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Dec 11, 2008

Antony Gormley’s radical sculptures of bodies explore the relationships that define and connect us.

By FLYP Staff

For the past 30 years, British sculptor Antony Gormley has revitalized the human image through an investigation of the body as a place of memory and transformation, often using his own body as a model and a tool.
In the 1990s, his exploration of the individual body expanded, as he began wrestling with the human condition to address a “collective body” and the fundamental relationship between self and others.
Gormley’s work has been exhibited extensively from the Tate and British Museums in London to the Museums of Modern Art in both New York City and San Francisco. His current exhibition at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Monterrey, Mexico is his largest to date. 
His list of awards is just as impressive. In 1994, he was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize, an annual award given to a British visual artist the under age of 50. That coveted accolade was followed in 1997 by an Order of the British Empire (OBE) and the South Bank Prize for Visual Art in 1999.

Check out FLYP Media’s interactive portrait of the artist, complete with images of his sculptures.

The work of British sculptor Antony Gormley inspires viewers to reflect on human bodies and their impact on physical space, and how this relationship influences our shared experiences—both mundane and extraordinary—with those around us.

Early Life and Education
The youngest of six children, Antony Gormley was born in 1950 and spent his formative years in Kent in the southeast of England.
After completing a degree in anthropology, archaeology and art history at Trinity College in the University of Cambridge in 1971, he spent three years abroad studying Buddhism in India and Sri Lanka.
Upon his return to London, Gormley attended the Central School of Art and Goldsmiths College before completing his post-graduate work in sculpture at the Slade School of Art in London.

Important Exhibits

Considered by many to be the premier British sculptor of the last three decades, Gormley has created a number of public works, including The Angel of the North, a soaring winged man that presides over the city of Gateshead in the north of England.
He also has exhibited work in international events like the Venice Biennale and Documenta 8, an important annual contemporary art exhibit held in Cassel, Germany.
In addition, the list of influential galleries that have exhibited Gormley’s sculptures and installations spans both the United Kingdom and Europe, from the the Whitechapel Art Gallery and the Tate Gallery in St. Ives in England to the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin and the Kölnischer Kunstverein in Köln, Germany.
Today, Gormley’s work is hailed worldwide and has been featured in exhibits throughout Asia and North America.

Acknowledgments
In 1994, Gormley was awarded the Turner Prize, an annual award presented to a top British visual artist under the age of 50.
His reputation was boosted even further three years later when he was awarded the Order of the British Empire, which is in appreciation for those who have made a significant contribution to the United Kingdom.
In 2007, he was granted the Bernhard Heiliger Award for Sculpture, given every four years by the German foundation. Moreover, the artist is an honorary member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and since 2003 has been a member of the Royal Academy of Arts.
 
Works
Gormley’s sculptures follow what he calls the “line of being,” which involves using his body as a theme, tool and material to explore the human experience.
In his work, Gormley focuses on giving a new meaning to the body by examining its relationship with its surrounding space. But these are not just human figures on display; he has gone as far as to declare that he isn’t interested in making statues.
Instead, the artist is more concerned with making the space around the body, not just the figure itself, paramount in the viewer’s gaze. In this way, instead of separating the from their environments, they become a distillation of it.
This focus on the body has shifted of late, as Gormley has begun to explore bodies en masse along with the relationships between individuals within a collective.

Techniques

In his earliest work, Gormley used such unusual materials as bread, rice, rubber and lead to construct his works. In the process, he transformed and connected materials that exist in the natural world with elements that only appear in the world of human imagination and emotion.
Like many artists currently working, Gormley was influenced by the Cold War, and his work reflects a preoccupation with nuclear warfare and the notion that we have to protect ourselves in order to survive. By juxtaposing bread and lead (an essential material for bullets), he addressed the masses of people whose focus had been reduced to food, shelter and personal defense in their struggle to simply survive.
Strongly influenced by renowned sculptor Joseph Beuys, Gormley adopted his love of using a wide variety of materials—including terracotta, fiberglass, hollow iron, aluminum and stainless steel—and combining them with different techniques like carbon drawing and lithograph.

Behind the Art: Watch video interviews with Gormley one everything from the body to Buddhism, and another with gallery owner Sean Kelly.

Take FLYP Media’s innovative interactive, audio-visual gallery tour, which takes you through each room of his latest exhibition at MARCO in Monterrey, Mexico.

Explore most of Gormley’s main exhibitions, installations and sculptures in FLYP Media’s interactive slideshow.


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