Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Alban Gate,125 London Wall EC2
The 1992 work, Unity, was commissioned by developers MEPC from the Croatian sculptor Ivan Klapez.
It is a most awkwardly positioned artwork, in a low atrium with industrial ceilings. It is circled by a huge window which bathes it in light but makes it very difficult to photograph - either it is against the light or the background is filled with fussy office detail.
The original idea was to use a figure by Klapez called Liberty, a very tall male nude, but the artist felt the ceiling was too low to give it room to breath and suggested this dynamic X-shaped composition instead.
Klapez came to London in 1987 as the former Yugoslavia began to fall apart. He lived and worked for a while in the crypt of St George Bloomsbury, and this commission was a turning point in his career in two ways, being a prominent commission but also MEPC was sufficiently impressed to give him a five year lease on a derelict office block off Kingsway that was awaiting redevelopment .