TOP, Ease (2012). MIDDLE, Murmur (2014) ABOVE, Antony Gormley with his self-portrait, Form (2013).
In the month prior to Art Basel, the Hong Kong branch of White Cube is playing host to a new show by the world-renown sculptor, Sir Antony Gormley, titled States and Conditions, Hong Kong. Usually Art Basel month is a great way to present the heavy hitter artists, however the choice to exhibit a Gormley show prior to the annual art fair may have something to do with A) the gallery wanting an introspective Gormley show to shine bright above the hustle and bustle of fair traffic and/or B) a Gormley show is just plain difficult to literally sell an Art Basel crowd.
The “difficulty” is partly due to the site specificity of the Gormley show. That said, it’s a very good exhibition and one that needs to be seen before May 3rd. If you miss it, you’ll be missing out on an opportunity of a moment. Based on Gormley’s own project drawings available via the exhibition’s catalogue, the works created for White Cube Hong Kong are meant to be experienced at that site. Taking one piece away from this context would be like breaking up a family. According to the artist at his talk, the “sequence of architectural volumes (of the gallery space, is) an opportunity to create a connected narrative.”
And all parts of the show are connected. Every work is a qualifier of the previous work, according to Gormley, and what is presented here is thought forming, process, and various manipulation of volume, emphasizing that the interconnected acts is a full spectrum of creation (with every chapter readily available for sale, of course).
In his talk at the gallery two weeks ago, Gormley states that White Cube Hong Kong is a “privatized gallery”, a prime example of the “architecture of capitalism”. However he takes this opportunity to present new works as an act of subversion.
White Cube Hong Kong has only been operating for about three years, yet no one has proposed work, quite like Gormley, which speaks directly to the gallery as a manifested product of its physical site and as an art market destination in Hong Kong.
Small Prop 111 (2013)
It’s within these found conditions, all defined literally by a logical series of White Cube-like rooms, Gormley responds by imposing 90-degree surfaces to a sculptural self portrait; a lone work on the 2nd level of the gallery titled, Form (2013), which pretty much evolves to become the behemoth piece that is Murmur (2014), located on the street level space right underneath it.
Gormley responds to the gallery’s starkly geometric and commercial existence with a counter proposal of space, one that is derived from the evolution of his own proportions.
Strain II (2011)
Murmur (2014), as with all other works in this show, celebrates the opportunity to formulate a discussion between our raw animal natures, our bodies, and our conscious choice to confine / and define ourselves via cubic spaces, something that is not of our natural world and can potentially be a segregative experience in the process.
And outside these cubic spaces? Back to classic “Gormley” studies in Reserve (2013) where the object’s human proportions is itself the one true shelter in unison with the wild.
VISIT Antony Gormley: States and Conditions, Hong Kong . White Cube Hong Kong . Until 3 May 2014 . 50 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong . T: +852-25292000