100 Antony Gormley Bodies Take Over Fort in Florence
Two of Gormley's series have taken over a Medici family fort.
Brunelleschi’s Dome, the architectural marvel that is in Florence’s Piazza del Duomo, may be one of the most breathtaking sights you’ll ever encounter. Staging an art exhibition that can successfully compete with a view of that iconic building is a tall order, but Antony Gormley‘s current show, “Human” is up to the challenge.
Perched on a hill overlooking the city, “Human” takes full advantage of Forte di Belvedere’s stunning vistas, placing more than 100 works from Gormley‘s “Critical Mass” and “Blockworks” series in various locations inside the fort and on the grounds.
“Human” actually isn’t the only contemporary art show being staged in front of a view of the Duomo this summer. artnet News also took a peek at the Bardini Gardens‘ Lynn Chadwick retrospective, just a couple minutes walk downhill from the Gormley show.
But where Forte di Belvedere is on top of a hill, with plenty of room to step back and appreciate the art, the Bardini Gardens are on the steeply sloped hillside, creating a cramped space that doesn’t allow Chadwick’s work to breathe.
The two Gormley series on view in Florence are both based on the human form, redefined as nearly-featureless and totally depersonalized. Where the bodies of “Critical Mass” are more naturalistic, made from molds the artist made of himself, “Blockworks” interprets the human form through architectural shapes, resulting in pixelized-looking, Minecraft-esque forms.
Forte di Belvedere is perhaps best-known today as the site of the Kim Kardashian/Kayne West wedding, and was built between 1590 and 1595 by the Medici family.
In 2008, the fort was closed after a women tragically fell to her death while celebrating her birthday, making Gormley, well-known for his seemingly suicidal statues placed on urban rooftops, an eerie choice for the space. After five years of renovations, the fort reopened as a summer art exhibition venue in 2013.
“Rather than attempt to insert works that try to match the scale of the site, I have chosen to exhibit works that are life-size and will allow the mass and form of this remarkable construction to speak,” Gormley said in a press release.
The results speak for themselves: the Renaissance has never felt so relevant.
Antony Gormley’s “Human” is on view at Forte di Belvedere, Florence, April 26–September 27, 2015.
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