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Angelo Musco – From here to eternity

26 Dec 2016

Hi Steve, hope you guys are well. Just wanted to let you know the piece is officially completed. In the next few days we will finally post the result of 4 years of work. The piece has been named SANCTUARY.” – Angelo Musco, 30 July 2016.

This was news that a quietly vigilant corner of me had indeed waited years to receive. Angelo Musco had at last completed his magnum opus; a huge artistic undertaking inspired by the Tower of Babel. Yet Sanctuary had become very much more than a tower – it was a sprawling metropolis constructed from countless thousands of nude human forms… several of which were my own.


Sanctuary was officially announced to the world on 8 August through an interview for The Creators Project; an article in the Huffington Post; and a production video on YouTube. Soon after came news that the piece would feature within an exhibition at Maison Particulière, in Brussels. Esther and I had the first weekend of December free, so we boarded Eurostar in London and departed for the capital of Belgium.



After a Saturday spent exploring the city, we left our apartment late Sunday morning and headed for Maison Particulière. Doors had opened shortly before we arrived, and for a while we had the place all to ourselves. Such an elegant and serene space. We were given a brief introduction by one of the staff, then began our wanderings around the ground floor exhibits…


Senza Titolo‘ by Claudio Parmiggiani, and ‘Hollow Figure‘ by Daniel Arsham

Cocoon‘ by Angelo Musco

Carmela‘ by Jaume Plensa

Murmek‘ by Angelo Musco

All around was beauty and exquisiteness. Up the first flight of stairs I discovered one of Angelo’s most dynamic pieces – the hellish whirlpools of ‘Tehom‘, in which bodies try desperately to escape their underwater torment, or possibly drag the viewer down among them. Also here was ‘Remember that we sometimes…‘ by Rachel Kneebone. I’d life modelled with this very piece at the Freud Museum in London last February.

Remember that we sometimes…‘ by Rachel Kneebone

With ‘Tehom‘ (detail) by Angelo Musco

Tehom‘ (detail) by Angelo Musco

Tehom‘ (detail) by Angelo Musco

I’ve become acquainted with much of Angelo’s extraordinary work over the years from his website. Now to admire so many pieces with my own eyes on such a grand scale felt like a blissful privilege. Such detail, to notice and absorb – no more so than within ‘Phloem‘ from his ‘Cortex‘ series. We lingered before it at length, before traversing the next room containing ‘Pièce détachée‘ by Michel François, to find… sanctuary!

Phloem‘ by Angelo Musco

Phloem‘ by Angelo Musco

Phloem‘ (detail) by Angelo Musco

Phloem‘ (detail) by Angelo Musco

Pièce détachée‘ (detail) by Michel François


Sanctuary‘ by Angelo Musco

This wasn’t even the full-size version, yet at 16 feet wide by 4 feet high it was truly an astonishing piece, assembled from figures photographed in New York, Buenos Aires, London, Berlin and Naples. Together with friends, I’d taken part in the London (2013) and Berlin (2014) shoots, and now rejoiced in recognising faces. There’s me, top left corner, Cy just below, Peter to the right, Zabine just below, Clifford by her knee…

Sanctuary‘ (detail) by Angelo Musco

Sanctuary‘ (detail) by Angelo Musco

Sanctuary‘ (detail) by Angelo Musco

Sanctuary‘ (detail) by Angelo Musco

These were merely among the most noticeable figures. The more I studied the piece, the more would catch my eye. In three separate places my upper torso loomed large, curved inwards or backwards in a tangle of other body fragments. Elsewhere I would find myself peering out from a standing group – shots taken in Berlin. No matter how tiny the figures, their clarity was pin-sharp. My camera has not done them justice.

Sanctuary‘ (detail) by Angelo Musco

Sanctuary‘ (detail) by Angelo Musco

Sanctuary‘ (detail) by Angelo Musco

Sanctuary‘ (detail) by Angelo Musco

Sanctuary‘ (detail) by Angelo Musco

Sanctuary‘ (detail) by Angelo Musco

Sanctuary‘ (detail) by Angelo Musco

Sanctuary‘ (detail) by Angelo Musco

Sanctuary‘ by Angelo Musco

Credit to Esther’s patience that she indulged me to spend so long with the piece. We were lucky still to have the place to ourselves at this stage, but soon others began to arrive. We passed into more rooms; one with ‘Aves‘ and ‘Ala’ by Angelo; one with the sculpture ‘Lie’ by Antony Gormley, and a video of monarch butterflies formed of naked bodies by Angelo; and finally to a light installation by the incredible James Turrell.

Aves‘ by Angelo Musco

Ala‘ by Angelo Musco

Lie‘ by Antony Gormley

Image from video installation by Angelo Musco

Image from video installation by Angelo Musco

Image from light installation by James Turrell

Any single one of Angelo’s works can be mesmerising in composition, detail, delicacy and soulfulness. To see so many here, complemented perfectly by sculptural artworks in minimalist chic surroundings, felt magical and elating. Only nature could adequately follow that, so we drifted through crisp December air down to Bois de la Cambre and partook of sunset pancakes at Chalet Robinson. It had been a day of feasting.


The exhibition ‘From here to eternity‘ continues until 30 April 2017 and is open from Tuesday to Sunday each week, 11am to 6pm. If you have the means and opportunity, I highly recommend a visit. Hopefully Angelo’s next big show in Europe will include a version of Sanctuary at least double the size of the one we admired in Brussels. Until then, let’s enjoy that production video one more time. Thank you, Angelo.

From → Art

One Comment
  1. boykog permalink

    An event comparable to the story behind, epic indeed! A must see exhibit…

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