Wednesday 1 August 2007


Antony Gormley is, in my humble opinion, a national treasure: a contemporary artist whose work manages to be deeply thought provoking and yet remain widely accessible and unashamedly “popular”.

Unlike some modern artists, Gormley isn’t afraid to explain what he was attempting to “say” in a work and yet always leaves space between the words and air between the thoughts for the viewer to join in the dialogue…

He is renowned, of course, for his sculpture Angel of the North (above, photographed by John Howells): that great iron aeronaut, ready to embark on a flight of fancy over Gateshead; Field, a densely packed tribe of 3,500 terracotta beings observing the observer; and Another Place, 100 cast-iron sentinels currently standing on a two-mile long stretch of Crosby Beach, near Liverpool, staring resolutely out to sea unmoved by the rise and fall of the tide…

Gormley is an artist who focuses on the human body both as an object and as a place - or space - in which human thoughts and emotions reside.

His current exhibition, Blind Light (until 19 August), at The Hayward at London’s Southbank Centre contains a stimulating collection of works old and new.

Antony Gormley’s figures sometimes take the form of solid metal sarcophagi, sometimes they are simply a human-shaped void within concrete blocks - resembling both a crowd and building complex - or within highly-strung, wire-webs of suspended geometrical structures.

In the first of two photo-essays, I celebrate one of the new works created by Gormley for this exhibition, Event Horizon: a vista of 31 figures poised like watchmen - or potential suicides - on the tops of buildings and the edges of roofs around the Hayward Gallery, silhouetted against the London skyline, their blind gaze centred on those who look back at them from the gallery terraces…

Click on images to enlarge

[Images © Brian Sibley, 2007]

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