Erect, immobile and alone. What can Antony Gormley’s sculpture be on the lookout for?
The human body
With sand between its toes and both legs firmly planted on the ground, Antony Gormley’s naked human figure in the landscape around ARKEN stands gazing towards the horizon. The sculpture is called Another Time V, a title that speaks of a time and place different from our reality right now. Could it be the past, the present or fiction that the figure scans?
The sculpture is cast in iron from a mould of Gormley’s own body. From a distance it looks highly naturalistic. Close up, you can see that the dark brown colour of the sculpture is broken up by reddish rust, and that the traces of the casting process have not been polished away. A line divides the sculpture into front and back, and it has round raised areas on chest and thighs from the casting. These details reinforce the material character of the sculpture, and disturb the impression of classic sculptural form.
So what is it? There is something mysterious, unresolved and alien about the appearance of the figure. Although it looks like a man, even a quite specific man, there is also something abstract and general about it. As if it might represent a stranger or any human being, man or woman, you or me. Try looking it in the eyes and searching for an answer. With its unbudgeable form and its frozen expression it is at one and the same time human and artificial.
”Each work is a place between form and formlessness, a time between origin and becoming.”
Antony Gormley, 1985
About Antony Gormley
Antony Gormley is famous for his sculptures, installations and projects in public space, but he also creates works on paper. Since the beginning of the 1980s he has exhibited his works in his native Great Britain and in many other places in the world. He works primarily with the relationship between fixed form and the formless as well as human bodies in time and space.
B. 1950 in London, UK, where he lives and works.
Gormley studied archaeology, anthropology and art history at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1968-71 as well as Buddhist meditation in India and Sri Lanka in 1971-74. Then he studied in London at Saint Martin’s School of Art and Goldsmiths, University of London. Finally he concluded his education at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London, in 1979.
Gormley was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize for his work Field in 1994. The work consists of thousands of small human figures crudely formed in clay which Gormley makes in collaboration with local communities. The clay figures are placed in dense formation and like a carpet completely fill out the exhibition space in question.
The large sculptural installation Another Place from 1997 consists of 100 human figures which are now permanently positioned on Crosby Beach in the north west of England.
One of his best known works is the monumental sculpture Angel of the North from 1998 at Gateshead in the north east of England. The angel is 20 metres tall and has a wingspan of 54 metres.
Gormley created One & Other for the prestigious Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in London in 2009. He invited 2400 people to occupy the plinth for one hour each. The event extended over 100 days and drew great media attention.
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