Antony Gormley is a British sculptor born in 1950. He studied archaeology, anthropology and the history of art and then he made a postgraduate course in sculpture. He is internationally well-known and he has been made an Officer of the British Empire.
The central subject of his art is the human body and his work’s aim is to make sculptures which enclose a particular body to identify a common condition to all human beings. That is why he uses his own experiences of life which he transforms into a test ground to realize a collective projection.
One of his most famous works is Event Horizon (2007). It is a public sculpture consisting of 31 reproductions of Gormley’s body. These statues were first placed on top of buildings in London before moving to New-York City in 2010. There, the 27 fiberglass figures have been placed on top of building and the four cast irons on the ground in Madison Square Park.
This work’s aim is that people looking at it transfer their physical experience of the sculpture on the ground into the one you can see on the horizon, which is unreachable.
Furthermore, those bodies are a metaphor meant to get viewers thinking about the urban life and all its associations such as alienation, ambition, anonymity and fame. It has also the ambition to encourage people to look around them by re-assessing their own position in the world.
The second sculpture is called Angel of the North. It is made out of steel, the construction began in 1994 and was finished in 1998. It represents an angel, 20 metres tall with 54 metres wingspan, standing on a hill in England.
Gormley realized an angel because it has, according to him, three functions. Firstly, a historic one to remind people this site was before a mine where people lived in poor conditions. Secondly, it expresses the human transition from the industrial to the information age. Finally, the angel represents our hopes and fears.
This sculpture is one of the most viewed pieces of art in the world, seen by more than one person every second because of its position near a main motorway and last but not least, it is presumed to last for more than 100 years.
Séverine Alaime and Sarah Vercauteren