Antony Gormley

Breathing Room

-

Breathing Room

Breathing Room

Press release

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac is pleased to announce its third exhibition by British sculptor Antony Gormley, opening in Paris on Thursday 30 March and running through to 29 April 2006.

A major new installation called Breathing Room, which hovers between the status of an object and a space frame, is made from 12.5 x 12.5 mm square aluminium tubing, constructing a virtual architecture at 1/12th of the volume of the main gallery. This reduced room volume is taken as a constant and constructed seven times, with each frame made at differing proportions of height, width and depth. The space frames interlock in a symmetrical way, forming a floor lattice, which grows into seven volumes. Standing as a free structure within the space, the work can be entered, activating the space and turning the viewer into the self-reflexive figure within a virtual ground.

All artificial light has been removed from the main gallery. During daylight hours the work is naturally illuminated, but since it is coated with phosphorescent paint, as the daylight begins to fade, the work becomes the source of its own illumination, rendering substance and light interchangeable. As the moving point of apprehension and the conditional subject of the space, the viewer can decide whether to enter or leave. The work undermines the determination of a Cartesian single-point perspective familiar from classical painting. It is a resonating chamber that allows the viewer to mediate the condition of an enclosed existence.

In the manner in which it explores the relationship of consciousness to reality, Breathing Room stands in stark contrast to the two lying steel block works: Settlements I and II. Two similar forms derived from the moulded body of the artist, they lie face down, one with the head turned to the right, and the other to the left. With these works, we see a dialectic established between architecture and the body, suggesting a connection between the internal state of the body and its external frame.

Downstairs a totally different field of reference is evoked, with a polarity created by two works made from unbroken loops of 6mm square steel wire, 350 and 420 meters long, Feeling Materials XXV and XXVI. If the Settlements and Breathing Room refer to corporeal relations between mass and space, this installation describes the body as a field of energy emanating from core to outer space.

Gormley has referred to his works as "diagnostic instruments" to help orient the mind between the inner conditions of the body and the infinite extensions of deep space.