Signed by Antony Gormley,
this MINT poster is an image of the
artist's iconic 2003 installation DOMAIN FIELD at BALTIC which comprised 287
sculptures made of measurements from volunteers living in Newcastle and
Gateshead. Installed in BALTIC’s level 4 gallery the moulds were used to
construct the individual ‘Domain’ sculptures by a process of welding steel
elements together inside each mould.
finished work was a sparkling myriad of stainless steel trajectories, giving
the impression of a vast energy field made up of clusters, each defining the
particular presence of a living inhabitant of Gateshead and Newcastle.
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 metalcasts.
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 quoted
as saying that he was "embarrassed and guilty to have won – it's like
being a Holocaust survivor. 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."
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. 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." 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
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. 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 has been a Royal Academician
since 2003 and a Trustee of the British Museum since 2007. He is an
Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, honorary doctor
of the universities of Teesside 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.
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