Two large human heads of a man and a woman in profile, cast in bronze, stand next to each other, their faces raised to the sky in contemplation. The subtly abstracted forms can be appreciated from all angles, each head capturing within its smoothed hollow the landscape and sky. As Gudgeon recognises, ‘Outdoor sculpture is ... an ever-changing event. The different seasons, variable weather, the hours of the day, varying light highlighting different planes of the sculpture – all transform how the work will be seen. It is no longer static; it becomes part of the environment and changes with it.’
I stood on a 240-million-year-old mountain in Africa and watched the 4.6-billion-year-old sun descend below the horizon. As the light diminished, the 200 billion stars in the Milky Way began to glow in the night sky. It was at that moment I began to grasp the narrowness of consciousness, the vastness of time and the transience of humanity. – Simon Gudgeon
In October 2011, Search for Enlightenment was installed in the City of Westminster at Riverside Walk Gardens, a triangular open space near Tate Britain bordered by Millbank and the Thames. With grassed terraces, mature trees and curving riverside pathway, the gardens provide a restful public area amidst the bustle of Millbank. The smoothed contours and abstracted silhouettes of Gudgeon’s sculpture complement the sweeping curves of the landscaping and the flowing currents of the river.
Henry Moore, whose Locking Piece (1963–1964) is prominently displayed in the gardens, was also a passionate advocate of placing sculpture out of doors within the natural landscape: ‘Sculpture is an art of the open air. Daylight, sunlight, is necessary to it, and for me its best setting and complement is nature. I would rather have a piece of my sculpture put in a landscape, almost any landscape, than in, or on, the most beautiful building I know.’