An important piece from the artist’s Later Cast Blockworks series (2010 – 2011), 2 x Splice is the first double body-form work ever to appear at auction.
The Later Cast Blockworks describe the space of the body in stacked masses that question its stability. They use the construction language of the built world - pillars and lintels - to evoke the inner condition of the body, treating the body less as a thing than a place. There is a tension between a suggested symmetry and the actual articulation of a body, so that very slight variations in the alignment of the blocks can be read empathetically as an indication of the total body feeling.
All of these pieces attempt to treat the body as a condition: being, not doing. The internal and inherent tension of 2 x Splice, invoked in name and made evident in the forms, expresses bodies caught in a moment of bodily contraction. The pose is one produced for Gormley’s earlier series, Ataxia, which, inspired by a medical condition characterised by a breakdown of the nervous system, portrays a series of figural contortions ‘perhaps caused by a moment of spasm, whereby the human figure has lost its centre of gravity (A. Gormley, ibid.). In the present work, 2 x Splice, Gormley retains the obscured gravitational centre whilst simultaneously
exploring a more linear, upright posture. It is a work at the heart of the artist’s ongoing formal exploration: ‘These hard, sharp, interlocking, rectangular masses are …used to explore a registered moment in a living body’ (A. Gormley, Ibid.).
Speaking in 2019, Gormley reflected that: ‘What pleases me about the piece now is that each of the pair seems to be pondering the other’s condition as well as their own. In the second, bold work the evocation of sceptical uncertainty is increased by making the tension between the smaller and larger blocks far greater. At the core of this need to continually revise an interpretation of a lived body moment I am trying to make every block count and use geometrical abstraction to increase empathy.’