"My return to the body is not about representation, it is an attempt to engage the total sensorium of consciousness. This transition from body as representation to body as space is a translation from representation to reflexivity." Antony Gormley
Antony Gormley is a renowned British contemporary sculptor, recently invited to show at the Long Museum(West Bund) in Shanghai. This is his first major solo exhibition in China, presenting four decades of Gormley's work for the next three months. Since the early 1980's, Gormley has been creating sculptural works based on the human body. Using primarily life-sized metal body castings, Gormley uses abstract and geometric visual elements to reconstruct the human body in new contexts, creating space for interaction between his viewers and his constructions.
In recent years artists have increasingly emphasized the interaction between work and audience. The show at the Long Museum centers around Gormley's work Critical Mass II (1995), which presents 60 life size iron castings of the human body, shown in Asia for the first time. The clever exhibition planning displays these humanoid sculptures in stark harmony with the space. Hanging stiffly, posed awkwardly and scattered around the room, the sculptures inspire similar movement from the visitors, imitating the poses and engaging curiously with the iron bodies.
Gormley is also presenting new work in this exhibition, Corridor II (2017). Corridor II is a metal human-body shaped geometric channel measuring 15.5 meters long, made for audiences to enter and pass through the dark and mysterious passage. The exhibition also features the interactive space Breathing Room IV (RIO) (2012), a three-dimensional space entirely composed of many light-emitting frames. Visitors experience 40 seconds of bright light interrupting ten minutes of darkness in this abstract space, creating a special sensory experience for the audience.
Antony Gormley's work often emphasizes the observer's perspective, creating spaces as intermediaries for humans to interact with their environment and exploring the possibilities for human bodies within his work. In addition to exhibiting his many large-scale sculptural works, he is also exhibiting drawings and works on paper that span from 1981-2016.
Gormley was awarded the Turner Prize in 1994. Gormley has exhibitied work throughout the UK and internationally with exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery, London; Forte di Belvedere, Florence; Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern; Deichtorhallen, Hamburg; The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg; KunsthausBregenz, Austria; Hayward Gallery, London; Malmö Konsthall, Sweden and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark. Permanent public works include the Angel of the North (Gateshead, England), Another Place (Crosby Beach, England), Inside Australia (Lake Ballard, Western Australia) Exposure (Lelystad, The Netherlands) and Chord (MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA).
Exhibition date: September 9, 2017 - November 26, 2017
Venue: Shanghai Long Museum (West Bund)
(Figure 1) Another Place, 1997,100 pieces of cast iron sculpture © Antony Gormley
(Figure 2) Antony Gormley, Photo by Stephen White
(Figure 3) Critical Mass II, 1995, 60 pieces of live size cast iron sculpture © Long Art Museum
(Figure 4) Northern angel, 1995, wood, paint, 99 x 282 x 20 cm, public collection in the United Kingdom Gateshead © Antony Gormley