Monday, 7 November 2016

Antony Gormley: Fit

Over to Bermondsey to catch Antony Gormley: Fit at White Cube.

The show is a really enjoyable mix of figurative and architectural sculptures. The architecturally inspired pieces were huge and completed in an interesting variety of media. They interact with, and impose on the spaces they occupy so well. The surface textures of certain works were intriguing - from the streaky rust of the large iron pieces, to the gnarled knots of wood captured and sealed forever into large concrete slabs. They were very reminiscent of the Brutalist concrete architecture of the Southbank centre.

The figure is of course central to Gormley's practice, and it was represented in a variety of ways. Reduced to it's most fragile, skeletal and very vulnerable in some pieces, and then in others complex, solid, structural blocks. I was glad to see one of his older, more naturalistic lead figures in amongst the newer geometric block figures.

Sleeping Field (2015-2016), above, was another vast installation of various cubistic figures in a variety of poses riffing on his earlier terracotta Field (1991). It consists of 500 iron figures in various languid poses representing refugees and the sense of belonging. Passage (2016), below, was the most intriguing of the figurative pieces though. It is a 12m long human-shaped steel tunnel which the viewer walks into. It encloses you like a cocoon the further you walk into it, and at the deepest end you are enclosed in a void of near blackness. It is slightly disorientating - like going into a sensory deprivation tank - but strangely comforting as well. The light effects experienced as you return to the entrance of the installation and emerge once again into the light of the gallery are fantastic (bottom).

Antony Gormley: Fit
until 6th November
White Cube Bermondsey
144-152 Bermondsey Street