Antony Gormley

ROOTING THE SYNAPSE, WHITE CUBE, HONG KONG, 2018

'Rooting the Synapse' begins with a nod to Goethe's botanical analogy which compares the body of man to a tree planted in the sky. Goethe describes the hemispheres of the brain as being like a seed from which the central nervous system extends. This idea reversed the traditional notion of anatomy and allowed a limbed body to be likened to an 'unknown space' which is searched out by the antennae-like tendrils of nerves.

Applying this idea of alternative anatomy, Gormley's new works, such as SIGNAL (2017), acknowledge the internal structure of the body as a central torso with extensions into its five extremities. Others, like ROOT (2016), installed in the first room of the exhibition, supplant this structure with multi-directional, space-searching tendrils that reach out beyond the body's boundaries. 

Rather than simply mimicking the branching systems of plants, these new works reveal their dynamic nature through a series of 90-degree bends and through a deliberate, proportional scaling of limb to branch. This idea is also translated into the actual process of making the work, whereby the feeding and rising systems of the metal casting process determine how far metal can travel within the sand mould before it solidifies. All works in the exhibition are made from iron: the core material of the Earth. Gormley's sculptures celebrate the action of time and elements on matter; incorporating both a rusted patina, formed through aerobic oxidisation of the iron, and a darker surface that has been created through the sculpture's immersion in a tank of tannic acid, a process that simulates anaerobic oxidisation. 

The Rooter series of sculptures draws on a wide range of cultural references, echoing our fascination with repeated patterns that can be found in both the manmade and natural world. From Greek key patterns to the cloud patterns of ancient China or the vine patterns of the Maya, the desire to translate natural systems into mental diagrams inspires Gormley as much as it did these ancient cultures.

SWOON, 2018

SWOON, 2018
Carbon and casein on paper
111.8 x 76.5 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Vincent Tsang

FEEL, 2016

FEEL, 2016
Cast iron
191.5 x 196.6 x 30.6 cm
ROOT, 2016
Cast iron
202.5 x 51 x 37 cm
STEM, 2016
Cast iron
62.7 x 166.1 x 52.1 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Vincent Tsang

ROOTING THE SYNAPSE, 2018

ROOTING THE SYNAPSE, 2018
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Vincent Tsang

STEM, 2016

STEM, 2016
Cast iron
62.7 x 166.1 x 52.1 cm
FEEL, 2016
Cast iron
191.5 x 196.6 x 30.6 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Vincent Tsang

FEEL, 2016

FEEL, 2016
Cast iron
191.5 x 196.6 x 30.6 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Vincent Tsang

STAND, 2017

STAND, 2017
Cast iron
193 x 53 x 29 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Kitmin Lee

TIP, 2018

TIP, 2018
Carbon and casein on paper
38.3 x 28 cm
FEEL, 2018
Carbon and casein on paper
38.6 x 28.1 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Kitmin Lee

SIGNAL, 2017

SIGNAL, 2017
Cast iron
189.2 x 51.7 x 36.4 cm
CHUTE, 2017
Cast iron
114.1 x 60.5 x 47.9 cm
SPALL, 2017
Cast iron
115.6 x 128.2 x 106 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong. 2018
Photograph by Vincent Tsang

SIGNAL, 2017

SIGNAL, 2017
Cast iron
189.2 x 51.7 x 36.4 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Vincent Tsang

SIGNAL, 2017

SIGNAL, 2017
Cast iron
189.2 x 51.7 x 36.4 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Kitmin Lee

CHUTE, 2017

CHUTE, 2017
Cast iron
114.1 x 60.5 x 47.9 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Vincent Tsang

CHUTE, 2017

CHUTE, 2017
Cast iron
114.1 x 60.5 x 47.9 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Kitmin Lee

CHUTE, 2017

CHUTE, 2017
Cast iron
114.1 x 60.5 x 47.9 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Kitmin Lee

ROOTING THE SYNAPSE, 2018

ROOTING THE SYNAPSE, 2018
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Kitmin Lee

TIP, 2018

TIP, 2018
Carbon and casein on paper
38.3 x 28 cm
FEEL, 2018
Carbon and casein on paper
38.6 x 28.1 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Kitmin Lee

ROOTING THE SYNAPSE, 2018

ROOTING THE SYNAPSE, 2018
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Kitmin Lee

BOOST, 2018

BOOST, 2018
Cast iron
180.9 x 48.9 x 33.6 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Vincent Tsang

BOOST, 2018

BOOST, 2018
Cast iron
180.9 x 48.9 x 33.6 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Kitmin Lee

BOOST, 2018

BOOST, 2018
Cast iron
180.9 x 48.9 x 33.6 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Kitmin Lee

BOOST, 2018

BOOST, 2018
Cast iron
180.9 x 48.9 x 33.6 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Kitmin Lee

FALL, 2017

FALL, 2017
Cast iron
67 x 142.5 x 113.6 cm
SWOON, 2017
Cast iron
185.5 x 49 x 37 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Vincent Tsang

SWOON, 2017

SWOON, 2017
Cast iron
185.5 x 49 x 37 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Kitmin Lee

FALL, 2017

FALL, 2017
Cast iron
67 x 142.5 x 113.6 cm
SWOON, 2017
Cast iron
185.5 x 49 x 37 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Kitmin Lee

CLASP, 2016

CLASP, 2016
Cast iron
54.7 x 78.6 x 46.3 cm
Installation view, White Cube, Hong Kong, 2018
Photograph by Vincent Tsang

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