Antony Gormley’s Iron Baby (1999)
at The Foundling Museum
Until 4th September 2016
When artist Cornelia Parker is involved in any project it is worth paying attention. Parker is an artist who has a way of looking at things that always seems to illuminate a subject or make you think about something in a way you had not previously. Which is, one could argue, sort of the point of art. This exhibition at the Foundling Museum, curated by Parker, is no exception.
In FOUND, Cornelia Parker has gathered together over sixty contemporary artists and creatives to provide works on the theme of ‘found’. The results are as varied as you might expect from such differing artists as Gavin Turk, Jarvis Cocker, Edmund de Waal and Yinka Shonibare.
Yinka Shonibare’s Trumpet Boy (2010)
While some of the works are displayed conventionally in glass cases or on plinths, others are placed around the museum as though they have been left there to be found almost accidentally. You can quite literally stumble over Gavin Turk’s Nomad (2002), a life-size bronze sleeping bag which is found lying on the floor in the incongruous surroundings of the Foundling Museum’s highly-ornate Court Room. The grubby cocoon in a sleeping human shape brings ideas of homelessness into an environment that speaks of nothing but prosperity, power and authority.
Bob and Roberta Smith’s I Found Love (2016)
Elsewhere around the museum you can find Bob and Roberta Smith’s I Found Love (2016), a tatty piece of an old door painted with a charming epithet about the artist’s partner Jessica Voorsanger. It’s an unusually personal work but as the artist says himself, “I don’t often make soppy art, but once in a while it’s OK.”
Antony Gormley’s Iron Baby (1999) is a powerful piece that punches way above it’s diminutive size. This tiny work is a life-size cast of Gormley own newborn daughter, Paloma. For this exhibition Gormley has placed the foetally-curled cast-iron shape of his newborn baby on the cold wooden floor, alone and vulnerable in an otherwise empty room. Gormley wants to contrast the joy he felt at welcoming a new daughter into his own family with the sad plight of the unwanted and abandoned babies taken in for centuries by the Foundling Hospital, on the site of which The Foundling Musuem now stands.
Cornelia Parker’s FOUND is an extraordinary exhibition, unusual in many ways and as such one of the most thoughtful and thought-provoking I have seen all year.
FOUND at The Foundling Museum is on until 4th September.
All photographs ©The London Art File
Permanent collection + exhibition
£6.25* National Trust members
£2 Art Fund members
FREE children (U16), Foundling Friends
*Ticket prices include a voluntary Gift Aid donation
Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 – 17:00
Sunday, 11:00 – 17:00
The Foundling Museum
40 Brunswick Square
London WC1N 1AZ
Tel: +44 (0)20 7841 3600