충격가치를 너머선 내면의 소통

- 곰리(Antony Gormley)와 화이트리드(Rachel Whiteread)

Conceptual Shock via Communication of Intimacy and Isolation: Antony Gormley and Rachel Whiteread
서양미술사학회 논문집 제30집, 2009.2, 265-293 (29 pages)
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Although shock might be effect of avant-gardist’s works constituting art history, the ‘shock value’ is the new concept put forward to by ‘yBa’ in the 1990s mainly for the exhibition “Sensation” at RA in London in 1997. ‘Sensationalism’ in Gombrich’s term by which he criticizes the current artworks, especially referring to some of yBa, he turns to Antony Gormley’s work as significant and valuable for today’s art.
Gormley’s work pursues to materialize the space within the body, to be more precise, endowing volume to the sensation of that inner space of the body. He is said to be the first to use his own body from which he casts. In the process of casting, he experiences temporary ‘death’ by wrapping his own body and get it cast in plaster mould in the claustrophobic situation.
Difficult to communicate as it seem to be, it is to do with meditation which has been quite crucial to his work on the whole. The meditational method, called ‘vipassana,’ is the name given to the Buddhist meditation practice in which the artist was trained for two years in India. Such spiritual training on the making of his sculpture is influenced on his development of awareness of the body. In the process of his work, he told that he experiences temporal death.
Death can also be said to his particular concern of death mask, of which insight strongly influenced on his casting process. In his work, one can count on feeling the presence of being through the skin. In fact, his whole project is to make the work from the inside, for which he attempts to use of his own body. So his work traces and marks of his body is equated to photography. In Gormley’s words, it is a “three-dimensional photograph.”
Casting process is also important to Rachel Whiteread’s work which is well described as solidifying space or embodying nothingness. Her casts in plaster, rubber and resin have a strong material presence. Postminimal sculpture as it is categorized, Whiteread’s work emphasizes materiality and gravity coming from minimal forms. And what she concentrates on is the surfaces of casts. It is because she thinks of casting in terms of removing a surface from one thing and putting it on to another, or taking an image. She has compared the process to the making of a death mask. So her work has quite similar to Gormley’s in its fundamental concern and process.
‘Photographic sculpture’ is also descriptive of Whiteread’s work. It shows almost scientific interest in the trace left by a body and obsession with the specifics of place and community. That makes her sculpture similar to photography in its fundamental structure. ‘Indexicality,’ as is characteristic of the medium of photography, is what is common between Whiteread’s cast work and photography. Photography, like casting, combines that which is present with which is other, that is the residue of original which advances and retreats in the mind of viewer.
In Whiteread’s work, the surface of the sculpture is the point of contact between cast and original. The mass of plaster, as we see in her 〈Ghost〉 and 〈House〉, taken out of its real matrix, reconstructs in negative, all the elements of the interior surface of the domestic spaces. It is 〈House〉, a cast of Victorian terraced house situated in a typical East End neighbourhood that Whiteread’s work brought social debate on the meaning of an artwork in the community into a flame.
Both Whiteread and Gormley show fundamental reversion of conventional ways of both making and perceiving. In Gormley’s case, it is, above all, intimacy and privacy that his ‘body case’ reveals in contrast to monumentality a sculpture generally pursues in conventional terms. It is why so much of his work attempts to lay the verticality of the body down, thereby he tries to reverse and denigrate the sense of dominance and male confrontationality signified in verticality. Horizontality conjured up by his work implies vulnerability in contrast to a heroic stance of traditional sculpture. Here can one sense Gormley’s intention to abandon the institutional privilege of mainstream Western art history and open it up.
So it seems Whiteread’s work since it endows volume and form to what has been disregarded and denigrated. Or mainly empty space itself, that is nothingness and the invisible. The casting process of taking inside out is what makes her work both conceptual and integral. In this paper, I focused on conceptual shock, different to sensational shock, put forward by their cast works in terms of communicating intimacy and isolation. It was discussed especially by looking at Gormley’s recent exhibition 〈Blind light〉(2007) and Whiteread’s 〈House〉(1993). In those works, people’s perception is something that they take into account for their own contents.

Ⅰ. 글을 열며
Ⅱ. 침묵과 부재의 표상
Ⅲ. 관객과의 충격적 소통
Ⅳ. 공공영역과 관람자 참여: 복수성과 ‘집단적 신체’
Ⅴ. 맺으며
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