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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Friday April 08 2011

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon some more Men, ...

image

… which I could have sworn were the work of the same man, Anthony Gormley, as did these South Bank Men.

It was getting late, but on the plus side there was a sunset in progress.  I had fun lining up these (I assumed) Gormley Men with some nearby Big London Things:

imageimage

I returned a day or two later, earlier in the day.  But it was gloomier.

imageimage

When I returned more recently, I found I had lost all interest in lining these Men up with the Towers of Docklands.  I had become interested in their immediate setting:

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

On closer inspection, they looked like the moulds from which the Gormley Men had emerged.  But actually, they are not Gormleys.  They are the work of Peter Burke.  The official title of these Men is: Assembly.

And, I found myself wanting to photo them much closer up.  This is because I came to see that, inside and under all that armour plating, there is a much more specifically human man than is presented by the Gormley Men.  In particular, the face is much more detailed and less generalised, albeit the same every time.

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

Note how the camera, mine anyway, sometimes lies, especially when snapping sculpture, and especially when snapping sculpture close up.  In situ the eye sees context and hence knows what is really going on.  In situ, the eye darts hither and thither and makes sense of everything, provided only that there is sense to be made.  But give the eye only a photo, and all its sees is the photo.  So, here, it can turn the insides of the heads into heads in their own right.  Or, it can turn a comprehensible three dimensional shape into a two dimensional abstract muddle. 

My first reaction to these Men was that there is something very military about them, what with them being outside the old Woolwich Arsenal.  And I still think that.  To me (I have no idea what Peter Burke thinks he was doing) they suggest a reflection on how the military personality is shaped by its armour, by its uniform.  But, on closer inspection, there are still human beings in there.

I do wonder, however, how well Burke and Gormley know each other, and what they each think of the other’s work.  For real I mean, not in the form of the official art bollocks that they emit for public consumption.

Do any accusations of copying fly around, and if so in which direction?

Or, are they part of a “school”?