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Generation by William Harling

‘Generation’ is a large sculpture that sees a uniform group of figures lying regimentally in a circle. The figures are absent of identity, individuality and features. Only the hands and feet are sculpted to give a sense of humanity whilst the lack of any high detail gives the figures no hint of uniqueness. The faceless bodies are quite disconcerting, which presents an eerie atmosphere around the work, the shell like costumes and helmet style faces make the audience perceive these figures as other worldly. 

The use of uniformity in the works composition adds a dramatic spacial reflection between the artist and the audience, the manner in which the viewer must walk around the work and is almost teased by the artist who has placed the detailed features within the circle that the viewer is unable to meet; keeping any hope of clarity as to who or what the figures are at arm’s length. 

The composition is the highlight of ‘Generation’ creating an iconic shape from these contained figures creates suggestions of connectivity, networks and how people link together. The narratives develop organically from the viewer’s initial reaction towards the scale, the shape and the linear formation of these voided people.

The Harling body of work often sees simplified figures that almost abstract in situations of an everyday nature that when coupled with the artists playful titles adds just enough narrative to keep the audience guessing. The works often invoke a spiritual response, viewers choosing to read the figures as monk-like, religious readings following naturally, others see these other worldly creatures who have no personality to speak of that merely suggest a figure and leave the concept open for interpretation. 

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