Art Friday: Antony Gormley

"Angel of the North" - one of five manquettes (human-size), one was sold in 2008 for 2 million pounds. Photo taken on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin at the Australian National Art Gallery Sculptural Garden.

Artist: Antony Gormley
Born: 1950
British sculptor

The reason for selecting Antony Gormley today was my visit to see the "Angel of the North" (a marquette) at the National Art Gallery of Australia. This is a a smaller version, human size (made at the same time) of the massive sculpture found at Gateshead, the entrance to the North of Britain (see below). 

Gormley was the youngest of 7 children born to a German mother and Irish father. His family were wealthy and he attended Ampleforth College in Yorshire before reading archaeology, anthropology and the history of art at Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1968 to 1971. Gormley's art career began with a solo exhibition in 1981. Almost all of his work takes the human body as its subject, with his own body used in many works as the basis for metal casts.
"Angel of the North" standing at the entrance to Gateshead, UK. It is a steel sculpture standing 20 metres (66ft) tall, with wings measuring 54 metres (177ft) across.  It was built in 1994 and cost 1 million pounds paid for via the British Lottery.

"Field" is an Antony Gormley installation of 35,000 clay figures made by a family of Mexican brick-makers. Gormley asked that the figures be easy to hold in ones hands and that the head and body be in proportion to one another. Approximately sixty members of the extended family (men, women and children) made these small figures, no more than 26 cm in height from about 25 tons of clay. Field resembles a tidal wave of miniature terracotta sleepwalkers, limited only by the walls that contain them.
I know what you are thinking - why - I have no idea???? Gormley won the Turner Prize as a result of this installation but but some people felt it was unfair to win as Gormley didn't make any of these clay figures himself.  I have no idea what happened to the 35,000 lay figures after the exhibition was finished.
"Another Place" series consists of 100 cast-iron figures, each one weighing 650 kilos, spread out along three kilometers of the foreshore and staring out to sea, situated at Crosby, Liverpool, stretching almost one kilometre out to sea. Contractors spent three weeks lifting the figures into place and driving them into the beach on the-metre-high foundation piles. It was only meant to be at Crosby temporarily, however locals convinced the council to let it stay, so now it is a permanently sculpture.

"Vessel 2012" - modernist abstraction
No idea why either!
"Land, Sea and Air" made from lead, plaster and fibre-glass - not an installation that most people can see or enjoy!
"Quantum Cloud" was commissioned for a site next to the Millennium Dome in London. At 30 metres high, it is Gormley's tallest sculpture to date (taller than the Angel of the North). It is constructed from a collection of tetrahedral units made from 1.5 m long sections of steel. The steel sections were arranged using a computer model with a random walk algorithm starting from points on the surface of an enlarged figure based on Gormley's body that forms a residual outline at the centre of the sculpture.
The installation features 100 life-sized cast iron statues of the human body left at exactly 2,039 m above sea-level in the Australian Alps. It is the first art project of its kind erected in the Alps and the largest landscape intervention in Austria to date. The work covers an area of 150 square kilometres in the Land Vorarlberg, Austria.  I am not sure how many go out of their way to visit this art installation. 


  1. Do you like this artwork yourself, Jo?

    I have to say.... What???? I just honestly don't understand and therefore can't really say I can appreciate this kind of art, personally..... :P

  2. I do like Angel of the North but some of the others make no sense. But I do find those sculptures out at sea very interesting.


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