Discuss the role of spatiality in the work of two contemporary artists
The natural thought is that the aesthetic difference between sculpture and 2-D art like painting arises from the feelings they attract. Sculpture, being a three-dimensional art, requires touch and sight in three-dimensional space, while painting can only be appreciated visually. Proponents of this vision view the space around the sculpture as an integral part of the tangible structure of this sculpture, in which the viewer interacts with the work. However, there are those who vigorously deny this distinction of sculpture, arguing that sculpture is a visual rather than tactile art.
I base my argument on the first point of view and argue that the sculpture is clearly related to the space in which it is located, interacting with the viewer. At this level, sculpture has much in common with the fourth dimension, which can be called “spatial aesthetics”. So my argument is closely related to the aesthetics of space and sculpture. That is, it analyzes what sculptures of aesthetic experience and the space around it can offer the viewer and how the viewer interacts with and relates to them. My motive is to seek a distinctive aesthetic interest in the space around the work.
Using Anthony Gormley’s Northern angel and Mark Quinn’s planet for my analysis, I argue that these sculptures create a special form of physical and virtual space with a sense of possible movement and action. This means that the human experience of sculptures must be seen as having different meanings. These values are distinctive in presenting the viewer with a separate space in a certain way. What is this method? The answer will be given in two parts. First, it can be argued that the viewer experiences the space around the sculpture as organized around the viewer’s perception of three-dimensional space. Secondly, it can be argued that the viewer is able to see the space around the sculpture as organized around his imagined movement and possibilities of action. I will also assess the evidence for and against my arguments.
The distinguishing feature between sculpture and painting or photography is more than the difference between real and simulated volume. The actual volume of the sculpture produces an object that is part of our world in ways that can be immediately touched or felt. At the same time, like books, sculptures exasperate us, lead people into a creative and mysterious world. The sculpture approaches the viewer, puts his imaginary world in his hands. The most important thing is that the viewer and the sculpture share the same space. This very fact is enough to establish a physical relationship between the sculpture and the viewer, which, of course, leads to emotional influences.
To move forward, I will distinguish between two senses in which spaces can interact with the viewer. The first is more physical. Anthony Gormley’s Northern angel directs the viewer’s attention simply by the power of his vast presence. In addition, what is present in front of the viewer is not only the material from which the Northern angel is made, but also the object it depicts. An angel is not just a reference to the idea of an angel. Despite the fact that the sculpture conveys the viewer’s imagination to a living angel or an imaginary place that is associated with an angel, it is, above all, a real Steel angel occupying its space. Thus, in its form, volume, material and environment, as it is organized around it, the sculpture exists as a real space occupied by the viewer.
The viewer can see the angel of the North has remained essentially connected with its surroundings. The sculpture is associated with a particular external environment and its spatial form and locality, standing on a hill quite independent of the wider environment. Thus, the space is filled with cheerfulness and spirit, marked by the position and relief of the sculpture. The space around the Northern angel, part of his material body, is a fundamental part of the conspicuous structure of this work of art. And at the same time perceptual forces in this surrounding space act directly on the viewer’s body. These perceptual forces also give this space a translucency, a thickness in layers that is largely absent in the space in front of the works of art in 2-D. With sculpture, the space between the viewer and the sculpture is actually a perceived bridge to the work, for the most part unequivocally entering the consciousness of the viewer of the sculpture.
These forces of perception in the surrounding space are certainly something that is present on Mark Quinn’s planet. The sculpture also interacts with its space and with the viewer: it also makes a difference in assessing Quinn’s planet, what environment it is in. Standing in front of a giant children’s sculpture covered in white paint, the viewer experiences the drama of the environment as it interacts with the surroundings of Derbyshire gardens. The viewer interacts with the giant child in a way that interacts with other people and objects. Representation implies action and exists in the space in which the viewer perceives it. Thus, this sculpture represents the gardens of Derbyshire’s own home space, and it is in this sense that the space of the giant children’s sculpture is located. There may be some difficulty in explaining the meaning of this statement. It looks like a piece of art in 2-D could also represent a space, as well as a photo of a concert hall hanging in the hall itself. However, such work in 2-D is not related to his work in any similar way in which the sculpture.
Just as the viewer sees steel or wood, which is a sculpture created in a certain way, created with the idea of what is depicted; thus the viewer perceives the space surrounding the sculpture as created in a certain way, created by the viewer’s very sense of difference in the movement and action of this represented object. So what’s special about the Planet of Quinn and angel Gormley is that the experience that both sculptures support involves the experience of natural space as organized in a distinctive manner.
This sense of the viewer’s interaction with space is clearly physical. The idea of physical space allows us to explore the relationship of sculptures with view and touch. Looking at the sculptures, the viewer sees a visual space created very similar to the picture. However, although sculpture creates an equally visual space, it is not a direct viewing space as the viewer experiences in painting. In sculpture, the viewer experiences a volume that is actually initially given to the touch.
The phenomenon I make Central is at least partly related to tactile sense, since the principle of organization in the viewer’s perception of the space around the planet Quinn and angel Gormley are differences for movement and action to sculptural objects, and this essentially involves tactile sense and unrestricted contact between the viewer’s body and the sculpture. Sculptures can evoke a mountain atmosphere as kinetically organized. On the planet Quinn and angel Gormley, the environment is seen by the viewer as surrounding works. Thus, the sculpture becomes the center around which everything is organized. At the same time, the scene is not displayed from this visual center, as seen in the picture. In a sculpture compared to a work of art in 2-D, the viewer does not see the space as organized around the sculptural object, imagining himself in the shoes of the depicted object. The very point of view of the viewer becomes the only relevant. Choosing their own point of view, the viewer experiences the space around the sculptures formed by the differences of the sculptural objects to move and act in several ways.
However, this tactile sense of sculpture has implications for the right way to appreciate the planet of Quinn and angel Gormley. Touching these huge sculptures will prevent the viewer from perceiving these sculptures and their surroundings as properly organized in space. In other words, touching a sculpture, no matter what it gives the viewer, is always a simple interlude in the viewer’s perception of the sculpture’s form and its relationship to space. The viewer should take a step back, and see that he does not disturb the vision with his hands. This, in turn, will help the viewer to enter the sphere of cosmic influence of the sculpture.
Causey, A. (1998) Sculpture since 1945. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Gaut B. and Lopes D. M. (2000) The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics. Routledge, London.
Hegel, G. W. F. (1998) Aesthetics: Lectures on Fine Art. Vol.2. Clarendon Press, Oxford, England.
Walton, K. (1990) Mimesis as Make-Believe, Cambridge, Harvard University Press.
 Walton, K. (1990), Mimesis as Make-Believe, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, p. 88.
 Gaut B. and Lopes D. M. (2000), The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics. Routledge, London, p. 293.
 Hegel, G. W. F. (1998), Aesthetics: Lectures on Fine Art. Vol.2. Clarendon Press, Oxford, England, p. 702.
 Causey, A. (1998), Sculpture since 1945. Oxford University Press, Oxford, p. 109.