This week’s task was to visit five London exhibitions which would help us engage in contemporary and visual culture. We were asked to review two of the most engaging exhibitions (please see below) in order to discuss how the artists could lead into our research and personal practice.
Antony Gormley, Fit, White Cube Bermondsey
30th September – 6th November 2016
Within the South Galleries of the White Cube Gallery, Gormley has created a labyrinth of 15 chambers each housing a variety of geometric sculptural works. The exhibition was not only a display of a series of works, but also a physiological experience which becomes rather disorientating to the viewer. The exhibition begins through one passageway which then leads the viewer to make a choice of which path to follow through the rest of the space. It was particularly interesting to note that although you could catch glimpses of what laid ahead, it was not possible to fully anticipate what the next chamber offered.
One of the most distinctive works, Run (2016) Cast Iron, was showcased within the third chamber on the floor plan. The open structure seemed to illustrate the exhibition as a whole and encouraged the viewer to move through the sculpture rather than view the exhibit from the outside. Within the details of the simple linear structure, it was clear to see that the work had been created from a single cast, which is puzzling when one considers the way that the shape defies gravity. Gormley’s intention was to create a physical challenge which asks the question of how the human body can fit within the allocated room. When one stands within the structure it became apparent that each height of the inner beams represents a significant feature of the human body. For example, when standing just within the corners of outer edges, the beams fell in the rough position of both my shoulders and eye level, whilst also framing my head and feet. Moreover, whilst leaving the space it was then clear that the sculpture, Mean (2016) 8mm mild steel bar, was a foreshadow of this exact concept. This was a piece which I passed by initially, through intrigue into the curation of Fit. It is a simplistic structure which outlines the human figure in a geometric form, similar to a stickman. This figure both faces Run, but also when one places themselves square on to both sculptures you can then see that the figure lines up with each beam within Run. This gives the illusion that the figure is integrated within the space identical to the way that I was previously.
It is clear that a theme of Gormley’s work is focused at the placement of the human body within a confined space and sub sequentially how this releases us from preconceptions of the effect that sculpture has on us. Within my personal practice, I intend to reconsider the power of the body and how expectations can be reconsidered when an idea is shed in a different light. Through understanding Gormley’s distinct concept, I feel it is necessary to now look at how the human body can be presented through other ideas rather than illustrating the obvious.
Mean (2016) 8mm mild steel barRun (2016) Cast IronOther images of the exhibition ( photographed by me)
Ed Ruscha, Extremes and In-betweens, Gagosain Gallery
October 5th– December 17th 2016
Ed Ruscha’s Extremes and In-betweens is the current exhibition held at the Gagosain Gallery, Grosvenor Hill. It is a collection of large scale acrylic paintings on canvas which are placed in four distinct sections of the space. As explained through the accompanying information, Ruscha entered into the world of placing both singular words and their meanings in ascending and descending shifts of scale. Each word stands out from a subtle, earthy background color in which Ruscha describes as a “color which forgot it was a color”. The combination of dynamic typeface and muted tones allows for the viewer to be drawn completely into the words and their significance. “Words” as Ruscha explains, “live in a world of no size. You can make them any size, and what’s their real size? Nobody knows”
Silence with Wrinkles (2016) hangs within the second room in the gallery space and struck me as the only painting that seemed to appear the opposite in direction of scale to the size of the word. This is a subject matter which is open to interpretation unlike other works such as Universe with Wrinkles (2016) in which the size of each being is somewhat factual. Here the word “silence” appears in the painting as being top of the scale, however words such as “commotion” and “racket” are lower and smaller within the frame. In my mind, when I consider these sounds in order of size I would immediately place the louder sound at the top and then descend through the quieter sounds until silence is where the viewer studies the painting closer and in a focused manner. Furthermore, throughout the collection all words had a form of clarity in which the audience could fully understand the scale on show. Within Silence with Wrinkles (2016) the smallest word on the scale was not legible, which poses the question of why did the artist want us to be unclear of the boundary of this particular concept?
The relationship between typeface and size is often a graphic design consideration, however when incorporating the relationship of words and size we begin to ask why size is not used to its full extent in slogans and message writing. This concept is something that I am looking to incorporate into my practice, however not just through size, but through medium choice. Through observing Ruscha’s work I believe that by humanizing the words and message of a piece, one is able to create a long-lasting impact on an audience.
Silence with Wrinkles (2016)Universe with Wrinkles (2016)Other images of exhibition (photographed by me)
Other exhibition visits;
Louise Bourgeois, Tate Modern
(photographed by me)
Living Cities, Tate Modern
(photographed by me)
Ardizzone: A Retrospective, House of Illustration
No photographs could be taken in the gallery