The TAG Art Museum in Qingdao, China unveils ‘Living Time’, the most extensive display of Antony Gormley’s artworks in Asia to date.
‘Living Time’ encompasses two sections within the Qingdao Tag Art Museum, namely Hall 4 and Hall 5. Hall 4 showcases a grid arrangement of 35 sculptures, harmonizing with the remarkable architectural design by Jean Nouvel, a renowned French architect, in collaboration with French landscape architect Gilles Clément.
This exhibition showcases a diverse array of the artist’s pieces, ranging from the initial lead works like Plateau (1985-86) and Diaphragm (1995), featuring surfaces divided into horizontal and vertical axes, to significant steel and iron sculptures that utilize the same axes to delineate the internal space of the human body.
Within Hall 4, Gormley’s works are presented without chronological context, enabling visitors to establish their own connections between the pieces. Each artwork represents the artist’s body as the central subject and material.
The exhibition culminates in Hall 5 with four “Expansion Works” that were born out of an obsession with redefining the boundary of the skin. Body (1991/93), Fruit (1991/92), Earth (1991/93) and End Product (1990/93) are what Gormley called “contained explosions” that expand the surface of the skin by pushing it outward. In the process, they become less related to the human body and more like primitive cellular life forms or even fruits and vegetables. Earth and End Product accept gravity and rest on the ground, while Body and Fruit are suspended in a fall and float just above the floor, the verticality of their long steel cables animating the space.
Key works include Concentrate I (2003), which marks Gormley’s first attempt to transform the ‘pixel’ into a physical mass, works which are now the British artist’s hallmark. Mean III (2016), translates the interior of the body into a greatly reduced steel grid, and Tuck II (2018), sees the human body becoming a precarious construction of slabs referencing megalithic structures.
Speaking about the exhibition and its urgent message, Gormley said: ‘This exhibition reflects how we have become increasingly contextualised by the built environment. The old saying that we make a world but then it is the world that shapes us has never been more true. I am trying to reconcile the cyber world with the biological world and this exhibition is a materialization of the tension between them.’
‘Sculpture is not a picture of the world, it is an actual physical change to the world.’ Anthony Gormley
Mr Fan Di’an, the curator of the exhibition, holds several important positions such as former director of the National Art Museum of China, the current president of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, vice president of the China Artists Association, commented, “As an artist world renowned contemporary, the opening of Antony Gormley’s solo exhibition at the TAG Art Museum provides us with a rare opportunity to understand his unique artistic concepts and visually captivating artistic language. The exhibition ‘Living Time’, reveals the artist’s investigation into the subject of body and space, life and the world, man and nature, and material and intelligence, showcasing the potential and power of ancient art form activated and enhanced, sculpture. With the confidence to promote artistic exchanges between China and the world, TAG Art Museum introduces Gormley’s representative artistic approaches to China. His artworks provide a space for wandering, dialogue and even philosophical thought or inspiration through the viewer’s gaze. This is the remarkable result of the communication between Chinese art and international art.”
Antony Gormley is one of our time’s most respected and celebrated artists, widely acclaimed for his sculptures, installations and public artworks that investigate the relationship of the human body to space. His work, it should be remembered, deals with fundamental questions that take up the key concepts of Eastern philosophy in relation to the body and space and with regard to Western philosophy about being and time. Gormley continually seeks to identify the art space as a place of becoming where new behaviours, thoughts and feelings can arise. Gormley’s work has
been exhibited extensively throughout the UK and internationally, and he has received numerous awards throughout his career, including the Turner Prize in 1994.
His works represent the body, initially that of the artist, which becomes a multiple of the universe, as he represents a small unit of the 8 billion people in the world and the cage that often creates an iron or solid brick silhouette, represents the real weight of the person from whom the artist drew inspiration, it is nothing more than a dialogue between fullness and emptiness, our presence, being here now and the multitude of emotions we represent, our body is nothing but a cage, not in the negative sense of oppressing, but in the sense of containing. Furthermore, for about 40 years the artist has been the bearer of the message that whoever contains us is the Earth, our other dress, so it is our care to keep it alive and protect it from climate change.
With Galleria Continua and Associazione Arte Continua.
Antony Gormley ‘Living Time’ Curator: Fan Di’an
Producer: Meng Xianwei The exhibition will be open until December 10 at TAG Art Museum, No.1111 Yinshatan Road, West Coast New District, Qingdao, China.