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Antony Gormley

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Title: Antony Gormley  
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Antony Gormley

Antony Gormley
Born Antony Mark David Gormley[1]
(1950-08-30) 30 August 1950 [1]
London, England[1]
Education Trinity College, University of Cambridge, Saint Martin's School of Art, Goldsmiths
Known for Sculpture

Sir Antony Mark David Gormley, OBE (born 30 August 1950) is a British sculptor. His best known works include the Angel of the North, a public sculpture in Gateshead in the North of England, commissioned in 1994 and erected in February 1998, Another Place on Crosby Beach near Liverpool, and Event Horizon, a multi-part site installation which premiered in London in 2007, around Madison Square in New York City, in 2010 and in São Paulo, in 2012.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Recognition 3
  • Art market 4
  • Major works 5
  • See Also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life

The youngest of seven children born to a German mother and an Irish father,[1] Gormley grew up in a Roman Catholic[2] family living in Hampstead Garden Suburb.[1] He attended Ampleforth College a Benedictine boarding school in Yorkshire,[1] before reading archaeology, anthropology and the history of art at Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1968 to 1971.[1] He travelled to India and Sri Lanka to learn more about Buddhism between 1971 and 1974.[1] 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.


Pair of figures separated by plate glass, Regent's Place, London

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 for metal casts.

Gormley describes his work as "an attempt to materialise the place at the other side of appearance where we all live."[3] Many of his works are based on moulds taken from his own body, or "the closest experience of matter that I will ever have and the only part of the material world that I live inside."[3] 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.[4] The appropriation of others' works caused minor controversy and some of the figurines were stolen in protest. Also in 2006, the burning of Gormley's 25-metre high The Waste Man formed the zenith of the Margate Exodus.

In 2007, Gormley's Event Horizon, consisting of 31 life-size and anatomically correct casts of his body, four in cast iron and 27 in fiberglass, was installed on top of prominent buildings along London's South Bank, and installed in locations around New York City's Madison Square in 2010. Gormley said of the New York site that "Within the condensed environment of Manhattan's topography, the level of tension between the palpable, the perceivable and the imaginable is heightened because of the density and scale of the buildings" and that in this context, the project should "activate the skyline in order to encourage people to look around. In this process of looking and finding, or looking and seeking, one perhaps re-assess one's own position in the world and becomes aware of one's status of embedment."[5] Critic Howard Halle said that "Using distance and attendant shifts of scale within the very fabric of the city, [Event Horizon] creates a metaphor for urban life and all the contradictory associations – alienation, ambition, anonymity, fame – it entails."[5]

In July 2009, Gormley presented One & Other, a Fourth Plinth commission, an invitation for members of the public, chosen by lot, to spend one hour on the vacant plinth in Trafalgar Square in London.[6] This "living art" happening initially attracted much media attention. It even became a topic of discussion on the long-running BBC radio drama series The Archers, where Gormley made an appearance as himself.[7]

In March 2014 Gormley appeared in the BBC Four series What Do Artists Do All Day? in an episode which followed him and his team in their Kings Cross studio, preparing a new work – a group of 60 enormous steel figures – called Expansion Field. The work was shown at the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern.[8][9]

In May 2015 five life-sized sculptures, Land, were placed near the centre and at four compass points of the UK in a commission by the Landmark Trust to celebrate its 50th anniversary. They are at Lowsonford (Warwickshire), Lundy (Bristol Channel), Saddell Bay (Scotland), the Martello Tower (Aldeburgh, Suffolk), and Clavell Tower (Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset).[10][11] The Dorset sculpture was knocked over into Kimmeridge Bay by a storm in September 2015.[12]

In September 2015, Gormley had his first sculpture installed in New Zealand. Stay are identical cast iron human form sculptures, with the first installed in the Avon River in Christchurch's central city, and the other sculpture to be installed in the nearby Arts Centre in early 2016.[13]


Gormley won the Turner Prize in 1994 with Field for the British Isles. He was quoted as saying that he was "embarrassed and guilty to have won...In the moment of winning there is a sense the others have been diminished. I know artists who've been seriously knocked off their perches through disappointment."[14]

Gormley has been a Royal Academician since 2003, and was a Trustee of the British Museum from 2007-2015. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Institute of British Architects, honorary doctor of the universities of Teesside, Liverpool, University College London, and Cambridge, and a fellow of Trinity and Jesus Colleges, Cambridge. In October 2010, he and 100 other leading artists signed an open letter to the Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt protesting against cutbacks in the arts.[15]

On 13 March 2011, Gormley was awarded the Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance for the set design for Babel (Words) at Sadler's Wells in collaboration with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet.[16] He was the recipient of the Obayashi Prize in 2012 and is the 2013 Praemium Imperiale laureate for sculpture. Gormley was knighted in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to the arts.[17]

Art market

Gormley's auction record is £3,401,250 for a maquette of the Angel of the North, set at Christie's, London, on 14 October 2011.[18]

Major works

External video
Antony Gormley – The Art Fund on YouTube, ArtFund UK

Gormley's website includes images of nearly all of his works up to 2012. The most notable include:

See Also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Wroe, Nicholas; "Leader of the pack", 25 June 2005 (Retrieved: 6 August 2009)
  2. ^ "Interview with Antony Gormley". Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Antony Gormley: Making Space, Beeban Kidron documentary, 2007, shown on Channel 4 UK, November 2009;
  4. ^ "Asian Field Tour 2003–2004". Antony Gormley. 
  5. ^ a b Event Horizon: Mad. Sq. Art.: Antony Gormley Madison Square installation guide
  6. ^ a b — official website"One & Other" (Retrieved: 6 August 2009)
  7. ^ Nikkhah, Roya; "Antony Gormley to star in The Archers", 28 June 2009 (Retrieved: 6 August 2009)
  8. ^ "Four – Watch Live". BBC. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  9. ^ 25 Mar 2014 (2009-06-26). "Today's TV highlights". Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  10. ^ "Land – An art installation for all to mark Landmark’s 50th year". Landmark Trust. Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  11. ^ "Sir Antony Gormley sculptures placed at five UK beauty spots". BBC. Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  12. ^ "Sir Antony Gormley Kimmeridge Bay statue topples into sea". BBC. Retrieved 22 September 2015. 
  13. ^ a b Campbell, Georgina (30 September 2015). "First Gormley statue put in place".  
  14. ^ Higgins, Charlotte; "Antony Gormley, Turner prize winner 1994", 8 September 2007 (Retrieved: 6 August 2009)
  15. ^ Peter Walker, "Turner Prize winners lead protest against arts cutbacks," The Guardian, 1 October 2010.
  16. ^ "Outstanding Achievement in Dance" on the Olivier Awards website
  17. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60728. p. 1. 31 December 2013.
  18. ^ Gormley maquette sets artist's auction record
  19. ^ "Another Place" on Antony Gormley's official website
  20. ^ Karlsen, Gar. "Broken Column"
  21. ^ Preece, R. J. (2003). at British Library, London"Planets"Antony Gormley: , Sculpture (magazine) / artdesigncafe. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  22. ^ Time Horizon, Archaeological Park of Scolacium
  23. ^ Higgins, Hannah B. The Grid Book Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2009. pp.273-74 ISBN 978-0-262-51240-4
  24. ^ "Antony Gormley – Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac". Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  25. ^ "The British Library unveils new Antony Gormley sculpture to commemorate English PEN's 90th anniversary". 13 December 2011. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Antony Gormley on Artcyclopedia
  • Gormley's exhibition in Guernsey for the International Artist In Residence Programme IAIRP
  • Pictures of Gormley's sculpture in Oxford being erected on 15 February 2009
  • An interview with Gormley by Edward Lucie Smith in RealMedia format
  • Interactive video interview with Gormley and interactive exploration of his work at the Tate Gallery
  • Antony Gormley audio: The artist considers his art and his research into the Wellcome collections
  • Antony Gormley at Xavier Hufkens, Brussels
  • Tate: In the Studio: Antony Gormley A tour of the artist's studio. 1 September 2007
  • Studio Visit: Antony Gormley. London, 4 November 2011
  • Gormley's artwork Mothership with Standing Matter in Lillehammer, Norway
  • White Cube
  • Antony Gormley. A tour around his studio Video by Louisiana Channel
  • Antony Gormley at TED
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