210909: Kunsthaus Bregenz: Antony Gormley

Kunsthaus Bregenz: Antony Gormley Bunker for the collective The citizens of Malmo most probably have never seen themselves lined up so disciplined in a square shape as in “Allotment II”. Antony Gormley gauged and reconstructed the body architecture of 300 people from the southern Swedish city, aged between 1 and 80. Their sizes and orifices (mouth, ears, anus, nostrils) are the only leftovers of their individuality, which were transferred to the square shaped concrete bunkers. Now the citizens of Malmo stand like a faceless, massive armada in the first floor of the Kunsthaus Bregenz and testify the British sculptor’s interest in the human body as an individual and as a collective, as a mantle, but also as the core of existence. At the same time as this exhibition, Gormley wanted to realize his landscape installation “Horizon Field”, in which 100 iron castings stand in a horizontal line, 2000m above sea level, in an area of one hundred square kilometres of the Arlberg region (similar to 1997, when he positioned iron castings of his own body in the Wadden Sea at Cuxhaven). Complicated approval procedures delayed the project, but four major work series from Gormley’s oeuvre, all created during the last 15 years, are presented at the Kunsthaus. Among them “Critical Mass” (1995): the body is transformed into a container for traumatic memories, maybe of torture and war, maybe simply of his very own transience. Identical cast-iron figures are spread throughout the space; they hang from the ceiling, squat on the floor like penitents, snuggle up in a shifted sitting position in a corner and cumulate to a gruesome-grotesque heap in the middle. The figures “Body” and “Fruit”, although weighing several tons, convey lightness. What remained of the body is a shapeless pendulum, floating barely above the ground, a peculiar planet. Sometimes Gormley’s attempts to involve the onlooker in his sculpture-driven ideas blossom on a metaphysical level and sometimes on a concrete physical level. In “Clearing V” (2009) a gigantic aluminium pipe entangles itself in the space as if someone had knotted it tightly together and suddenly let go, and, as if after an explosion, it stretches into every corner of Peter Zumthor’s architecture. And now one has to find one’s way through this entanglement: maze-like steeplechases seem to be fashionable; think of Tomas Saraceno’s web-like mesh in the main pavilion of the Venetian Giardini, albeit which one happily and easily wriggled through. But the crudeness and tonicity of the material bestow “Clearing” a different kind of quality. Ultimately, however, the contortions remain the same. By Ivona Jelcic Kunsthaus Bregenz 6900 Bregenz, Karl Tizian Platz, until 04.10.09 www.kunsthaus-bregenz.at

Kunsthaus Bregenz
6900 Bregenz, Karl Tizian Platz
Tel: +43 5574 48 594-0, Fax: +43 5574 48 594-8
Email: kub@kunsthaus-bregenz.at
Öffnungszeiten: Di-So 10-18, Do 10-20 Uhr

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