Visiting Horizon Field Hamburg by Antony Gormley at Deichtorhallen
The Deichtorhallen were built as market halls between 1911 and 1914. This former place of commerce has been transformed into Hamburg’s prime venue for contemporary art. Availing its open industrial architecture of glass and steel the place quite naturally houses large scale installations and major art exhbitions.
Thus it is an ideal environment for the art of Antony Gormley whose opus emerges from his visions of the human body and its relationship with space.
On the occasion of documenta XIII Mr Gormley implemented a spectacular experience for body and soul in the midst of an artspace that is almost 2500 sq. m in size and has a height of nearly 19 m.
The accessible installation itself can be described as a suspended reflective structure that is slightly osciliating by the movements of the visitors. Or in the words of the creators of this artwork: A spatiotemporal matrix turning into a horizontal painting.
My girlfriend and I had no real idea what to expect. Since the admission is free the only thing you have to do is entering your name on a list before you can access the building. Once you put your signature there the courteous doorman hands you out a little leaflet with some basic instructions.
One of the points mentioned is that you have to put off your shoes before entering the art space. A circumstance that was a tad bewildering to the both of us at first glance. But it also increased our curiosity.
When entering the main hall you look upwards and realize there is a kind of giant trampoline seemingly hovering approximately 10 m above your head. Two framework stairways leading up.
Carefully climbing up there you begin to realize how high above the floor it actually is once you are on top. An usher advised us to access the flat dark area via a narrow gangway. Each one has to go solitary due to the swinging nature of the construction.
We skeptically started scanning the place. The people on there interacted with the structure in very different ways. Some sat on the ground almost meditating whilst others frolicked very lively in a physical manner. Observing all this made us forget we were about to join the crowd.
Walking up there makes you realize the vibrations and movement caused by all the people. First we slowly wandered in awe but then we started to run and jump, sit and lay. Each position creates a unique relationship between your own body, the other bodies and the surface itself. It is like being part of a collective organism. The disturbing aspect about this is you have only limited control of what’s going on. So the best thing one can do is to accept this and enjoy the gentle movements of the underground as it sways and swings.
After an exciting 45 minutes we left the place with much joy and a mind-body-experience none of us had ever before.
For additional infos and an insight into the genesis of this marvelous art adventure please visit the Deichtorhallen website.