White Cube: Old Street

Antony Gormley, Still Standing

The Angel of the North in Gateshead, Iron:Man in Birmingham, Another Place on Crosby Beach…I’ve always felt that Gormley’s work sits most comfortably and sensitively outside. Nevertheless White Cube have put together a strong show with Still Standing, a two room show comprising of 18 new sculptures. These figures have been constructed from a series of cast blocks and are architectural in feel, creating a sense of imagining the interior workings of the body.

On the ground floor 17 rusted orange works populate the exhibition space. At first glance they look almost like they’re in movement, resembling CCTV videos where people have been blurrily blocked out into cubes. As you navigate the space these orange works almost shimmer and hum with a present energy. To me they seemed strangely more alive than the two blackly clad invigilators noisily reading the paper in the corner. Crouching, stopping, standing, stretching, turning and bending, the shapes they create are fantastic and the forms perfectly executed.

Upstairs in the small cloister room is one black figure, looking purposefully away from the windows looking out to the square. The invigilator told me that this cast iron figure is perfectly weighted; if you cut him in half exactly at the centre point each side would weigh precisely the same. This solitary figure contrasts with the group downstairs, cleanly set in the space in an almost stoic fashion.

There is humanness to Gormley’s work, a profound understanding of the meaning and power of the human body which touches on the spiritual. He transcends the role of artist, straddling the worlds of maker, engineer, architect, and almost shaman-like observer of form.  And, despite what I stated in the opening paragraph, this group of figures work very well in these pared down white cubes of rooms. A small but thoughtful show.

Antony Gormley, Still Standing (2010-11), cast iron

Curated by the artist. On display until 15th September 2012.


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