2009 by Louise Giblin
Louise Giblin – Body Casting Olympians until 26 May, Mall Galleries
Giblin’s exhibition Body Casting Olympians perhaps epitomises the hero worship euphoria that surrounds each country’s athletes in the run up to the Olympic Games. Centrally positioned in the exhibition, the five Olympian body castes are set on ascending pedestals as if in an award ceremony, towering over the rest of the exhibition. The key to an athletes’ success, their fitness and determination, is spelt out in these impressive sculptures. The bodies are highly sculpted and supple, reminiscent of Greek and Roman sculpture where muscle ripples and torsos are tight, depicting the awesomeness of the Gods. The irony here is that these are castes of bodies of reality, of hard work and training to be the best. This realisation, coupled with the strength of material – bronze, aluminium shining as silver, and copper glowing as gold – gives these sculptures the impact of their ‘moulds’; they are wonderfully expressive of an athlete’s dedication and power. Perfect Fit is one of the sculptures that makes up the rest of the exhibition, part of Giblin’s Meta-Human Series. Again moulded on an athlete, the front is made up of a scattering of abstracted and overlapping sketches of the sitter stretching, creating a Futurist-like pattern of dynamism and streamlined lines. The back of the sculpture is loosely based on a human back’s muscles, and interestingly appears to mirror Roman body armour. The beauty to these sculptures, the gentle swell and curve of flesh and strength, is reinforced by their basis on reality rather than creation; it is poignant. As the Greeks glorified their Gods by setting them in stone, Giblin castes the body in celebration of its naked form.