Today was Art Appreciation, as bugshaw
and I headed off to the Hayward Gallery to catch the end of the Antony Gormley exhibition. And yes, art definitely was appreciated - we both thoroughly enjoyed it.Blind Light
, the title piece, is just as amazing as everyone says. A glass box, about ten metres square, filled with very, very dense fog. Inside, you are in a little white-out world of your own, until people loom out of the haze in front of you, or a barely-perceptible darkening heralds your arrival at one of the walls. There was quite a queue to get in, as entry was limited to 25 at a time. This sounds like a lot, but in hindsight it contributed to the disorientation as you couldn't move more than a metre or two without having to avoid another visitor fumbling slowly around. I found that I rapidly lost any sense of scale of the installation: one minute I could be in a very small space, as the random walk of avoiding people kept on bringing me back into walls; a few moments later I could be in a vast, unknowable void. After perhaps five minutes - I also lost all track of time - I felt my way along the wall to the exit and emerged (somewhat moist with condensation) to the clear air outside. Space Station
was also very impressive, but in a very different way. Photos don't to justice to the sheer size and scale of the thing; according to the notes, it weighs 27 tonnes
and it jolly well looks like it. Close up, it does indeed give you the feel of flying around some vast science-fictional structure; only from the upper gallery does the overall shape, that of a fetally-curled body, become apparent. I am overcome with the urge to make a 1/10 scale Lego version.
What really tickled my fancy though was a gallery of various of Gormley's space-filling human forms. Varied in their execution, they mostly feature a human form at their heart, some more easily distinguishable than others. After a little while I could discern a vague taxonomy of technique, and I began to suspect that Gormley was applying some form of algorithm to produce at least the initial idea of each sculpture. Freefall
, for instance, seems to follow the plan of taking a 3D mesh model of a body, and then projecting a fixed-length rod normal to each node of the mesh, then forming a new mesh with the outer ends. The effect is to have a body embedded in a sort of 'personal space' delineated volume, with a pleasing radial effect. Static I
is a sparser implementation of the same idea.Drift II
, by contrast, are much more like assemblages of bubbles, with the process used to derive them from the human form less obvious. Indeed, close up there is no embedded body to see, with torso, head and limbs only becoming apparent from further away. And the Quantum Cloud
sculptures seemed oddly familiar, until I remembered work I'd seen on radio antennas designed via genetic algorithms (this page
, near bottom).
Outside, the Hayward Gallery's roof spaces allowed us to spot the rooftop statues of Event Horizon
. Apparently there are 31 of them; I'm not sure if we saw them all. Or maybe we saw 30, but someone blinked...EDIT
Thinking back, something many of the exhibits did for me was to distort my sense of scale, either making me feel very large or very small. I've experienced the latter before, notably in the spectacular The Weather Project
at the Tate Modern a few years ago. But feeling big