Great Britain | Italy


In this anamorphic or shape shifting sculpture, Mark Aspinall uses visual metaphors to invite us on a journey about perception. He starts by showing us how understanding changes dramatically depending on view point. He makes us aware of the way perception develops. He teases us by showing how unreliable perceptions can be, conjuring shapes out of thin air and making solids disappear. Finally, he takes us to a deeper level of understanding, inviting us to perceive nature’s building blocks of life and sense the force of life itself.

Raised in England but residing in Italy, Aspinall is fascinated by how radically perceptions differ depending on individual and cultural perspectives. In England, 13 is regarded as unlucky but in Italy, it’s the opposite. Similarly, life shows how the same facts can be understood in profoundly different ways. Aspinall captures this contradiction by arranging coloured strips of Perspex so that as the viewer circles the installation, a series of circles, triangles and polygons appears to solidify and then dissolve out of view. Aspinall calls this “opposites locked in the same entity”.

Suspended slices of Perspex appear as insubstantial, inconsequential slivers floating in a void but as the viewer passes, the slices coalesce into solid-looking, recognisable shapes. Perception is a gradual process and Aspinall wants the viewer to share in the awakening, anticipation and delight. Aspinall was inspired by the way the mind instinctively hunts for form within chaos and meaning in life, and by the way crystals and rainbows materialise out of seemingly nothing.

Aspinall has chosen simple, strong shapes to remind us how geometric forms underpin growth in nature from crystals to plants, from shells to reptile skin. The hot, bright colours; the strong rhythm from the repeated slices; the ripples carved into the surface: all are different ways of expressing energy either emotively or by conveying its essential wave form, be it in sound or light or a pulsating sub-atomic particle.

Perceiving energy deep within and all around is hard but the journey need not end here. Aspinall invites you to revisit some earlier perceptions and see how they look this time!

text by Julie F. Ball