⟨ Art ⟩

Antony Gormley

Rooting the Synapse

Words / Vennes Cheng
Translation / Ian Tsang

Synapse的中文是「突觸」,是連繫神經元之間的接頭,它是構成神經系統的重要部份。沒有「突觸」各神經細胞只是個別存在,不成系統也沒有感知功能。以Synapse為香港第二次個人展覽的名字,Gormely說他要思考的是「存在狀態」。他的作品,尤其一系列人形的雕塑指涉的是人類存在的狀態,今次這個雕塑系列不見人類的形態,而是不同的分佈形狀(pattern),似是植物也像血管。是人類跟自然之間的互相呼應及並生並在。

人類的世界滿佈不同形態的網絡,有形無形,在雲端上也在日常生活中。Gormley的Synapse在靜止中觀看萬物在世界這個網絡中的變化,他說那是「Stillness of sculpture on audience’s being or feeling」。在靜止中時間也在流動,而時間流動是Gormley藝術中概念中的主軸。Synapse中那些像攀藤類植物,也像人類血管的雕塑,彷彿時間被凝結在塑雕創作的一刻。但觀眾若花點時間凝視靜止的雕塑,它們好像在不斷伸延。Gormley說沒有事物是穩定恆常的,靜止中也有變動。

有人說「大自然」(nature)是指沒有人類的世界,人類在nature之上建屋為家才有地球(earth)的出現,於是在大自然的分佈中有了人類,而人類的行為直接影響了大自然的變化。Gormley要談的不是直白的環保呼籲,他希望觀眾思考人與自然之間如何連繫及互動。在 Gormley的Synapse中兩者不是敵對,他把大自然與人體也視為空間,空間中有不同的連接形成網絡,人們如何理解這些一環扣一環的關係,又如何面對那種永恆變動不穩定,才是Synapse的命題。


Synapse is a structure that connects neurons, and constitutes an essential part of the nervous system. Without snapses, each nerve cell exists in isolation, and thus does not form a system together nor can it pass signals. Having used the word “Synapse” to name his second individual exhibition in Hong Kong, Gormely said he would like to ponder upon “the state of existence”. His creations, in particular a series of sculptures shaped like human bodies, refer to the state of humans’ existence. However, among the sculptures in this current series, rather than finding human forms, you will see a variety of patterns, which resemble plants or blood vessels. They represent the coexistence of human beings and nature, which echoe each other.

The human world is full of networks of various forms, either with or without shape, both in the world of cloud computing and in our daily life. In the state of stillness, Gormley’s Synapse takes a look at the changes of living things within the network of this world — He explained that this is the “stillness of sculpture on audience’s being or feeling”. Time still flows in stillness, and the flow of time forms the backbone of Gormley’s art concepts. In Synapse, those sculptures resemble climbing plants and human blood vessels as if time had been frozen at a moment during the sculpture creation. However, if the viewers spend some time to stare at the stationary sculptures, these sculptures seem to be extending continuously. Gormley said that nothing in this world is permanent and stable, and changes can be found within stillness.

Someone said that “nature” refers to a world without human beings, and earth only came into being after human beings started building their houses as their homes within nature. Therefore, human beings have become part of nature, and what human beings do have a direct influence on the changes in nature. Gormley is not trying to directly promote environmental protection. Instead, he hopes that viewers can ponder upon how human beings and the nature connect and interact with each other. Within Gormley’s Synapse, the two are not against each other. He treats both the nature and human bodies as space, and within this space, various connections form a network. That how people understand these interlinking relationships, and how they face the ever changing environment and the instability is the theme of Synapse.