Antony Gormley

Antony Gormley, Professor of Art at The European Graduate School / EGS.

BIOGRAPHY

Antony Gormley (b. 1950) is an internationally acclaimed British sculptor and installation artist. Some of his most notable works include Sound II (1986), Field (1991), Iron: Man (1993), Havmannen (1995), Another Place (1997), Angel of the North (1998), Quantum Cloud (1999), Filter (2002), Event Horizon (2007), and One & Other (2009). He was awarded the Turner Prize in 1994, and was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in 1997. In addition to teaching at The European Graduate School / EGS, he is an Honorary Doctor of the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Trinity and Jesus Colleges, Cambridge.


Born in London to an Irish father and a German mother, Antony Gormley grew up in a large family in Dewsbury Moor, West Yorkshire. After attending Ampleforth College, a Benedictine boarding school in Yorkshire, he studied archaeology, anthropology, and art history at Trinity College, Cambridge (1968–71), and Buddhism in India and Sri Lanka (1971–74). He then returned to London, where he studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Goldsmiths College, and the Slade School of Fine Art at University College London. His first solo exhibition was held in 1981 at the Whitechapel Gallery in London. Antony Gormley's work has been exhibited at such high-profile venues as the Venice Biennale, the Sydney Biennale, Kassel Documenta 8, the Tate Gallery, the Hayward Gallery, Kölnischer Kunstverein, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. His sculptures have been shown, or are currently still on display, in numerous public spaces in the UK, as well as in Norway, Sweden, Italy, and other countries.


Many of Antony Gormley's sculptures are based on his own body as a model. For example, his piece Event Horizon (2007) is composed of thirty-one casts of his body made out of cast iron and fiberglass. These were installed on top of prominent buildings along London's South Bank, and were later installed in locations around New York City's Madison Square in 2010. The work examines urban life in all its contradictions and invites viewers to contemplate their surrounding environment. Gormley explained to the New York Times in 2010: “You could almost say the insertion of the sculpture is like the insertion of acupuncture needles within a collective body. And seeing how the body as a whole reacts to the presence of this irritation is very much the point.”


Intensely engaged with bodily sensation and memory, Antony Gormley's sculptures inhabit a space of possibilities which is disjoined from historical and cultural specificity. Dispensing with the notion of the progression of history and the cultural superiority of the West, his work frees a dynamic, corporeal potentiality coursing within the non-idealized human body. Rather than approaching the human figure classically in the form of a representation, Antony Gormley challenges the viewer by presenting an opening of power through the suspension of moral and spatial coordinates. He calls this opening "the darkness of the body", which is not so much a reference to evil as to a vast potentiality in the apprehension of the body's constitution of space. The material dimension of Antony Gormley's work manifests his concern for the elementary mortality of life and the endless cycle through which matter passes.