GALLERY VISITS AND EVALUATION: ANTONY GORMLEY

Housed within an edifice that attributes its influence from modernist architecture sits Antony Gormley’s exhibition titled ‘Fit’.  Upon entry into this well lit space and walking down the hall, I was welcomed by the gallery assistant  who offers a map displaying a maze of the works exhibited, after which a little passage way leads up to the first piece.

 

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From utilising the exhibition space, creating it into a labyrinth to the play of black, dark/charcoal greys and white, Antony Gormley’s exhibit is dramatic and engaging. Some of the pieces are specifically placed to force the viewer and the work which occupies much of the space to coexist, giving room for the minute details inherent in these works to be observed at much closer detail and for a thought provoking relationship to be established with these works.

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The piece ‘mean’, situated in the second room created using 8mm steel bar displays abstraction and simplification in the recreation of the human physical form. On proceeding through the gallery, pieces like ‘Pose’ and ‘Look’ catch my attention, but ‘Sleeping Field’ holds it, blurring the lines between the architectural motifs of high and low rise edifices scattered across the floor space and (upon close inspection) hundred of individual human figures assuming postures of recline. At the same time, it creates the illusion of (once the impression of these dark grey blocks being human shapes is reached), a sense of displacement sets it. In abstracting the human form to a point of simplicity where it is represented or broken down to a collection of iron squares, a universal connection is made, giving free rein to the individual within the audience to impose whatever interpretations and  ideas they perceive onto these pieces.

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I particularly appreciate the choice of materials used as it features mainly metal and concrete and the connection these have to the transition within the life of humans. The human body with time deteriorates till it finally dies and undergoes the process of decay. While the same process can be said of these materials too, it must be noted that the process of wear and tear takes a much considerably longer time, changing in its appearance, giving the work a different texture i.e the rust displayed in metals which adds to the uniqueness as age sets in.

 

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The ‘Passage’ stands within the collection of works as one of the most impressive in my opinion. The ability to involve the individual in the immersive experience of plunging into the 12 meter long tunnel into which one must journey into, is a figurative description relative to the journey of self discovery; Introspection. For to find one’s self self, one must make the journey inward; a journey which we all must embark on a daily basis to attain a certain level of equilibrium between personal ambition and the spiritual; the conscious and the subconscious. but to find yourself, delving in deep is imperative and could be a long dark journey. Where to? Nobody knows, but the one involved in the journey and this unknown is represented by the darkness experienced. The end of the tunnel reveals the human form outlined in light. The act of rediscovering self requires reflecting and retracing one’s footsteps and actions taken in times’ past before breaking out into the light.

 

 

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