In his contemporary art sculptures, installations, and public artworks, Antony Gormley explores the relation of the human body to space and moments in time.
He is well known for his sculptures that use a cast of his own body as their starting point and for his large-scale, outdoor installations such as Angel of the North and Another Place. In Event Horizon , which has been shown in London, Rotterdam, and New York, Gormley sited 31 body forms atop rooftops, riverbanks, and sidewalks within the dense urban environment.
After attending Saint Martin’s School of Art and Goldsmiths in London from 1974, he completed his studies with a postgraduate course in sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London, between 1977 and 1979. While at the Slade, he met Vicken Parsons, who was to become his assistant and, in 1980, his wife, as well as a successful artist in her own right.
Gormley’s career began with a solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1981. Almost all his work takes the human body as its subject, with his own body used in many works as the basis formetal casts. Gormley describes his work as “an attempt to materialize the place at the other side of appearance where we all live.”
His work attempts to treat the body not as an object but a place and in making works that enclose the space of a particular body to identify a condition common to all human beings. The work is not symbolic but indexical – a trace of a real event of a real body in time.
The 2006 Sydney Biennale featured Gormley’s Asian Field, an installation of 180,000 small clay figurines crafted by 350 Chinese villagers in five days from 100 tons of red clay. The appropriation of others’ works caused minor controversy and some of the figurines were stolen in protest.
Gormley is leaving his distinguished sculptures places around all corners of the earth.
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