Set on the lower terrace of the Forte di Belvedere, Critical Mass acquires a new significance in relation to a Renaissance city, the history of humanism and the continuing and ever-present relationship between money, militarism and power.
Gormley states: “On the lower terrace, twelve body forms are installed in a linear progression, from foetal to stargazing positions, recalling the ‘ascent of man’. Opposite, on the western side is a jumbled pile of the same bodies. Here, abandoned manufactured iron objects, each ten times the specific gravity of a living human body, reflect the shadow side of any idea of human progress, confronting the viewer with an image redolent of the conflict of the past century. This dialectic between aspirational and abject is the tension that runs throughout the exhibition.”
The more naturalistic figures of Critical Mass , derived from moulds taken directly from the artist’s body, are in dialogue with recent works collectively known as Blockworks, which reveal human anatomy through architectural volumes. Each sculpture is positioned to resonate with the scale and mass of the Forte.
In the artist’s own words: “The Forte is an extraordinary example of terraforming: a natural hill transformed by Ferdinando de’ Medici into an artefact. It has a long association with contemporary art and has often been used as a monumental context for monumental works. 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… Human opens up the Forte through sculptural acupuncture: the works are widely dispersed to catalyse the inherent masses, constrictions and panoramas that the site affords. In finding the right places to make these confrontations and allusions, to create stumbling blocks and opportunities to stop the viewer in their tracks, I want to encourage the viewer to think again about who they are and how they negotiate the spaces around them”.
until September 27, 2015
artistic supervision by Sergio Risaliti
curated by Arabella Natalini and Sergio Risaliti
exhibition promoted by Comune di Firenze
organized by Mus.e
with the support of Galleria Continua and White Cube