antony gormley: another place.

There’s an intrinsic, undeniable draw towards the sea. Maybe it’s the same lunar gravity that moves the tides, maybe it’s because we were all fish a billion years ago, or maybe it’s the lure of knowing that no matter what machines we strap to our backs or submerge ourselves in, it’s simply not a place where our fragile bodies will let us go for very long.

Or maybe, since we’re mostly made of water ourselves, it’s just the natural, molecular pull of little atoms reaching out to find each other again. A genetic memory too quiet for our brains to understand. What if our very bodies miss the sea? Our skins on the shore, our bones in the beach, our body pulls to return into the same water that it was born from.

In British artist and sculptor Antony Gormley’s “Another Place”, he perfectly captures the universal longing human beings feel for the ocean. Not with much crazy metaphor, but by casting his very own body in iron and replicating himself into a little army. 100 statues are moored into the sand along a 3.2 kilometre stretch of the Mersey Estuary on Crosby Beach near Liverpool, England. Each is over 6’2″ tall, weighs 1400 lbs., and was made from more than 17 different casts from Gormley’s own body. Like sentinels, they each stand 250 metres apart from each other. Some are closer to the shore and some are up to 1 kilometre out, but all are standing exactly the same and gazing into one direction: out to sea.

When the tides are fully out, each of the 100 men are completely exposed. But as the tide rolls back in, one by one they’re slowly swallowed up by the water. Like a ceremony, their yearning pulls it towards them. They each stand and wait their turn to be voluntarily enveloped.

Gormley continued to experiment with the use of multiple figures in 2006 with “Time Horizon”. A second set of figures was cast, this time placed into an olive tree grove at the Archaeological Park of Scolacium near Catanzaro, Calabria, Italy. This time they are each facing different directions and stand at different heights in the ground. “Time Horizon” doesn’t exhibit the same fluidity of “Another Place”, but a more ancient feel. The way the ground erodes and shifts amongst these statues is slow and tectonic and much greater than we can hope to see in a moment of standing there. These are movements so slow we can feel them, but will never be able to watch. “Another Place” rides the waves in a day, while “Time Horizon” carries the weight of eons.

To see more from Gormley, check out this video from his latest exhibition in London, “Blind Light”:


  1. ceanna and kia says:

    me and my sister are so amazed on what he done its like the sculpture is real!

  2. More Antony Gormley art work and loads of video clips of his work can be found on his fan site


  1. […] gormley: one & other. 13 03 2009 I’m a massive fan of Antony Gormley, sculptural mastermind and creator of “Another Place”, one of my favourite works of art […]

  2. […] you’re into this, check out the world-renowned outdoor installation of Antony Gormley and Nicola Basic’s amazing Sea […]

  3. […] Là je préviens, ce chapitre-ci est essentiellement une traduction d’un article de Shape+Colour. […]

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