Artist biography

English sculptor and draughtsman. He studied archaeology, anthropology and art history at Trinity College, Cambridge (1968–71) and Buddhist meditation in India and Sri Lanka (1971–4), experiences that profoundly inform his work. Influenced by the ideals of Indian sculpture as much as by those of modernism, his sculptures use the human form to explore man's existence in and relation to the world. He is primarily known for the lead figures cast from his own body. His belief that the spiritual and physical selves are inseparable is reflected in works such as Land, Sea and Air II (1982). Three figures, crouching, kneeling and standing, were placed on the seashore, embodying the process of Buddhist spiritual awareness. The work also referred to the earthly condition of the body and man's relationship with his surroundings. These concerns are further reflected in Gormley's full use of installation space, with sculptures suspended from ceiling and walls. Many works were made specifically for natural environments, most controversially Angel of the North (h. 20 m, wingspan 54 m; 1998), which towers over the M1 motorway in Gateshead, England. In 1994, he was awarded the Turner Prize for Field, a series of installations made in collaboration with different communities. Thousands of hand-sized clay figures were produced for each version, the shape of each determined by the person making it. Placed in a gallery that could be viewed only from the threshold, their gazes confronted the viewer so that the observer became the subject.

Antony Gormley (exh. cat., Malmö, Ksthall; Liverpool, Tate; Dublin, Irish MOMA, 1993–4)
J. Hutchinson, E. H. Gombrich and L. B. Njatin: Antony Gormley (London, 1995)
Anthony Gormley: Body and Light and other Drawings 1990–1996 (London, 1996)

10 December 2001

Article provided by Grove Art Online