Antony Gormley, "Blind Light"
Thu Nov 15 2007
Photograph: Courtesy of Sean Kelly Gallery, Photo by Steven P. Harris
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>5/5
Despite their different disciplines, artists and architects have a long history of mutual admiration. But while architects seem largely concerned with the constraints of the box, artists seek to think outside of it. Turner Prize winner Antony Gormley’s recent foray into the ethereal void, however, suggests that the borders between art and architecture are blurring.This show features a number of Gormley’s elegant figurative meditations on physical space and the mind’s capacity (or, perhaps, desire) to stretch beyond its limits. Departing from most art that traffics in such high conceptual ground, Gormley’s work always pays homage to the body in narrative form, and these latest pieces impart an almost religious exaltation. This is due to the exhibition’s nonfigurative and eponymous centerpiece, Blind Light, a room-size glass box filled with dense water vapor and brilliantly diffused light. Entering the mist is a little like walking on the moon: You lose all sense of direction. Indeed, a typical first reaction is anxiety, and it’s nearly impossible to exit without finding a wall thick with condensation and following it back to the entrance. Once outside, a walk around the perimeter reveals a perfect white cube occasionally marked by a handprint from within. The visceral intensity of Blind Light treads far beyond gimmicks of shock or beauty. Its effect of displacement imparts an odd sort of euphoria, a feeling of transcendence like the one described by crash survivors. But Gormley’s chamber is far more serene than near death, suggesting the key to such rapture is a relaxed, albeit rigorous pursuit. If transformation is what Gormley seeks, he’s found his final frontier.