Tuesday, 8 September 2015


Penny Hardy’s awesome sculptures, conveying a strong sense of life and vitality, address the concept of fluidity so characteristic of present-day society.

‘Fluidity’, or ‘liquidity’, are fitting metaphors to understand the nature of our present times, of modernity, when nothing is stable, nothing can be taken for granted, nothing actually lasts long. This has been magnificently explained by Zygmunt Bauman, the famous sociologist, in his well-known work “Liquid Modernity”. The notions of solidity, stability and sturdiness so appreciated in times before ours have been replaced by the concepts of fluidity, liquidity, the capacity to quickly change and adapt to new and different conditions or environments.

This seems to have been very present in the mind of Penny Hardy, a British artist based in Devon, United Kingdom, whose sculptures convey precisely this sense of fluidity in spite of the media she uses: metal and metal pieces.  The very names of her different series of sculptures immediately relate to this concept of fluidity: ‘Blown Away’, ‘Duality’, ‘Yin & Yang’, ‘Resilience’ or ‘Erosion’.

Unlike artists as Manuel Marti Moreno with his dissolving sculptures or Bruno Catalano with his “void” sculptures evoking the ravages of time – both of them already featured in this blog –, Penny Hardy’s works, in their movement and dynamics, celebrate the melting of life into Nature, thereby exploring the resulting harmony and sense of belonging.

As Penny Hardy states, “the sense of movement and dynamics within the sculpture provides it with life and vitality whilst remaining true to the use of simple, raw materials… I am exploring the use of layers, light reflections with hard or textured edges to create a sense of fluidity”.

This approach to creation brings Penny Hardy close to Gil Bruvel’s stand of addressing the duality of human nature through the use of the contrast offered by the stiffness of his medium (metal ribbons) and the softness of the shapes adopted, or Regardt van den Meulen, who deals with the vulnerability of human life in modern society.

Penny Hardy’s art works posit the impact that strong emotions may have on our bodies as a result of the shifting tides of our emotional states. In this sense, she also challenges the old notions of solidity and stands for the very modern concept of fluidity, as theorised by Zygmunt Bauman in his texts.

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