When walking into Anthony Gormley’s ‘Fit’ at the White Cube, one is over come by the distinct sense of geometry of the space. Each room is contained and somewhat restricted, with one, or two works, allowing the viewer to have a personal and close relationship with the sculptures. Due to their proximity, a sense of intimacy arises between the human aspects of the figures and the viewer. Many of the figures are made from lines of steel, varying in length to resemble the shapes and forms of the body, down to their bare structural essences, yet there is still a remnant of the fleshy, mortal human despite the cold, formal connotations of the material, as one envisions a body building around the lines of the sculpture.
Gormley has consistently explored the dimensions of the physicality of the self throughout his career, through haunting explorations such as ‘Another Place’ and ‘Event Horizon’. However, the situation of the White Cube gallery is very different from the landscapes Gormley has frequently previously chosen, and although it allows for a complete absorption of the work, some of the lingering poetic nuances of the work is dissembled as its connection with the natural world the that the human condition inhabits is lost.
However, as these sculptures have a more geometric aesthetic, a different standard of display was required, and Gormley chose not to situate them within the landscape, but rather place them within the winding rectangular rooms of the White Cube. These rectangular spaces meander onto one another, with additional spaces revealed from various angles within the room, encouraging the viewer to look around the full form of the sculpture. Yet, the openings onto the next spaces, from room to room, make the relationship with sculpture in the current room almost tempestuous, as the viewer moves on, tempted by the look of another intimate space, with another equally as attractive sculpture proposition inside.
Each sculpture is in itself an intimate object, human like in their forms, weathered in their use of industrial materials, presenting a vision of mortality which is painfully self-aware. As one walks through ‘Passage’, the centre-piece of the show, there is a great sense of ominous depth, there is no sense of space of time passed, as one walks through a void not knowing how far they have travelled or when to stop. There is no sound within the corridor, just simply the distant murmurs of those outside, and one is confronted with the immediate feeling of separation from others, questioning the nature of sensory deprivation, as it is our sense and others responses to these that effectively forms our consciousness. Without senses, or confirmation of them by the stimulant of others, one feels trapped within themselves, as paradoxically they are trapped within the corridor of another steel human.
Gormley’s ‘Fit’ is presents interesting visions of space which relate to the human form, onto which the viewer can project their unique views surrounding the role of the self within the body, however, it fails to reach the aching beauty and symbolism of his previous works which mourn the growing separation between the natural world and the self.