For British sculptor Antony Gormley’s new exhibition, “States and Conditions” at White Cube, the venue is just as important as the art. Expressed through various sculptures, Gormley plays with the gallery’s space to evoke questions about the dense living environment in Hong Kong.
“Murmur” occupies the first floor of the exhibition. Composed of stainless steal tubes, the massive piece spans from floor to ceiling. “Murmur” is meant to “integrate White Cube and what it interrogates,” Gormley says. As “Murmur” itself resembles a series of frames, it can be thought of as a literal framework for viewing the rest of his works.
The sculptures are interspersed through stairways and passages, with a series of paintings lining a corridor. Another main highlight is “Form,” a figure constructed of cast iron. This piece was inspired by Gormley’s own crouching form, made quite apparent after the artist poses next to it. Since the 1980s, Gormley has been known for using human figures – often himself – as the dominant inspiration for his pieces.
The unique landscape of Hong Kong was a main consideration for the exhibition, and Gormley has many questions for a vertical city that exists next to sprawling wildlife. He notes the irony of the disconnection common in city life, where you “live closer and closer together, but further and further apart.” These questions surrounding space and isolation can perhaps be sensed by the intimate yet dispersed placement of his works in the exhibition.
Gormley also asks viewers to think about the “architecture of capitalism,” and the “rules of architecture, construction of spaces to describe or control aesthetics.” He calls this the “colonisation of space.” So as food for thought, Gormley poses a question about Hong Kong that resonates: “Do we need to make more and more if we are failing at sharing these resources?”
“States and Conditions” by Antony Gormley runs from 28 March to 3 May 2014 and is open every Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 7pm.
White Cube Hong Kong, 50 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2592 2000, whitecube.com