Recent work by Antony Gormley has extended his oeuvre to include inspiring explorations of architectural space. Previously known for reductive figures cast from his own body and larger scale figures such as “Angel of the North”, Gormley has begun to investigate a more abstract spatial language that engages with the gallery and the viewer.
Clearing V 2009 Photo Markus Tretter
The “Clearing” series of installations occupy the rectilinear gallery spaces with a chaotic curving line. Gormley wanted to challenge the static single-point perspective with a space-time continuum of dynamic vector fill. 12.7mm square aluminium tube loops continuously for 11km through the space.
Clearing IV 2005 Photo Stephen White
Breathing Room IV (Brasilia) 2012 Photo Joana Franca
The “Breathing Room” series of installations allows the observer to simultaneously experience several interpenetrating orthogonal spaces defined by linear frames. Each space is concentric and has equal volume but with differing proportions. At night, phosphor H15 paint transforms the work into a wireframe landscape of light.
Breathing Room III 2010 Photo Stephen White
Clutch VI 2011 Photo Stephen White
Gormley has used a similar orthogonal architectural language to inform his work with the human figure. In “Clutch VI” the pixellated form is described with a parallel wireframe construction. The relationship of all rectilinear edges and nodes are easily perceived and thus the whole ordered form is simply understood. 8mm key steel.
Lot 2012 Photo Stephen White
Gormley develops the orthogonal wireframe motif in “Lot”. Easily recognized and autonomous cubes allow the abandonment of parallel relationships in favour of independent orientation of the “building blocks”. 4mm square stainless steel bar. (Note the cube is the generic form of salt, thus referencing Lot’s wife.)
Quantum Void II 2008 Photo Stephen White
“Quantum Void” profoundly defines the figure as a void at the centre of a chaotic field of stainless steel rods. In Gormley’s words, “the indeterminancy of the skin summons active involvement of the projection and finding force of the beholder”.
This language is directly transferable to architectural space. A spatial envelope may be described by a perceived internal absence of an external pattern, similar to a clearing in the woods or even a crop circle.
Vessel 2012 Photo Ela Bialkowska
Model 2012 Photo Ben Westoby
Finally, two related works, “Vessel” and “Model”, unite the subjects of architecture and figure. Super-scale recumbent figures are assembled from room-sized boxes of CorTen steel. Model is an inhabitable giant, inspired by the interaction of his children with the construction of “Angel of the North”. Visitors are invited to explore the connected, dimly lit chambers. Gormley references Judd, Serra and the renaissance city planned in the form of a man. Model is showing at the White Cube Bermondsey until 10 February 2013.
For further interesting work, visit www.antonygormley.com