These immersive marble sculptures are the work of Matthew Simmonds, an avid marble sculptor who incorporates his interest in medieval stone architecture into his pieces. The seemingly vast halls — complete with intricate columns and passageway apertures — are in fact produced on a much smaller scale of just centimetres. But his mastery of this medium is such, that this question of scale becomes a mere triviality, and would be unbeknownst to the observer when his pieces are viewed from within and the boundaries of the interior spaces are obscured.
Matthew Simmonds is a graduate of art history with a focus on medieval art and architecture that stemmed from his lifelong fascination with stone buildings. He went on to train as an architectural stonemason and worked on the restorations of several buildings across Britain, most notably Ely Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. He decided to pursue his passion for stone carving further and in 1997 he relocated to Pietrasanta, Italy to master the art of classical marble sculpture. He retained the theme of medieval architecture in his works and developed a unique style wherein he hollows out rough hewn boulders to produce seemingly vast medieval halls on a miniature scale.
To create a sculpture that catches the light and structure of a building and lets the eye wander, to feel that here my eye could live, here a part of me could stay, is a great achievement. The sculptures give the viewer a different perspective on space. They look different from every viewpoint. You long to be in them, and they seem almost more meaningful for that.Merete Pryds Helle
Simmonds extends this sculptural ‘hyperrealism’ by incorporating apertures within his pieces — and often leaving the front ‘facade’ of his paradoxically minute edifices open — to allow a play of light to occur. As the sun tracks, the angle and intensity of light cast on his sculptures alters, and we get a sense of the passing of time as shifting shadows are cast.
Using such internal forms, we get a very interesting sense of light coming in […] So throughout the day the light will actually change — sometimes it will bounce off walls and create moments where its very bright, and then very mysterious and dark as well.”Matthew
When a camera is placed within — and a static viewpoint offers us an internal perspective — these remarkable sculptures would seem as though they are in fact full scale medieval interiors.
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