Antony Gormley’s EXPANSION FIELD is being presented for the first time in the large exhibition hall at the Zentrum Paul Klee. This new work, consisting of 60 individual sculptures fabricated from Corten steel, is derived directly from different postures of the human body. The rigorous conceptual basis of this work and its disciplined spatial arrangement engage the viewer in a first-hand experience of space and time, while drawing on references from prehistory, to Minimal and Body Art. The orthogonal field provides a strong counterpoint to the ZPK and Renzo Piano’s organic architectural structure.
EXPANSION FIELD is a continuation of the various "Field" works made throughout Gormley’s working life, including EUROPEAN FIELD and ASIAN FIELD, where tens of thousands of tiny clay figures occupy an indoor space; or in fields which cannot be understood at first sight, such as HORIZON FIELD in Bregenzer Wald, where a number of life-sized figures placed at the same height above sea level occupy an area of over 150 square kilometres.
These works are derived from captured moments of lived time that on the one hand can be associated with Body and Performance Art, and on the other, EXPANSION FIELD can be seen in relation to prehistoric monuments such as the Megalithic avenues of Carnac in Brittany and as a comment on the urban grid of Manhattan. EXPANSION FIELD has a strong affinity with the serial works of Donald Judd, including his monumental installation at Marfa in Texas, or with The Lightening Field of Walter De Maria. It re-examines the language of Cubism while continuing the demands of engagement made by Minimal Art.
EXPANSION FIELD could be seen as predestined as an installation at the Zentrum Paul Klee, since the work contrasts in an exciting way with the organic language of Renzo Piano’s architecture while rich in its points of contact with the universe of Paul Klee. Both artists are interested in the connections and interchange between the evolution of nature and constructed realities.
Three early sculptures by the artist that engage with expansion and create a dialogue between growth, space and seriality are being exhibited in a cabinet alongside the spatial installation EXPANSION FIELD.
Curated by Peter Fischer, curatorial assistance Simone Küng. A catalogue of the exhibition will be published in November 2014.
Supported by Die Mobiliar, JTI, Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation.
EXPANSION FIELD: body and space mediated through architecture.
Over the years, my obsession has been to try to explore the body as a place rather than simply as an object and to reconcile its space with space at large. I want to acknowledge that while we live within a built environment and we are the only animal to construct a habitat using Euclidean principles, the moment we close our eyes and become conscious of the darkness of the body, we are in an unbounded, ever extending space without dimension. This intimate zone of experience has the same unlimited properties as the sky at night.
With this EXPANSION FIELD, the cosmological constant of an expanding universe is applied to the subjective space of the body. The work is comprised of 60 boxes that evoke the unstable place of the body as an architectural field: 60 cases for darkness, or night, each derived from the volumes of my body but translated into the geometry of architecture.
Fabricated in Corten steel and hermetically welded, the sculptures are absolute displacements of space; volumes of night placed in light. They are made from up to thirty different body positions that have each been expanded as many as six times, and the resulting expansions are orientated in all directions. The incremental expansion of these body zones is random but they are placed on a clear grid, through which the body of the viewer is invited to wander.
This is a reflective field in which subjective experience is catalysed by voided objects. The degree to which it encourages projection is the degree to which it encourages proprioception.
Antony Gormley (born 1950) is known worldwide for his sculptures, installations and works in public spaces. In all the works, the theme is the relationship of the human body to space. Gormley dedicates his work to the further development of the potential of sculpture, as has been evident since the 1970s, integrating his own body and the bodies of others into his work. In this way he poses fundamental questions about the relationship between the human being, nature and the cosmos. Gormley constantly attempts to understand the space of a work of art as a place in which new behaviours, thoughts and feelings are able to come into existence.
Selection of solo
Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, São Paulo, Rio di Janeiro and Brasilia (2012); Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2012); The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (2011); Kunsthaus Bregenz (2010); Hayward Gallery, London (2007); Malmö Konsthall (1993); Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk (1989).
Selection of group exhibitions:
Biennale Venice (1982 and 1986); Documenta 8, Kassel (1987).
Selection of works in public spaces:
ANGEL OF THE NORTH (Gateshead, England), ANOTHER PLACE (Crosby Beach, England), INSIDE AUSTRALIA (Lake Ballard, Western Australia); EXPOSURE (Lelystad, Netherlands).
Selection of prizes:
Turner Prize (1994); South Bank Prize for Visual Art (1999); the Bernhard Heiliger Award for Sculpture (2007); Praemium Imperiale (2013).