I had a spectacular time at the Sensing Spaces exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts this morning. The exhibition consisted of seven different architects that have used the space within the main galleries of the academy to encompass and interact with their own sculptural art. There was an intentional lack of description about each structure so as to allow the viewer to experience them without any preconceptions. I thoroughly enjoyed this, as I had no idea what to expect on entering each room and like all the other viewers, I was able to gain more from each piece simply by walking through and discovering it as I went along.
Without going into too much detail about the ins and outs of the exhibition, there was one observation I made that particularly interested me, a factor that I realised correlates with a lot of my own photography. Each structure was made to respond to the space surrounding it, both by way of the actual structure and also by its interaction of light. This is something I tend to notice as I find it an excellent subject for photography, especially black and white photography. It is fascinating and an art in itself I believe, the way architectural structure can play with light and shadow creating contrasts that are interchangeable as you adjust your position to them. This was definitely the case with each of these sculptural pieces which made it very stimulating to walk through them and view them from all angles.
A point these architects were also trying to make with the simplicity of the layout was how much we do not even notice the formation of architecture or ‘sense spaces’ around us in our daily lives. This exhibition compels people to observe, absorb and respond to the architecture. I personally really enjoy looking at architecture, especially in London where we are so lucky to have such a diversity of style. Sensing Spaces clearly uses the old architecture of the gallery in an innovative way, creating a fascinating and thought-provoking exhibition.
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