A new exhibition by the British sculptor Antony Gormley. Titled ‘Model’, at White Cube Bermondsey consists of an ambitious construction containing 100 tons of sheet steel forming an architectural installation which challenges the physical possibilities of the gallery space and investigates our experience of architecture through the body and of the body through.
Made in direct response to the space of the South Galleries is the vast, new work Model (2012), which is also the title of the exhibition, the work is both sculpture and building, human in form but at no point visible as a total figure. Visitors will be able to enter the work through a ‘foot’ and journey through its inter-connected internal chambers, the sculpture demanding that we adjust our pace and bend our bodies to its awkward yet absolute geometry. The experience of this analogy for the ‘dark interior of the body’ is guided by anticipation and memory and the direct and indirect light which penetrates the structure and which leads us on, as if through a labyrinth.
The central corridor of the gallery will hold new sculptures built of solid iron blocks whose uncompromising orthogonals belie their emotional punch. Propping up the architecture, articulating a corner or lying flat on the ground, these dark works test the bounding condition of the space. Their sculptural language is highly reduced, in some cases so schematic that the body form is rendered purely abstract, but without any loss of human empathy.
The exhibition also features a selection of Gormley’s working models, installed on a series of tables. Revealing processes that can be both playful and disciplined, the installation suggests a workshop full of ideas and procedures, methods and materials. The space includes a life cast used as the point of departure for a sculpture, and an early concrete work entitled Room V (1990) which initiated the artist’s dialogue between architecture as a form of body space and the body as an inhabited object.
These works, together with a series of new expansion pieces, create an exhibition which powerfully extends Gormley’s exploration of the body as a site of transformation.
Born in London in 1950, Antony Gormley’s solo shows include Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia (2012), Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2012), The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (2011), Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2010), Hayward Gallery, London (2007), Malmö Konsthall, Sweden (1993) and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark (1989). Major public works include Angel of the North (1998, Gateshead, England), Another Place (2005, Crosby Beach, England) and Exposure (2010, Lelystad, The Netherlands). He has also participated in major group shows such as the ‘Venice Biennale’ (1982 and 1986) and ‘Documenta 8’, Kassel, Germany (1987). Gormley won the Turner Prize in 1994 and was made an Officer of the British Empire in 1997. Since 2003 he has been a member of the Royal Academy of Arts and since 2007 a British Museum Trustee.