Antony Gormley @ White Cube

Antony Gormley’s Fit exhibition at White Cube Bermondsey is a little like a giant jigsaw puzzle that hasn’t quite managed to be put together into one complete image. Each of the pieces has been separated within 15 spaces, forcing the participants who are trying to paste the puzzle into one whole to search desperately around the gallery in order to find the solution to the riddle.

This puzzle is the most perplexing in Gormley’s Sleeping Field where 500 miniature, geometric iron figures lie sleeping in various positions. They are close together but they do not touch and would leave spaces if an attempt to close the gaps between them were made. The piece is said to have been created to challenge the issue of inclusivity and migrants. Perhaps this would explain why each figure seems to have rested its body slightly differently, and why there are gaps between them all, as if there is a reluctance to come together.

Run is another piece that is reminiscent of a child’s game. It comprises of a cast iron structure that moves up and down at sharp junctures like a game where one has to loop a tool around a frame without touching. It seems like a trap. It probably is.

Around the corner is a steel passage, which has aptly been named Passage. The viewer is able to walk through a dark tunnel that has been shaped in the same form of the human body. The journey through this framework is extremely unsettling, with no light at all at the end of the tunnel, I would be surprised if many viewers made it to the very end.

The whole exhibition is an immersive experience. Sculpture ceases to be looked at and becomes something to be communicated with. Gone are the restrictions usually placed on classical sculpture that must be looked at, and not touched. Gormley allows his audience to get up close and personal with his art. This idea of becoming familiar with the work takes on a whole new level when you reinforce the fact that Gormley only ever uses his own body as the model for his works.

While much of the show is impressive, it is a little disjointed and does not flow easily. This may be why each room or chamber has been cornered off almost completely from the section adjacent to it. Where a large lego like structure appears in one room, the next sees a more humanly relatable body splayed across the floor as if doing exercises.

Ironically, the pieces inside Fit, do not appear to piece together. It is an incomplete jigsaw and a few of its components seem to have gone missing. Perhaps this is Gormley’s way of keeping his audience interested for his next exhibition.

Fit is on display at White Cube until 6 November

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier is a London-based writer with a special interest in contemporary Middle Eastern Art. She has a BA in Art History and an MA in Contemporary Art and Art Theory of Asia and Africa from the School of Oriental and African Studies. She runs the Gallery Girl blog and has written for After Nyne, Arteviste, Canvas Magazine, Harper's Bazaar Arabia, Ibraaz, Jdeed Magazine and Reorient.

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