British sculptor Antony Gormley is one of today’s most celebrated living artists. For more than four decades, his sculptures, drawings and public installations have interrogated the relationship between the human body and the space it inhabits.
Gormley was born in London in 1950. After graduating from Trinity College, Cambridge, he studied at Central Saint Martins, Goldsmiths College and the Slade School of Fine Art. During the 1980s he began to experiment with body casting: a process that would become central to his practice.
Among his early triumphs was A Case for an Angel I (1989), made from a lead sheet hand-beaten around a plaster cast of his own form. Anticipating Gormley’s iconic Angel of the North (1998), the work achieved a world record auction price for the artist when it sold at Christie’s for £5,296,250 in 2017.
Gormley rose to international acclaim with his Field series during the early 1990s. Created in multiple versions across the globe, these works consist of thousands of terracotta figures staring up at the viewer from the floor. Field for the British Isles (1993), made in Liverpool, won Gormley the Turner Prize in 1994.
The following decade, Liverpool would become the site of his landmark permanent installation Another Place on Crosby Beach, just south of Formby. Nicknamed the ‘iron men’, the work consists of 100 cast iron figures facing out to sea. Gormley would reprise the series under the title Another Time, forging an identical set of sculptures that were dispersed across sites around the world. Among these iterations is the solitary figure installed on Fulsam Rock in Margate in 2017, which only becomes visible three hours before low tide.
Working from his studio in King’s Cross, Gormley probes the way in which the body interacts with its environment. Major series — including Blockworks, Polyhedra and Feeling Material — use principles drawn from architecture, nature and geometry. At once alien and deeply familiar, Gormley’s sculptures invite the viewer to reflect upon their own bodily presence. Some — including his installation Cave, which featured in his major exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in 2019 — demand physical participation from the public.
From the façade of Wells Cathedral to salt plains in Australia, Gormley's sculptures continue to populate sites across the globe, each impelling us to think about our place in the world.