Anthony Gormley at the Royal Academy of Arts

5th October 2019

Absolutely brilliant and one not to be missed…

Anthony Gormley is widely known for his sculptures, installations and public artworks that investigate the relationship of the human body and space. Gormley describes the body as a ‘place’: a place of experience, emotion, consciousness, memory and imagination. In this exhibition, Gormley wants to heighten “our sense of position in time and space.” There are a total of 14 rooms to discover including the iron baby cast placed outside in the courtyard. They couldn’t be more different than each other.

The exhibition explores Gormley’s wide-ranging use of organic, industrial and elemental materials over the years. He uses iron, steel, hand-beaten lead, seawater and clay. Visitors are invited to ‘slow down and become aware of their own bodies’ through the series of experimental installations.

There are so many highlights to this exhibition. It’s impossible to choose a favourite. The room titled “Clearing’ is described as drawing in space. It is made from approximately 8 kilometres of square section of aluminium tube, coiled and allowed to expand. There is no obvious pathway to reach the other side. You are invited to figure out your own route. It involves turning, crouching, and stepping over where you become a part of Gromley’s artwork. It leads to ‘Subject II”. A single-size body form, with his head bent awaits for you.

Matrix III is a massive suspended set of interlocking grids welded from steel mesh and hanging like a cloud. It’s airy and looks weightless, but it is made out of 98% recycled steel. It’s been designed especially for this gallery. This room challenges your perception of space. Matrix III awakens your love for architecture, geometric shapes and art. You get to experience what it feels like to stand under six tonnes of steel. Don’t forget to look up when you are standing right underneath it to gasp the vastness and beauty of this structure.

Gormley has been allowed to flood one room with seawater and mud. It’s called ‘The Host’. You feel it before you see it because of the smell and humidity. Host is unformed compared to the rest of the parts in the exhibition. Basic organic elements (air, water and earth) are given shape by the room. It will react and change over the days of this exhibition. I am guessing the earlier days to visit might be a better option unless you don’t mind the smell.

If you are not afraid of small places and darkness , then I urge you to experience the sculpture called ‘Cave’ At the same time, you should go back to see the outside. Cave is a truly monumental construction of interlinked steel boxes. It’s very powerful and forces you to be aware of your presence within a constraint dark space. A bit like the darkness of the night sky. From the outside, it resembles a body crouching.

I personally loved this exhibition as I love architecture and geometry. I read a few reviews which call it disappointing. But, I was definitely not disappointed. This is an exhibition worth visiting.

Here are a few more pictures to get you intrigued. But, having said that this is one where you would like to see and experience it yourself as I don’t think pictures alone justifies the beauty and the impressiveness of Anthony Gormley’s structures.

You have until the 3rd of December to visit Anthony Gormley’s exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. You can get your tickets from HERE. While in the area, if you have the time, I would recommend you to explore Burlington Arcade, visit Fortnum and Mason for some shopping and have coffee at Maison Assouline among most beautiful coffee table books.

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