"LOST HORIZON II" (2017) was the principle work of the exhibition “CO-ORDINATE”, on view at Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Italy in 2017.
"CO-ORDINATE" brought together a series of works that consider the linear mapping of space: internal, perceptual and architectural. The exhibition takes its title from the coordination of mind and body in the everyday act of walking.
The first work we encountered, “MEAN III” (2016), acted as a diagnostic tool against which the viewer was invited to measure him/herself. It was paired with the lead work, “INTO THE LIGHT” (1985): an early attempt at mapping the surface of the body using the co-ordinates of a geographer's division of the surface of the Earth. Throughout the show, the mapping of body and space interrogated both architecture and our own moving state.
"LOST HORIZON II" (2017), foregrounded the co-ordination of all perceptions in the negotiation of an environment. The installation used 21 kilometres of silk-wrapped bungee to make an interactive zone, inviting physical exploration and allowing the viewer to become the viewed. In negotiating LOST HORIZON's forest of 5,000 vertical, taut silk lines, the viewer's field of vision becomed confused. Their passage had to adapt into a willed movement through a space that both resisted but also remembered the trajectory of the journey: a trace of vibrations lasting many minutes after that journey had ended. The varied thickness of the bungees confused the distinctions between foreground, midground and distance, producing an optical field that, like “MATRIX” (2014), was impossible to bring into focus. This gave rise to feelings of dislocation and vertigo in the viewer.
On that occasion was published the catalogue “CO-ORDINATED”, edited by Gli Ori, 2018 and was realized a video "ANTONY GORMLEY - CO-ORDINATE", directed by Matteo Frittelli / Alto Piano Studio.
site specific dimensions
String Practice: Lost Horizon II, a field of oscillating absences
Eike D. Schmidt
Entering Lost Horizon II, the explorer-beholder is transported back into a primeval stage of mankind, into an era before the horizon became our main line of reference for physical orientation; that is, before we moved into the savanna from the jungle, where vertical trees and lianas – growth against gravity and suspension towards it – defined the structure of our world.
But also on a much smaller timescale, if we replaced the longue durée of phylogenesis with our personal, ontogenetic memories, Lost Horizon II revives an experience of a physical world, which was dominated by adults’ legs, besides the vertical stands of some seemingly colossal furniture. As the system of bungee ropes is installed at considerable density, the only way to comfortably move forward within it is by keeping our erect, bipedal gait. But we may slightly speed up locomotion by activating our arms, performing repetitive movements, which probably resemble breaststrokes or crawling –that is, aquatic locomotion – which in fact references an even more archaic environment than the jungle.
The counterintuitive nature of Lost Horizon II becomes apparent when one stumbles and is about to fall. Our normal reaction – which we have learned the hard way since infancy – is to put our arms forward in defense, and otherwise to duck and fold as much as possible in order to avoid being hurt. While we can’t retreat into a shell like a turtle, at least we turn from an open posture (like a Baroque figure) to a closed contour (Michelangelo’s ideal). But within Lost Horizon II, such a reaction could be risky. On the contrary, only if we unfold our bodies and stretch our arms and legs, the vibrating strings will softly catch our bodies. Just as in basketball, against all intuition the player must inhale while shooting the ball towards the basket, here, too, the beholder needs to breathe in and stretch whenever he stumbles. After a while inside Lost Horizon II, we learn to naturally fall in a pose akin to that of the Vitruvian Man.
Since the ropes are installed at regular intervals, they are obstacles only as far as speed is concerned, but not in terms of directionality. The curtain of hachures slows down our movement, yet by doing so it fosters observation. The beholder-explorer’s freedom of movement starkly contrasts with the suggestion of a puppet theatre, which the concentration of parallel threads may conjure. While they condition locomotion and perception, they do not guide or control it. There is no puppet player’s hand above the scene (if anything, one may imagine an invisible hand below, which catches the tumbling discoverer). But thinking of the puppet theatre, one wonders if the beholder’s movements inspired by the forest of ropes – such as the breaststrokes in mid-air – might not epitomize that natural grace, which Heinrich von Kleist, in his eponymous essay, had made claims for instances both of self-awareness’s total absence, as well as its full completion. The ropes’ parallel arrangement also puts the installation into opposition with one of the leading metaphors of our time, which is, of course, the web. In fact, one may hypothesize that in Lost Horizon II, all of the knots and synapses are untied. In fact, the white bungee threads are firmly anchored into the floor and the ceiling, where they are dotted with spotlights. Looking upwards, one perceives the strings’ ongoing vibration after passing through them. This adds an acoustical quality to the installation, which in this regard is suggestive of musical instruments, and of sculptural interpretations of strings, from Naum Gabo to Barbara Hepworth. Moreover, the idea of musical harmony directly connects with the ideal of ideal proportions expressed in the Vitruvian Man, as depicted in Leonardo da Vinci’s famous drawing. The concept of sound also connects the installation with its site, a former theatre, which seems to be cocooned by the threads. But most notably, the oscillating traces of movement left by the beholder within the system of bungee ropes is retrospective by nature. Like an extended echo, it translates physical movement into abstract waves, which capture the observer’s presence the very moment he or she vanishes. Lost Horizon II not only summons the remote layers of mankind’s past, but it focusses on the quantum moment of the just gone-by, when presence splits into past and absence.