Anthony Gormley

[An art posting. Warning for the modest: a cast-iron penis will eventually appear, though in a Serious Work of Art in a public place in the UK.]

On a recent postcard, from Chris Ambidge, an image of a Gormley outdoor sculpture in the surf by Liverpool. A more panoramic view than the one on the card:


From Wikipedia:

Another Place is a piece of modern [outdoor] sculpture by Antony Gormley. It consists of [one hundred] cast iron sculptures of the artist’s own body, facing towards the sea.

After being displayed at several locations in Europe, it has become permanently erected at Crosby Beach in northwestern England [north of Liverpool]. The work was controversial in the local area due to issues such as possible economic gain or environmental damage from tourism. A meeting on 7 March 2007 by Sefton Council accepted proposals that would allow the sculptures to be kept permanently at Crosby Beach in place of being moved to New York.

The work consists of cast iron figures which face out to sea, spread over a 2 mile (3.2 km) stretch of the beach between Waterloo and Blundellsands. Each figure is 189 cm tall (nearly 6 feet 2½ inches) and weighs around 650 kg (over 1400 lb).

In common with most of Gormley’s work, the figures are cast replicas of his own body. As the tides ebb and flow, the figures are revealed and submerged by the sea. [And eventually they’ll be copnquered by the sea.]

Another Place is a subject of local controversy in Merseyside. Some consider the statues to be “pornographic” due to the inclusion of a simplified penis on the statues, whilst others see them as beautiful pieces of art which have brought increased tourism revenue to the local area.

There have been other installations in other places.  Here’s the first of a set in Edinburgh, in the greenery of the Water of Leith (installed June 2010):


(There’s the promised penis.)

I’ve seen this work only in photographs, not in real life. Despite the fact that the physical context in which the statues are set is crucial to their effect, I still find the statues strangely moving.

One Response to “Anthony Gormley”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    Reactions on Facebook:

    Chris Hansen: When these were originally shown, they were scattered around London. I met the iron Mr. Gormley on Waterloo Bridge, cast-iron penis and all.

    Michael Palmer: I know prosthetics are made of all sorts of unusual materials, but cast iron for a penis?

    Well, it’s certainly sturdy.

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