At first sight, I thought I saw a man standing alone and naked out in the waves at Margate on a sunny but very windy afternoon. Crazy, I thought to brave those rollers on suchb a cold day and without a wet suit. Then, I noticed that he was coloureed green and motionless despite the battering he was getting from the sea. He was not a man, but a sculpture.
This sculpture braving the sea is Another Time created in 2013 by the British sculptor Antony Gormley (born 1950).
The clever thing about this sculpture is placing it in the water. Though static, the waves dashing against it can create the illusion that the sculpted man is moving. Also, by putting it in the sea, the whole sea becomes an important part of the artwork.
Although I am not too keen on Gormley’s art works, this piece at Margate, just outside the Turner Contemporary art gallery satisfies me greatly.
Once again, London’s Kew Gardens is hosting an exhibition of glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly (born 1941). The amazingly crafted glass artworks of often quite complex design have been placed both in the open-air and inside some of Kew’s lovely old glass-houses.
The curvy tubes with pointed ends shown in my photograph have been tastefully planted in a grassy field dotted with tulips. In the Temperate House, a large glass mobile has been suspended from the ceiling and smaller objects mingle with the plants. Wherever you look, you will find glass artefacts in intimate contact with the plants growing around them. In the Water-Lily House, large glass sulptures evoking the flowers of water-lillies mingle with the real plants whose fronds float on the water.
As time passes and the plants grow more, some of Chihuly’s colourful glass objects will become harder to find. The plant-like forms of many of the artworks mix with the plants to provide in some cases a stark contrast or in others they almost blend with the plants around them.
It is well worth visiting Kew whilst these sculptures are on display. However much I like the glass artworks, the stars of the show are for me the plants themselves (rather than the sculptures). This highlights how difficult it is for man to compete with nature on the aesthetic playing field.
The Chihuly works are on display at Kew Gardens until the 27th October 2019