Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Engineering Art.

Antony Gormley, the Artist responsible for the 'Angel of the North' has had a major new work constructed by Had Fab Ltd, at their works yard in East Lothian, Scotland.

The work, titled 'Exposure,' is of a crouching human figure over 25metres/ 75 feet high. It has been commissioned for the Flevoland landscape to be erected near Lelystad, in the Netherlands.
Had Fab Ltd, are more used to fabricating electricity pylons and radio towers, and decided to bid for this work when many other fabrication companies said it simply could not be done.
Construction of the piece is now complete, and it will rest in their yard for a few days, before being dis-assembled and transported to Lelystad as an enormous 3D jigsaw puzzle. I'm willing to bet that it will not be re-assembled exactly right, no matter how much care & attention to detail is put into marking the pieces.
What do you think?

These pictures © Isabelle Lomholt, Director of e-architect, a resource for World Architecture & Architects. Email info@e-architech.co.uk  More images can be seen at the e-architect website here.
As a major achievement in fabrication, one would think Had Fab Ltd, would shout loud & far to advertise their accomplishment. Which is probably why there is zero mention of this on their website so far. They were too busy building the piece to be bothered telling us all about it.

Antony Gormley spoke about the piece with Jan van Boeckel of Resurgence Magazine, an excerpt of which is below.

One of my newest works is called Exposure because I wanted to make something about consciousness and that bigger body of nature. There were a lot of moments when it looked like this sculpture was not going to happen because we didn’t have enough money or we didn’t find the right person to make it. But I really wanted to do it because the site is so extraordinary. The site, in Lelystad, in the Netherlands, is truly elemental, where you have sky, and sea, and a little bit of earth, but not very much. So the only “mass” in the view from the city onto the Zuiderzee, on this line of the polder, is this body form, which for most people you’ll see from a kilometre away and will have no idea about its true size, apart from when somebody is walking along underneath it. So it has a scale in relation to this, if you like, wider body, of the interpenetration of the elements, and it’s open. So this exposure is the abandonment of this industrially produced thing to the elements, the exposure of it to the elements.

But it is also about the exposure of the body as an open space, so that idea of it being as a sieve, or a net or an antenna, and the fact that it is, of all of the work, it is a very good one in relation to this meditative sense. You could say this is a field function that is defined by a bounding surface, but the surface is completely open. And within that field there are hundreds of nodes, the most complex has 27 trajectories coming into it. The simplest are the ones on the surface which only have three. What we were talking about is a connectivity system. I’ve used the biggest nodes, the ones with the largest number of elements coming together in one point, are in the centre of the head, the heart, the stomach and the genitals. They are reformulating anatomy in relation to thinking about the body itself as an energy field. That energy field is then placed, as it were, within the big energy field of the exchange between light, air, water, and space at large.

Is there a relationship between ‘exposure’ and vulnerability?

Yes, I think so. The irony about Exposure is that here is a body that is taking up one of the minimal positions, almost back into the foetal position, and yet, it is very big! It is a very large object, talking about the body in its most compressed form. And that compressed form, in a sense, is about the same thing we were talking about with Still: the idea of the universal human condition of being “lost in space.”

So that’s Exposure. The other side of that is Quantum Cloud, where there is no bounding condition, there is simply a matrix, which exactly refers to the Podolksy-Rosen paradox, which is: that if you know a particle’s position, you won’t know its speed, if you know its speed, you won’t know its position. So the idea of this aleatorical, completely random, Brownian motion of elements in space, that kind of connect, and at the core you have a condensation that vaguely might give you the idea that this is a human space. The level of uncertainty is very important, that you are not sure whether this field is a product of the body, or the body is a product of the field.
For me it is probably the same question, being asked in a different way by Exposure, which is, where does this extraordinary combination of mind and matter that constitutes a human life, fit? Where does the human fit in the scheme of things? You could say that is a philosophical question. So I am doing a kind of physical thinking, materialising questions. This is the absolute antithesis of you could say the traditional “public statue,” like old Lely, up on his column, in Lelystad; you know exactly who he is, why he is there, why he is celebrated, because you know he made it possible for that town to be there in the first place. There are no further questions to be asked about what the nature of this representation is. Well, my Exposure is completely the opposite. What the hell is this thing doing there? What is it? How is it? Who is it for? How am I supposed to relate to it? All of those are completely open questions. And in a sense, you as a viewer, have to participate physically in asking them. And whether you ever get an answer I don’t know. But, you know, you have to go, and see it, you might say to yourself: “Well that looks odd, I better go and check it out.” Maybe you walk, or you bicycle out, and have a look from close up. And the invitation that it offers you is: “Come and have a look, come and make a physical journey, around, underneath.” The idea, that this is a kind of question in physical form, is very important to me. This is about opening up the world, rather than defining it; not talking about known facts or entities, but saying: “Well, maybe we’re not quite sure where we fit in the scheme of things.”

The full article is here.

Pauline McLean, BBC Scotland's Arts Correspondent, has a post about the piece on her Blog, here.


Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Upon reflection, I think that if the pieces are not re-assembled exactly as they were first fitted, this would add to the piece, making it more organic, and less of an industrially produced thing.

Fitting that it should emulate a human entity that changes and grows from when first born.

6:03 PM  

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