Tuesday, August 07, 2007

BLIND LIGHT by Anthony Gormley. Part 2.

Sometimes I make a point of looking at the top of buildings; in old towns it is often all that remains of their grandeur. The aspiration of planners is preserved there. When the render was still wet these architects had probably been in the prime of their lives and dreamt their success would never end. I expect they thought that people would look back, remember, admire their achievements...and I do. These roof top ornaments are particularly poignant in cities that had a past more glorious than their present like Liverpool - but in London too, a city which seems to have a never-ending vibrancy (the cranes bear witness to this), they strike me too.

Today, of course the tops of roofs are no longer smooth. They bristle with flagpoles, antennae, radar dishes and aerials...and now, in some parts of London, the figure of a man (they are there in all the pictures but you may have to click on them to make them full size to see).

Is the human brain hooked by the image of a body just as much as it stops and wonders at the sight of a face? If we are capable of seeing a face in the patterns of craters on our satellite can we see figures of people as easily too? When I was young I remember shadows becoming arms, legs and torsos in an otherwise unoccupied room and then later, when I studied art, I would endlessly draw people and try to capture their movements in stokes of my pen.

Anthony Gormley's statues, though, are still. They stand like sentinels. The same mould as on Crosby beach and the effect is just as arresting. Their impassivity is part of their power. Even though they are just life-size

they are immediately and strikingly visible

once you start to look.

And although at ground level they disappear in to the crowd

at the top of buildings they intrigue and then entertain as once you have seen one then others magically appear

as if the eye has been trained.

But then there is this

the man alone on the massive blank concrete edge and it is this image that haunts me. He is just there, staring at nothing, and no matter how much he looks at himself

he is always alone.

All the above pictures (except for the last) were taken on both sides of the Thames close to Waterloo Bridge which leads to the South Bank Arts Complex and the Hayward Gallery - the home of Anthony Gormley's Blind Light exhibition at the moment. The last picture is outside my publisher's office block on Euston Road (and I think that may even be my editor's bicycle reflected in the window).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i worked at the Halifax fortress in Leeds for 9 months. It's a kind of Satanic ziggurat-like monstrosity next to some tower blocks. We'd occasionally see people climb out onto the roof of the adjoining tower block and sit there till talked down by the cops. It was quite exciting.

Once, a chap came out and stared fixedly at our building, while masturbating. Bit strange.

Tue Aug 07, 06:14:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I've been to Leeds so I know what you mean!

That last bit is pretty funny - I wonder what made you think of that:-)

Tue Aug 07, 10:06:00 pm  
Blogger Marcia (MeeAugraphie) said...

Thank you so much for posting this. A few of them are haunting,some just interesting, but they all create a mood.

Thu Aug 09, 05:08:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My pleasure, Marcia - I delighted you visited. Thanks for dropping by.

Thu Aug 09, 11:43:00 pm  

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