I visited the Bronze exhibition at the Royal Academy this weekend- a much anticipated trip. I took someone who isn't as keen on art as I am, one of those "what's the point?"-people. However, they did enjoy themselves! Or they were just being polite... Nah, it was a great exhibition.
The vast collection of solely bronze work brought together 150 items from numerous cultures and time periods, spanning 5000 years from antiquity to the present day. Many of the works had never been shown in the UK until this eclectic and fresh exhibition. Bronze has been used as an artistic medium in different ways for thousands of years, a section of the exhibition explained the complex processes involved in making bronze. Although my least favourite room, it has to be said, purely because it was the busiest room!
The items were arranged thematically into Human Figure, Animals, Groups, Objects, Reliefs, Gods, Heads and Busts. I thought this was an effective way of presenting the work as it showed the relationship between objects, and how a similar theme has been represented throughout time and in various cultures.
|Louise Bourgeois, Spider IV, 1996|
|4th century BCE, Thracian, Portrait of King Seuthes|
A few rooms had dark walls and were dimly lit in order for spot lights to highlight the individual works. This created a beautifully eerie feel and made Louise Bourgeois' Spider IV particularly stand out. The white background in the image above does not do the sculpture any kind of justice near to the way it was presented in the exhibition.
One might feel a slight resemblance to a museum of artifacts, but that is just a word used to describe an object with historical and cultural value, and these pieces all happen to have just that- plus artistic merit and a craftsman's touch.
I strongly encourage a trip to this exhibition.
It is a rare opportunity, and one that should not be overlooked.