Canary Wharf Group
One Canada Square
Exhibiting in One Canada Square this month, Body+Soul collates the works of eight, hyper realism sculptors. Together the exhibition causes us to question, how can the soul ever be captured through the medium of sculpture?
Each artist in this exhibition has not only interpreted their model literally but has gone further to capture an invisible quality that fills the figure. From Sean Henry’s “Man on Bench”, where every millimetre of his subject has been explored in minute detail to bring an exaggerated feeling of realism, to Recycle Group’s use of virtual reality, where viewers can hover their Recycle Group app in front of the works to see them come alive as their souls are exposed. This immersive technique prompts viewers to consider how technology has changed society and if machines can ever have their own feelings.
The varying use of material in modern sculpture, deviating from the traditional use of marble and other natural stones is something which surprised Canary Wharf’s Public Art Curator Keith Watson. Tthe artists shown in this exhibition have carved their figures with bronze, wood (natural and burnt) ceramic, resin, coal, cardboard and even 3D printing and virtual reality.
Warren King’s “Shaoxing Husband and Wife”, a pair of life-sized figures from a Chinese village where generations of his family once lived, is made abstractly of only cardboard and glue. Use of these commonplace, discarded materials relates to the nature of the connections he is trying to reconstruct, severed when he’s grandparents left the place some fifty years ago.
Having been interested in hyper realism since childhood, Keith Watson cites experiencing the works of Bruno Walpoth in 2015 as the spark of his journey to Body+Soul. Reflecting on this journey, Watson comes to the realisation that there is far more to hyper realism than photographically copying a figure from life. He quotes – “Artists, whilst perfectly capable of copying figures from life, have taken that as just the first step to develop their ideas and feelings. They have worked to bring the character and personality of the person or their own emotions into the process of making.”
The exhibition will go on show in August as part of Canary Wharf’s on-going exhibition programme. Since the inception of Canary Wharf’s cultural masterplan, the arts have played an important role in the development and success of the 97-acre Estate. Canary Wharf has one of the UK’s largest collections of public art, with more than 70 permanent works by over 50 world-renowned artists and craftsmen.