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Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Pantin, until 18th july 2015.
Thaddaeus Ropac gallery hosts, within its Paris Pantin site, a major exhibition by British artist Antony Gormley. Second Body features his recent sculptures: impressive artworks at the boundaries between sculpture and architecture, inhabiting the vast halls of this former foundry and disorienting the visitor.
The body and its Habitat
The first exhibition space is occupied by Hole, a four-meter-high work in corten steel. This arrangement of geometric elements invokes both the human figure and the habitat. Multiple holes perforate this ‘body envelope’ resembling cells, windows or corridors. Cavities and partly enclosed volumes contrast with each other, allowing for the penetration of the gaze, yet prohibiting any physical access.
Time and Space
The work Matrix II which was specifically designed for room n°4 draws a ‘virtual architecture’ in the gallery space. This monumental installation consists of wire mesh. The viewer is invited to move around sixteen room-sized volumes. No perspective is being privileged. The movement around the sculpture reveals a changing work, confusing the visitor who is unable to distinguish between the first layer, the second and the background.
Since the 1990’s, Antony Gormley explores – through large-scale installations – the relationship between the body and its environment, as illustrated by the artwork Expansion Fields made of 60 large sculptures whose forms are directly derived from the human body. These steel blocks, strictly aligned in four rows, are reminiscent of an impenetrable soldiers’ army. Together the group of sculptures form a ‘Field’.
In the largest and highest space of the exhibition are installed a series of over life-size totemic figures carrying a great evocative power. Fifteen iron cast silhouettes outline a wide range of body attitudes in a choreography going from reluctance to exuberant joy.
Each room of Second Body plunges the visitor into multiple experiences where the body becomes a magical space constantly transforming.