British artist Antony Gormley, creator of sculptures and installations, and a whole lot more, has exposed work before in The Netherlands. There was an exhibition in the Kunsthal in Rotterdam in 2008, and in Lelystad stands one of his landart works, Exposure. The Museum Voorlinden presents Gormley in a much grander way, dedicating a large part of the exhibition space to a variety of works, some from the artist’s collection, some from the museum collection, and some specially installed for this show.
Walking onto the grounds you are already confronted with Critical Mass II, a collection of 60 cast iron sculptures of people, in 12 different poses, which are initially lined up, and furthermore distributed – by the artists – around the park in various poses. Most dramatically at the museum entrance, where a whole stack of sculptures greets you.
Inside you go from room to room, from surprise to surprise. I am not going to discuss each and every work of the exhibition, but rest assured that your disorientation starts with the first work, two simple lines, one horizontal and one vertical. Go and see it for yourself! From here on it gets better and better, a genius artist who confronts you time and again, through an unexpected art expression, with the world around you. Expansion Field, for instance, is a collection of metal pillars, each welded from rectangular blocks which together represent the human body in various postures. Clearing VIII is an eight kilometre long aluminium pipe with bends its way through the room, only limited by its walls and roof and floor. The only way to get to the other end is through the art work, over and under parts of the pipe. Another work to get into is Breathing Room III, a three-dimensional construction of an illuminating framework, where you are invited to navigate through. Or what about passage, a twelve meter long metal tunnel closed at one end – a walk towards the dark, followed, after you turn back, by a view of the light at the end of the tunnel. And there is more, including two-dimensional work on paper, which nevertheless gives you a three-dimensional feeling. Genius!
Of course, everybody who ever watched Detective Vera on TV is familiar with the Angle of the North, a monumental sculpture just outside Newcastle. Obviously, not included in the exhibition, but worthwhile enough to reproduce here with some of my own, due to the poor weather conditions rather poor quality, photos.