April 11, 2015

Antony Gormley - Inner space everted and spaced out

Sir Antony Mark David Gormley, born in 1950, is a world-renowned British sculptor. Almost all his work takes the human body as its subject, with his own body, "the only part of the material world that he inhabits", used in many of them as the basis for the metal casts. His work attempts to treat the body not as an object but a place.

"The body is a language before language. When made still in sculpture it can be a witness to life and and it can talk about this time now."

"The body is a spaceship and an instrument of extreme subtlety, that communicates whether we recognize its communications consciously or not."

Gormley won the Turner Prize in 1994 with Field for the British Isles but is perhaps best known for his public sculpture Angel of the North and his spectacular transformation of Crosby Beach near Liverpool into "Another Place".

"The place made the piece." -Gormley

Personally I think his works are at their best when they are exhibited together in groups. You know that point where a word, if you endlessly keep repeating it, starts to lose its familiarity and meaning? His sculptures generate that same alienating feeling but for your concept of the human body. What makes it even better is that, while you are repeating your word, Gormley switches out a few letters but so slowly that you don't pick up on it... Ultimately you end up wondering why a block of concrete with holes in it looks so sad. Aftereffects of his show include a free rendition of "They Live" upon exit. ;)

"There's that idea of who we are and what we look like. Your physiognomy belongs to me more than you because I'm looking." -Gormley

It's perhaps not surprising that work exploring the limits at which forms can retain human qualities should bring to mind transhumanism but much of his work purposefully edges toward the futuristic. With names like Natural Selection, Hive, Critical Mass and Quantum Cloud, one could imagine all these shapes being expressions of a singular constantly changing entity.

"Well, bio-cybernetics: we can now be creative interventionists in the construction of transgenic life forms. Morphological transmission is part of my work." - Gormley



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