Critical Mass II - Antony Gormley

Antony Gormley in Rio de Janeiro

World's most in demand city hosts exhibition by British sculptor at Bank of Brazil Cultural Centre

With Rio de Janeiro so hot right now - in every sense of the phrase - news reaches us of an Antony Gormley exhibition, Corpos Presentes – Still Being, that's just opened at the  Bank of Brazil Cultural Centre (CCBB) in the city. Brazil has long served as an inspiration Gormley, 20 years ago he created 'Amazonian Field' - more than 24,000 terracotta figures made with the help of over a hundred residents of Porto Velho, Rondônia.

The new show includes four major installations alongside a number of other works and models. Event Horizon, most recently seen in New York in 2010 is present in the form of 31 life-size body forms of the artist cast in iron and fibreglass, installed across the city's rooftops and in its squares. Equally dramatic is one of Gormley's most celebrated works, 'Critical Mass II' in which 60, cast iron body forms are suspended and fallen. Each of the twelve positions conveys a very different evocation of a mental state and each of the figures weighs a colossal 630kg. 

This exhibition demonstrates the breadth of the artist’s practice, including works such as 'Loss', a human figure constructed of hovering blocks of stainless steel; 'Mother’s Pride', in which Gormley has eaten out his own body shape from slices of factory-produced bread fixed to the wall; and 'Breathing Room' an immersive environment of luminous space frames. 

"I question the notion that retinal response is the only channel of communication in art, and the notion that objects are discrete entities," Gormley says of the show. "I want the work to activate the space around it and engender a psycho-physical response, allowing those in its field of influence to be more aware of their bodies and surroundings." Our Gormley monograph gives a great introduction to and overview of this much-loved British artist.