Antony Gormley



Not on display

Antony Gormley born 1950
Oil paint on paper
Support: 1368 × 1017 mm
frame: 1700 × 1334 × 45 mm
Purchased 1986

Catalogue entry

T04875 Space 1986

Oil and charcoal on wove paper 1366 × 1016 (53 3/4 × 40)
Inscribed ‘Antony Gormley '86’ on back b.r.
Purchased from Victoria Miro Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1986
Exh: Antony Gormley, Victoria Miro Gallery, Feb.–March 1986 (no cat.); Natural Order: Recent European Sculpture from the Tate's Collection, Tate Gallery Liverpool, July 1992–Jan. 1993 (no number, repr. p.7)

‘Space’ is a drawing that may be read figuratively, as an extremely simplified standing figure, or as an abstract, cross-like configuration. The ‘figure’ has an elongated neck, outstretched arms and legs but no head, hands or feet. The central shape is the image that was left by the unpainted area when the ground surrounding it was painted.

The artist told the compiler on 31 August 1990 that he related ‘Space’ to sculptures with similarly exaggerated and elongated features, for example, ‘Tree’, 1984, a lead-covered figure of a standing man with a very elongated neck (repr. Antony Gormley, exh. cat., Städtische Galerie, Regensburg, 1985, p.22 fig.16) and ‘Field’, 1984–5, a similarly constructed standing figure with very long arms (repr. ibid., p.23 fig.17). In conversation with the compiler he observed:

I think the most important thing about the ‘Space’ drawing is this idea that within the body is the idea of axiality, which is very familiar to us in the Christian cross. [In my work] I relate the vertical axis that runs between the brain and the penis, and the axis of perception that is horizontal. The drawing is a kind of objective mapping of this subjective space. The idea of the Christian cross is a conventionalisation of something much more fundamental to human being. And I like the way in that drawing, you are shown the location of the heart: the centre, the point where these things meet; a crack in the darkness. There is a point where we can feel within ourselves the balance between doing and feeling, thinking and being. I think in some way it's a diagram of balance. It's like a yantra [a diagram used in Tantric worship]: an aid to contemplation. ‘Seed’ [T04860, see previous entry] is as well.

The artist has approved this entry.

Published in:
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986-88, London 1996

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