We cooperate as an association to advance the practice of sculpture and the reputation and appreciation of sculpture and sculptors in the community. This is regardless of whether or not we make a living from sculpture and regardless of our preferred style or medium. To this end we support artists’ moral rights, we advocate a professional attitude to the production and presentation of work and encourage the artistic and intellectual stimulation of interaction amongst artists of all persuasions.

Antony Gormley

A crow’s call evaporates in the heat, a shimmering horizon beckons you forward, the white sands of the salt lake crisp under your feet. There in the distance, a form, human but other-worldly, - a dissolved figure, somehow touching a sense of humanity in this land of alienation.  This is number twenty-six, there are another twenty-five to see spread over the ten square kilometers of the white sands of Lake Ballard in Western Australia.  Welcome to the world of British sculptor Antony Gormley.


When you listen to Antony talk you quickly realize he’s not interested in the commission for his next work. He exudes monk-like qualities, serious, introspective and spiritual. He’s a  deep thinker - curious and intellectual, creating a sense of intensity and gravity as he speaks about his works. You don’t imagine him appearing on a talk show exchanging banter...but rather chanting in a Benedictine Abbey. His works focus on the human form extending into the ethereal through the use of landscape, scale and abstraction. Often placed in the environment rather than galleries, they speak of community, humanity, and society - of our shared human experience.

“I would say that the whole way that I have approached the body is as a space, not a thing - not an object to be improved, idealized or whatever, but simply to be dwelt in”. AG

Antony was born 30 August, 1950 to a German mother and a father of Irish descent. The youngest of seven children, he was raised Catholic, attending a Benedictine boarding school in Yorkshire. He then studied archaeology, anthropology and the history of art at Trinity College, Cambridge. After attending Saint Martin's School of Art and Goldsmiths in London from 1974, he completed his studies with a postgraduate course in sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London in 1979.
Inside Australia 
Antony accepted an invitation to participate in the 50th anniversary of the Perth international arts festival in 2003. As a context for his work, he wanted somewhere with an absolutely flat, more or less 360 degree horizon and chose the west of Lake Ballard. The white sands make everything stand out clearly. He invited locals to participate in the project - they had to strip off and have their bodies scanned. The scans were then morphed using an algorithm to create abstract human forms. These were then cast in steel and placed in the lake. A local indigenous woman commented after seeing the work, “this is us”.
Images of Inside Australia can be seen in this link - https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHBF_en-GBAU791AU791&sxsrf=ALeKk00EFR6H0Gu9c_mTHyvk4BxP05w8vA:1592687478206&source=univ&tbm=isch&q=lake+ballard+sculptures&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwipq4Gbp5HqAhUY4zgGHWq3DMQQsAR6BAgFEAE&biw=1366&bih=608

“I have to say that I reject somewhat the distinction between something called art and something called public art. I think all art demands and desires to be seen”. AG

Angel of the North

By Picnicin - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46821518

Angel of the North stands 20 metres high and has a wingspan of 54 metres. Like much of his work it is based on a cast of Antony’s body. According to Antony, the significance of an angel was  firstly, to signify that beneath the site of its construction, coal miners worked for two centuries; secondly, to grasp the transition from an industrial to an information age; and thirdly, to serve as a focus for our evolving hopes and fears. 
“I think critics are very useful. But I think that they, in a way, betray their position when they stop people looking for themselves”. AG

Blind Light

This is perhaps a more radical and experiential work that uses light and water vapour as materials. A shed-sized perspex box is filled with water vapour and very bright light - as you enter you disappear - both to yourselves and others. If you hold your hand out in front of you, you can't see it, if you look down at your feet you can't see them. According to Antony, 
“you have become consciousness without an object - freed from the dimensionful and measured way in which life links us to the obligatory”.  
You can see people experiencing Blind Light here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIYGsdBiws0
There are multitudes of Antony’s works to explore and reflect upon. The links below are well worth a look. Some may find Antony’s approach to his work too intense or intellectual, he does however present us with a different way of thinking about ourselves, the world we inhabit and our work as sculptors. For this I commend him to you. Perhaps the best way to leave this article is with the words of Antony himself - 
By Oosoom at English Wikipedia -
Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, 
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41444568
“For me art is not about objects of high monetary exchange. It’s about re-asserting our first-hand experience in present time. As John Cage said, we are not moving toward some kind of goal, we are at the goal and it is changing with us. If art has any purpose it is to open our eyes to that fact”.
A TED Talk by Antony talking about why he became a sculptor (well worth a look!)


Antony and others talking about his works and inspirations
Antony’s website
Information on Inside Australia - Lake Ballard
Land at Losonford, 2015


Thank you to Michael Adeney for this article 

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