The cities are looking to reuse their heritage buildings with new factions and purposes in order to give new life to these abandoned spaces. By using an area of the postgraduate diploma thesis that needed development this research aims to find methods and establish a better understanding about the use of interior spaces for the regeneration of heritage factory buildings by analyzing the work of Antony Gormley through his exhibitions Antony Gormley in Royal Academy of Art and Model in White Cube. The diploma thesis was located in the abandoned Can Ricart Factory in Poblenou, an old industrial area of Barcelona full of historic factories.
Using different mediums, this study analyses and determine knowledge from the work of Antony Gormley. Books, journals, lectures, videos, documentaries, research papers, diagrams, plans, and sections assisted this research with the appropriate knowledge. Structured in two sections, this research introduces the two shows of the artist, followed by their evaluation and comparison of the two with Can Ricart which assisted with strategies for the regeneration of the interior spaces of the factory.
Antony Gormley firstly studied archaeology, anthropology, and art history at trinity college, Cambridge. Then, he traveled to India which inspired his artistic theories. Afterward, he returned to England to continue his studies in art. In his studies, he focused on sculpture at the Central School of Art, Goldsmith’s College, and the Slate School of Art.
He is known for his artworks that explore the connection between the human body and its spatial surroundings. He wants to make you think about your position and the room you are in and in relation to his work. He says that ́art is no longer about power and privilege, but about participatioǹ. Most of his artworks are human figures, which he cast from his own body with various materials such as plaster, concrete, and iron. Some of Gormley’s works explore the relationship between old heritage sites or buildings, his contemporary artwork, and the viewers. Few shows that explore this relationship are; Antony Gormley in Royal Academy of Art, London (2019), Sight in Delos Island, Greece (2019), Model in White Cube Bermondsey, London (2012-2013) and Still Standing at state Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (2011-2012).
This study investigates the following two shows, Antony Gormley (2019) and Model (2012-2013). His Royal Academy show was the most recent work by the time of the research and was easy to visit and explore. The Royal Academy show was in the Burlington House building which was built in 1868 by Sydney Smirke. The visit to the show took place on the 26th of October where a further understanding, observing, and sensing of his artworks occurred. On the other hand, the white cube show was in an old industrial warehouse which was build in 1970 and transformed by Casper Mueller Kneer in 2011 into a contemporary art gallery. The medium that was used for the understanding of the show was mostly through videos due to the fact that was ended in 2013. The two exhibitions were similar in overall spatial size that I want to explore for Can Ricart and both are placed within buildings.
The Antony Gormley show was held in the Royal Academy of Art and included a non-chronological retrospective artwork from the 45 years of the artist’s work. According to the artist, one of the goals of the show was to exploit the entire volume of the Royal Academy in a way that made the viewer’s journey through it exciting. One of the characteristics of this show is that there is no story behind but only the story of the viewer that brings with him. According to Martin Caiger Smith, the show binds together Gormley’s most recent and previous work, which emphasizing on his general and continuing concerns on how we experience the elemental natural world, with who we are, as bodies moving through space and time, and how we relate to the man-made environment we have to create in our environment.
The Model show that was held in White Cube, testing the physical possibilities of the gallery space. This ambitious show investigates our experience of the body through architecture, and of architecture through the body. In this show, a dialogue between extension, expansion, and the scale of the body is taken as a variable throughout the installation of objects. Unlikely, the Royal Academy show here the viewer can choose the pathway he wants to take. Additionally, in this show, the artist uses weathering steel and iron for his artworks. The use of these materials unites the various sculptures and gives the impression of one continuous artwork.