Installation view of the Lecture Room Photography: John Bodkin, DawkinsColour
Tony Cragg, who co-ordinated the hanging of the sculpture throughout the exhibition, is adamant about showing three-dimensional work in the best way. From the start he demanded ‘a pure, clear space’ and an ‘uncluttered backdrop’, in other words he wanted nothing hanging on the five-metre-high walls. There is admittedly a piece on the wall by Phillip King that’s as much a relief as a sculpture, but nothing else is allowed to interfere with the ‘body of high works with a modest footprint’ that Cragg wants to ‘work well both individually and cohesively within the space’.
The result is beautiful. The space is employed unusually in some areas, as when Richard Long positions his signature blocks of slate along the edge of one wall, or when Camilla Løw connects the wall and the floor with her piece consisting of rope and wooden elements. Long is an Academician, Løw is not, and this suggests the pattern of the whole room.
Two Barry Flanagan bronze hares dominate one end of the room and contrast strongly with Kim Meredew’s Folding Table, an extraordinary piece of trompe l’oeil since its yellow formica top and legs are actually made of stone. Equally illusionistic, a small pile of black ash carefully piled on a plinth by Gavin Turk turns out to have been cast in bronze and then painted. Prominent because of its height is Keith Wilson’s tall, orange, minimalist monolith. Dominant because of its sheer size and suggested weight is William Tucker’s enormous lump of bronze that seems to have fallen out of the sky.