Antony Gormley: Body as Place

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I have to admit that I had never heard of British sculptor Antony Gormley, nor had I seen any of his sculptures, until last year’s wonderful show here on the buildings around Madison Square Park in NYC called Event Horizon. It was one of those New York City events that, once let in on, you wanted to share with everyone. 31 life-size sculptures of the artist cast in iron and fiberglass were positioned on the rooftops – and a few on the sidewalks – of New York’s Flatiron District. At first glance they looked like men contemplating jumping off buildings such as MetLife or the Flatiron, but upon closer inspection it became clear that they were sculptures. Then a Where’s Waldo quality would kick in and the hunt to locate all 31 of them would begin. I don’t think I ever quite spotted them all.

All this introduction is to say that I have since been very aware of Gormley’s work and am so happy to have been exposed to it finally. I can’t get enough of it. Every sculpture, in every form surprises and delights me. In all the different materials, styles, and installations.

Above are a sampling of Gormley’s body sculptures, as well as some images from his installation series Breathing Room where lights go on in a sudden, almost blinding, interrogation style in 10-minute intervals.

There is much more to see on Gormley’s site, and here is a 50-minute video of a lecture he gave in Chicago a few months back where he explains much of the thinking behind his work, including seeing the body as a place not an object, and as the subjective and universal condition of human existence.

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