Portuguese artist Leonor Antunes is an internationally recognised artist who represented her country at the Venice Biennale in 2019, a world renowned contemporary visual arts festival.
For the first exhibition in St Luke’s, Antunes has been commissioned by The Box to create a new east window design, alongside a series of new sculptural works.
Antunes’ practice explores the possibilities of sculpture to connect with architecture and design. Melding the unfamiliar with the familiar, she uses materials such as rope, leather and glass, associated with ancient craft traditions, to highlight the histories embedded within material production.
The painstaking, considered nature of her work also provides a timely counter-balance to our increasingly digitised, fast-paced world.
I really believe that art exists in a context, so I do not see my sculptures outside of the space where they exist
In addition to the fused glass window, Antunes has created three main components for St Luke’s, including a new floor work, a series of rope, leather and brass hanging sculptures that resonate with historic ships’ rope making in Plymouth, hand blown Murano glass pendant lights and slatted partitions, which respectively mirror the pattern of the floor, the colours in the window and the church’s original columns. These varied elements not only play with movement, shade, texture and division in space, but deliberately blur the line between where the building’s architecture ends and her art starts.
With Antunes’ interest in work created by women pioneers, the window’s design is inspired by a detail from the marbled end papers from the book Insects of Surinam, first published in 1705 by one of the foremost naturalists of her time, Maria Sibylla Merian (The Box has an original copy dated 1726 – on display in the Cottonian Reading Room). The floor work, titled Discrepancies with L.C., was produced in Plymouth, and is an enlarged version of a 1955 painting by Brazilian artist Lygia Clark. Both these figures, in different times and manners, fought to break down boundaries and question what was considered to be the norm.
With the kind support of Marian Goodman Gallery.