This summer Kettle’s Yard will present ‘SUBJECT’ by Antony Gormley, the artist’s first major UK presentation in a public gallery in over a decade. ‘SUBJECT’ is the first solo artist exhibition to be staged in Kettle’s Yard’s new galleries. Gormley’s site-specific installation will ambitiously push and test the boundaries of these spaces. The exhibition will include both new work and works not previously exhibited in the UK.
Taking as its basis the ‘coordinate’ as a means of measurement of space and of the body as space, ‘SUBJECT’ is conceived as a site-specific installation that will occupy the whole site, including both galleries, the Learning Studio and the Research Space.
The exhibition will continue Gormley’s fundamental investigations into the relationships between the human body and space. Through an encounter with single works, visitors will experience sculpture as a direct and powerful physical dialogue with space, the body as a spatial vehicle both their own and the displaced and indexical trace of the artist’s. Conceived as an intervention which breaches the walls of the exhibition galleries, the installation will highlight some of Gormley’s key concerns over the past forty years. The works will consider how sculpture can activate both the space that it occupies and the body of the viewer, whilst also extending these dialogues to reflect upon broader metaphysical concerns.
Two taut steel lines will shoot through the galleries breaching their entrances and intersecting at head height, crossing the space but never touching. Another line will cut the Sackler Gallery vertically from ceiling to floor. This work, CO-ORDINATE IV (2018), will create a field in which the viewer is implicated. Like highly tuned strings of a musical instrument, these sculptural axes will act as both measures and energisers of the gallery spaces that urge the viewer to look and think beyond the gallery walls.
Inside the Sackler Gallery will stand a single figure, composed of steel rods that map the human body using the same three coordinates as CO-ORDINATE IV through their precise placement at 90 degrees to one another. The start of a new series of works, SUBJECT (2018), that gives its title to the show as a whole, is a meticulously constructed form in which mass and space create an implicit order. Rather than representing the body, or being concerned with appearance, this sculpture will become, like CO-ORDINATE IV, an instrument for projection, empathy and mindfulness.
In the adjacent gallery will be EDGE III (2012), a solid iron body that stands on the wall at the height of a bed. Its unusual placement, spinning the orientation of the space by 90 degrees, acting as a lever on the space prompting a sense of disequilibrium and suggesting that the stability of the world and therefore our orientation within it is relative.
EDGE III (2012) Antony Gormley
In the Clore Learning Studio will hang SLIP I (2007) a work that maps a falling body in space using fine steel bars that follow a system of meridians familiar to us from a geographer’s globe. This accurate mapping of the diving body is held within an expanded space frame derived from that same body. The inner body frame has fallen inside the outer. Both the inner and outer bodies are suspended in arrested fall.
In the Edlis Neeson Research Space, INFINITE CUBE II (2018) will be shown for the first time in the UK. The sole object in the space and the only source of light, its cube structure refers to Jorge Luis Borges’ famous short story, The Aleph, a point in space that contains all other points; looking into it enables one to see everything in the universe, simultaneously from every angle. Measuring one metre cubed and constructed of one-way mirror glass and 1,000 LED lights, the path of the viewer and their angle of view when encountering this work will create an ever-changing perspective of points of light, curving endlessly into infinity.
Antony Gormley said:
“Both in the demands that it makes of the viewer and in the way that this exhibition uses the spaces of the gallery, the show begs the question as to where the subject of art can be found – I am proposing that it is rooted most powerfully in the imaginative engagement and ultimately the memory of the viewer. The wager of this show is that “subject” has transferred from object to experience.”
Antony Gormley: SUBJECT at Kettle’s Yard 22nd May – 27th August 2018 www.kettlesyard.co.uk
Antony Gormley (b.1950) is widely acclaimed for his sculptures, installations and public artworks that investigate the relationship of the human body to space. His work has developed the potential opened up by sculpture since the 1960s through a critical engagement with both his own body and those of others in a way that confronts fundamental questions of where human beings stand in relation to nature and the cosmos. Gormley continually tries to identify the space of art as a place of becoming in which new behaviours, thoughts and feelings can arise.
Gormley’s work has been widely exhibited throughout the UK and internationally with exhibitions at the Long Museum, Shanghai (2017); National Portrait Gallery, London (2016); Forte di Belvedere, Florence (2015); Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern (2014); Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia (2012); Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2012); The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (2011); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2010); Hayward Gallery, London (2007); Malmö Konsthall, Sweden (1993) and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark (1989). Permanent public works include the Angel of the North (Gateshead, England), Another Place (Crosby Beach, England), Inside Australia (Lake Ballard, Western Australia) Exposure (Lelystad, The Netherlands) and Chord (MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA).
Gormley was awarded the Turner Prize in 1994, the South Bank Prize for Visual Art in 1999, the Bernhard Heiliger Award for Sculpture in 2007, the Obayashi Prize in 2012 and the Praemium Imperiale in 2013. In 1997 he was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) and was made a knight in the New Year’s Honours list in 2014. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, an Honorary Doctor of the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Trinity and Jesus Colleges, Cambridge. Gormley has been a Royal Academician since 2003. www.antonygormley.com