Outside it is a cold December evening as daylight is dying and the sparkling Christmas lights are springing into life. Inside you enter a different world, a world that is more linked to the earth, perhaps to the time before this area of Mayfair was developed, first with the 17th century Mansion Clarendon House and then Albemarle Street itself. Ahead of you stands a large group of figures, quiet, reflective, perhaps also a little sinister, while nearby are lone figures trapped in iron cages and others standing alone, the effects reinforced by the shadows cast across the floor and up the walls on which hang tapestries created from natural materials, linking back to the earth.
In 2020, Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz will be the focus of a major exhibition at Tate Modern. Her work is currently on show at the new Museum of Modern Art galleries in New York and, as a taster for the Tate’s exhibition next year, a selection of her constructions and drawings in ‘Corporeal Materiality’ is here on show at the Marlborough Gallery in London, with exemplary lighting casting shadows on the walls and floor.
Then the visitor ascends the contemporary staircase to the upper floor gallery from which you can see the Christmas lights outside, an unusual contrast with the ‘Blind Drawings’ of the American artist William Anastasi but a perfect location for his work in the urban environment of London as Anastasi used the New York environment in which he lived and worked to influence and steer his drawings, for example when he used to travel on the New York Subway with parchment paper on his lap allowing the movement of the subway train to direct his pencil. From my experience of the Subway, I am surprised that the drawings are not more jagged, but it does depend which line you ride on….