antony gormley explores body politics through concrete sculpture exhibition at white cube

antony gormley explores body politics through concrete sculpture exhibition at white cube

art 219 shares connections: +940

Antony Gormley: Body Politic at White Cube

 

From 22 November 2023, to 28 January 2024, the White Cube Gallery in Bermondsey, London, presents Antony Gormley’s sculptural exhibition titled Body Politic. The show features several bodies of work, including a selection of sculptures cast to the scale of the artist’s body in reinforced concrete. Collectively, the pieces capture a range of body postures, displaying balance, compression, and tension. Notably, small square orifices at the mouth position allow visual access to a body-sized void within.

 

The show seeks to investigate our species’ relationship with its industrially made habitat. For Gormley, this comes at an urgent moment in time when our need for refuge is in dynamic tension with our need to roam: our fundamental migratory nature. 

antony gormley explores body politics through concrete sculpture exhibition at white cube
Antony Gormley, Resting Place, 2023 | all images courtesy of White Cube

 

 

Sculptural investigation of Personal Freedom

Serving as the backbone of the exhibition, eight concrete sculptures follow a linear path from the courtyard through the corridor at the White Cube Gallery (find more here). Crafted by Antony Gormley (find more here) as ‘intimate bunkers for one,’ each version of Retreat (2022–23) is molded to the artist’s body scale using 55 mm thick reinforced concrete.

 

‘The only place where we can find true freedom is within the infinite darkness of the body available to us once the body is still,’ Gormley shares. ‘These works both evoke and embody the space that we all enter the moment we close our eyes. I consider this the most pertinent and potent space of personal freedom and these works celebrate it.’

antony gormley explores body politics through concrete sculpture exhibition at white cube
Antony Gormley, Resting Place, 2023

 

 

Exploring Human Form and Urban Narratives

 

Introducing a grounded counterpart to Retreat, Gormley’s Resting Place (2023) unfolds in the expansive South Gallery II, forming a dense urban landscape. This installation consists of fired clay blocks that manifest 244 body forms, creating a labyrinthine terrain. Visitors are encouraged to navigate this maze of resting bodies, depicting various poses from prone and splayed to fetal, allowing just enough space for passage. The scenes evoke a spectrum of scenarios, from bodies abandoned on the beach to the struggles of those forcibly displaced by conflicts, climate change, or resource scarcity.

 

In the North Gallery, a series of six ‘Weave Works’ intricately map the volume of the human body. Constructed from orthogonal, latticed cast iron bars and exposed to the elements, these rusted sculptures permit space and light to filter through, generating an illusion of shifting density that bridges sculptural and architectural space. Departing from the conventional freestanding nature of sculptures, three of the works in Test (2021–23) lean against the gallery walls, while the other three touch them, involving the room as an integral part of the artwork and prompting visitors to consider their position and movement within the space.

antony gormley explores body politics through concrete sculpture exhibition at white cube
Antony Gormley, Resting Place, 2023

 

 

Dynamic Spatial Dialogues of ‘Body Politic’

 

In South Gallery I, three robust bands of rolled black steel extend from the floor, ceiling, and walls, converging at the room’s center to form a complex network of orthogonal lines, creating a dynamic body zone. Similar to Test, Bind (2023) activates and is activated by the surrounding architecture. Viewers are encouraged to maneuver around this three-dimensional drawing, engaging with its intricate spatial dynamics. The final piece, Stand (2023), situated in the 9x9x9 gallery, consists of a Jenga-like stack of Corten steel beams, reaching a height of nearly 5 meters. This sculpture acknowledges the inherent entropy in its construction, celebrating both the vulnerability of man-made creations and sculpture’s potential to evoke both hope and fear.

 

Navigating the delicate balance between sanctuary and control, freedom and discipline, ‘Body Politic’ leverages sculpture’s intrinsic qualities—silence, stillness, and materiality—to heighten visitors’ awareness of their own freedoms of movement and thought.

antony gormley explores body politics through concrete sculpture exhibition at white cube
Antony Gormley, Retreat: Shift, 2023

antony gormley explores body politics through concrete sculpture exhibition at white cube
Antony Gormley, Retreat: Shift, 2023

antony gormley explores body politics through concrete sculpture exhibition at white cube
Antony Gormley, Retreat: Shift, 2023

antony gormley explores body politics through concrete sculpture exhibition at white cube
Antony Gormley, Stand, 2023

anthony-gormley-body-politic-white-cube-designboom-full-01

Antony Gormley, Test, 2021

antony gormley explores body politics through concrete sculpture exhibition at white cube
Antony Gormley, Test, 2021

antony gormley explores body politics through concrete sculpture exhibition at white cube
Antony Gormley, Test, 2021

antony gormley explores body politics through concrete sculpture exhibition at white cube
Antony Gormley, Bind, 2023

antony gormley explores body politics through concrete sculpture exhibition at white cube
Antony Gormley, Bind, 2023

 

 

 

project info: 

name: Body Politic
artist: Antony Gormley
location: White Cube Bermondsey, London
dates: 22 November 2023 – 28 January 2024

KEEP UP WITH OUR DAILY AND WEEKLY NEWSLETTERS
suscribe on designboom
- see sample
- see sample
suscribe on designboom
happening now! for over 50 years, florim ceramiche spa has been creating porcelain stoneware ceramic surfaces for all architecture, building industry and interior design needs – explore the new mystic luxe collection on designboom! 

PRODUCT LIBRARY

a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

designboom will always be there for you

milan, new york, beijing, tokyo,  since 1999
X
5