatory (the Typewriter works) and right around the corner, by the Members Bar, are the Paradise prints (Letraset).
    All the works have a direct meaning relating to the canto, although I’m not best pleased with ‘The Medusa’, and I think I’ll be reworking that one.

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