Shift II, 2000, cast iron, 204 x 54 x 25 cm
Antony Gormley »New Works«
Berlin, January 20, 2001 - March 15, 2001
Antony Gormley's endeavour has been to make sculptures from within, placing his own body at the centre and having sculpture grow around it. Working in heavy material such as lead, cast iron and concrete, these down-to-earth materials are paired with the ever-present material of air, as necessary for the density of a sculpture as breathing is for man. In the last years Antony Gormley has worked with a series of sculptures called Quantum Clouds and Domains, leaving concerns with mass and solidity for the suggested and the immaterial that paradoxically still evokes an absolute presence. In Quantum Cloud XXXIII, 2000, a standing figure materialises from the cloud of metal bars as if being created within an energy field or is it breaking up and its matter being returned? Antony Gormleys sculptures can be seen as places, topoi, evoking a deeply existential experience. But what is a place in the quantum world a world that often seem out of reach both intellectually and physically, but still intriguing, bordering on the sublime? An earlier sculpture, Passage, 1993, is a low slab of concrete that hardly gives away its secret until the foot sole shaped holes in one end is found to give entrance to a winding cave travelling through the block. Inside is space for a body, an imprint reminiscent of the casts made in Pompeii of the victims of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, a death mask in full figure but also a channelled vessel through which air and time can flow. In a recent work, Domain XVI, 2000, this hollowness sets the perimeter for the open stucture of metal bars which form the work. Again, the artist seems to turn his attention towards the energy inside the human body and to the unseen behind the skin. Iron constitutes a large part of the core of the planet earth. Without iron, it would not have the particular qualities that life requires. Antony Gormley, who seems to search for the basics of being, uses cast iron for some of his dense pod-like sculptures giving them gravity, concentration and a bond to the core of the earth that no other material would.
Antony Gormley was born in London, 1950. In 1968-1973 he studied Archaeology, Anthropology and the History of Art at Trinity College, Cambridge. After extensive travels primarily to the near and middle east, and to India where he studied Vipassana meditation together with S.N. Goenka, he returned to England in order to take up studies in sculpture at Goldsmiths College in London. In 1979 he completed his post-graduate studies in sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Arts. His characteristic body-work sculpture that he developed together with his wife, the painter Vicken Parsons, brought him to the forefront of a generation of celebrated British artists who emerged during the 1980s.
He has exhibited works around the world and has major public works on display in the USA, Japan, Australia, Norway, Britain and Ireland. In 1997 he made a large-scale installation, Another Place, in Cuxhaven as part of "Follow Me: British Art on the Lower Elbe", a group show curated by Eckhart Schneider. The installation has also been seen in Stavanger, Norway. In the same year he also made the installation Total Strangers at the Cologne Kunstverein. In 1994 he won the prestigious Turner Prize. He has shown several times at Galerie Nordenhake in Stockholm since 1991.
Quantum Cloud XXXIII, 200, stainless steel bar, 6 x 6 mm, 326 x 153 x 147 cm
Well, 2000, cast iron, 190 x 29 x 46 cm