Exhibition at the Royal Academy
21 September - 3 December 2019
The exhibition of Antoney Gormley at the Royal Academy is curious synchrony between the retrospective tone in the collection of his works on display and the concept of the exposition itself, which might be interpreted as a record of the ‘human progress’.
In spite of this very particular assumption of the human body as a central subject in his long life quests, he reveals an open insight for the audience to translate his ideas through a personal understanding and perception. Yet, the attempt to define meaning through the body is maybe the most fundamental revelation about his work as a parallel with my creative practise.
The monumentality, masculinity, and the solidity in Gormley’s sculptures materialized in repetitive casts, for which execution he uses his own body, blended into ‘faceless’ figures, more lacking identity than personified, and the space assimilation in Gormley's work, differ from the emotional intensity and lyricism in my performative work. However, he uses the body as an allegory, with his figures - de-personalized and faceless, and what I seek for, and find intriguing about his concepts, is the attempt to deliver a message describing a ‘condition common to all human beings’
There are two distinct lines within his not-unfamous concept – body and space, and regarding the exhibition in the Royal Academy, I would say ‘interrelation body-space’. And it is not only the way he specifies the position of his objects within the space, sketched on a paper or giant sculptural entities, but also how challenges he the relation ‘viewer-space’ - wether he pierces the walls of a hall in all dimentions, with a strained wire flying out trough the hight dome on the top, or throwing all-around a bulk of life-size ‘iron-men’, he shatters the space and thus, the distorted perception of the body in accordance the surroundings, makes the audience participates in a figurative, well-navigated procession.
There is some megalomania in the large scale spatial structures from iron and wire he creates. it overall challenges the idea of human’s place in the world, but the use of the RA’s halls shouts about ego-exposure. One of the halls is completely suffocated by drawings, yet, it is fascinating to see how he has built his creative thinking through ink and paper. A metal tunnel-cave invites the viewer into its interior, but you could not presume it is a colossal cubistic body.