Clearing VI, 2010
16 swg aluminium tube
Site specific installation at CCCS, Firenze
Courtesy Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin and White Cube, London
Photo: Valentina Muscedra
These two approaches, namely the progressive abstraction of the body and the integration of the viewer in the work, are to be found in the site specific installations of the Clearing series, which Gormley began in 2004. In this series, several hundred metres of metal tube are wound in concentric shapes that fill entire spaces, without any visible beginning or end. The sculpture unfolds in the architecture that contains it like a dynamic three-dimensional drawing whose only limit is the walls of the exhibition space. The metal spirals exert strong pressure on the surrounding structures that limit their potential expansion, creating a new balance between content and container, between the force of the spiral forms and the available space in which the viewer also moves, passing through the spirals and becoming an integral part of the piece. This work, which the artist describes as a “phenomenological or psycho-spatial experience”, is not to be seen simply as a sculpture, but as an interactive place. The artist is interested in the constant shifting of the perspectives from which the structure is viewed and experienced, and also the condition through which the viewer becomes both object and subject of the visual process. Thus, even with this wholly abstract form, Gormley returns to the starting point of his artistic research: the exploration of the different variables in the relationship between body and space.
Antony Gormley (United Kingdom, 1950)
Antony Gormley’s own body is the departure point for his works. The artist’s production has been profoundly influenced by his practising Vipassana Buddhist meditation for three years during the 1970s, which gave rise to his keen interest in researching the confines of the body, its individuation in space and its substantial form.
The artist is famous for his sculptures in ordinary materials like lead, steel, clay or iron, which depict abstracted human figures. These sculptures reflect his concern with eliminating the borders between the human being and space, between interior and exterior, through the constant deconstruction and reconfiguration of the corporeal structure. In his works we recognize spheres like atoms or cubes resembling pixels, repeated elements that allow us only a mere glimpse of figurative forms. Nonetheless, in parallel Gormley’s work takes the form of actual living sculptures which, inspired by Joseph Beuys’s theory of “social sculpture”, make the viewers the actual protagonists of the pieces. During the three months of Summer 2009, for example, 2400 people were transformed (for one hour at a time) into living sculptures on the famous Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London.
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