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Spazio di luce

Before we headed back to the familar shores of Auckland and Wellington, CIA and I took the chance for a lightning visit to London to spend some time with friends who we may not see again for some time. We had both been to London before, but never together. This was a chance to explore the familiar parts of the city, Whitehall, the Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, the Tate Modern and British Museum.

Better still, we took the chance to see some places in London neither of us had had time to see before. So we strolled on Hampstead Heath, and got a great view of London’s skyline. And before that, we went to a new gallery together. On the way, the tone was set by an encounter with the Gherkin.

The Whitechapel Gallery was opened in 1901, in an impressive building, designed by Charles Harrison Townsend. The Gallery size was doubled recently, an interesting discussion of which can be read here. We knew as soon as we saw the building we were in for a treat.

As we got closer, the detailing on the older part of the building became clearer.

We read about an exhibition at the Gallery before we arrived in London, and Giuseppe Penone and his arte povera sounded like our kind of thing. It seemed to align with the Slow Art we saw in Stockholm.

Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures. The Gallery staff were being particularly vigilant. This is a pity, because the piece we were there to see, the Bloomberg Commissioned piece Spazio di Luce was astonishing. A tree trunk, formed using a wax mould, itself formed by first painting the wax on the tree and then moulding additional layers on to the tree itself, leaving an impression of the tree, but also of people’s fingerprints.

Penone expresses an interest in the interactions between things, which you can hear in the video below.

Penone and his movement deserve a post of their own, but if you are anywhere in or around London, I can only hope that you’ll make the trip to the Whitechapel Gallery to see this impressive piece. It’s elegant, simple, and impressively beautiful


Photos by PJD and CIA, London. The video is from YouTube, posted by the Gallery.

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  1. Should have got it | foldedcranes

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