Anthony Gormley

Antony Mark David Gormley OBE RA (born 30 August 1950) is an English sculptor. His best known works include the Angel of the North, a public sculpture in the North of England, commissioned in 1995 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, and in 2010 around Madison Square in New York City.
When he was younger he was the youngest of seven children born to a German mother and an Irish father, Gormley grew up in a wealthy family living in Dewsbury Moor, West Yorkshire. He attended Ampleforth College, a Benedictine boarding school in Yorkshire, before reading archaeology, anthropology and the history of art at Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1968 to 1971. He travelled to India and Sri Lanka to learn more about Buddhism between 1971 and 1974. Attending at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and Goldsmiths in London from 1974, he completed his studies with a postgraduate course in sculpture at the Slade School of Art, University College London, between 1977 and 1979.
Gormleys career was given early support by Nicholas Serota who had been a near contemporary of Gormleys at Cambridge giving him a solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1981. Almost all of his work takes the human body as its subject, with his own body used in many works as the basis formetal casts.
Gormley describes his work as “an attempt to materialise the place at the other side of appearance where we all live.”] 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.” 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.
Gormley won the Turner Prize in 1994 with Field for the British Isles. He was later quoted as saying that he was “embarrassed and guilty to have won ??” its like being a Holocaust survivor. In the moment of winning there is a sense the others have been diminished. I know artists whove been seriously knocked off their perches through disappointment.”
The 2006 Sydney Biennale featured Gormleys Asian Field, an installation of 180,000 small clay figurines crafted by 350 Chinese villagers in five days from 100 tons of red clay. The appropriation of others works caused minor controversy, with some of the figurines being stolen in protest. Also in 2006, the burning of Gormleys 25-metre high The Waste Man formed the zenith of the Margate Exodus.
In 2007, Gormleys 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 Londons South Bank, and was later installed in locations around New York Citys Madison Square in 2010. Gormley said of the New York site that “Within the condensed environment of Manhattans 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 ones own position in the world and becomes aware of ones status of embedment.” Critic Howard Halle said of it 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.”
Gormley proposed a 40-foot-high ejaculating man for the Seattle waterfront in 2008. The figure was meant to give an 11-second ejaculation of sea water every five minutes. “I intended it as an ironic comment on the male figure in relation to the whole idea of a fountain, because everyone knows the fountain is a male fantasy of permanent ejaculation.” The project was deemed inappropriate and was rejected.
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, London. 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, with Gormley set to make an appearance as himself.
Gormley was a trustee of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art until 2007 and, since April 2007, of the British Museum. He is also an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and patron of the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary, administered by disability led arts organisation Shape. 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.