I found myself, with Silvia and my daughter, one Saturday evening on the rooftop of the De La Warr Pavilion with 60 life sized cast iron bodies of Antony Gormley. Not something that happens everyday.
There were five each of twelve different postures casted from moulds of the artist himself. In itself something of a feat of endurance I suspect.
The piece is called Critical Mass, a term originally from nuclear physics though socially it means the necessary density within a collective that allows for transformation. So one may wonder was the Critical Mass in this instance reached and this is the result or is this a snap shot just prior to the bifurcation point?
No matter. I have to admit I like 'big art', large pieces you can get lost in, wander around and become absorbed by their hugeness for a while. Not so long ago there was an exhibition, unfortunately I can't recall the artist's name, and there was one exhibit which consisted of three videos projected onto three walls you sat in the middle of. One was a matrix like falling, the other words and a journey while a lady sang a beautiful haunting song. It was entrancing, I could have stayed all day just sucking in the energy of the images and sounds. Talk about being immersed in a work of art.
I love the De La Warr Pavilion. I don't always agree with the choice of exhibits, some seem completely pointless, and too many in my opinion focus on the building itself, which I love but would rather it remained the backdrop rather than the centre of the exhibitions themselves.
One of the first exhibitions I can ever remember visiting at the De La Warr in the mid 90s showed an important work of art from each of the last six decades. I wish I could remember them all now. I can only recall a beautifully sensuous Hepworth piece which I just had to stroke even though there was a sign saying, please don't...
And the Kjell Torriset exhibiton which consisted of row upon row of small canvasses, carefully placed abstracts, which looked stunning on the pristine, extraordinarily high walls of the gallery on the first floor.
This gallery was also the backdrop for a glorious exhibition of James Hugonin's work. One evening they even brought in a piano for a recital of Bach and Feldman played by Andrew Zolinsky, music that had inspired Hugonin. I was chatting to the artist himself as the performance began and so got to sit beside him throughout. This was marred slightly by remembering half way through that my mobile was still switched on and not wanting to rustle through my bag to find it to switch it off I just sat praying no one would call me. And they didn't :)
Anyway, back to the Antony Gormley, Critical Mass, exhibit, of which I am still not certain how I feel, but that's ok, as I live so close I can go back and wander among the figures some more, hopefully when there are fewer people around so I can get more of a sense of the piece and ponder further on the transformation.
All photography by Sophie Quinn
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