LE MUSEE A L'HEURE ANGLAISE
Creator of innumerable humanoids and an angel so monumen¬tal it has transformed the landscape of Gateshead, for the past thirty years Antony Gormley has been using his own body as a template. Casting it in clay, lead and bronze, the result is a collection of mute, self-contained figures with an unnerving presence. Having studied anthropology at Cambridge then Buddhism in India, Gormley’s chief concern is with the human psyche, and its relationship with the outside world. His sculptures are invariably situated in public places, watching humanity’s struggle with a cold, totemic indifference. It is for this reason he is often described as a public artist, yet he rejects the distinction between ‘art’ and ‘public art’, arguing that all art ‘desires and demands to be seen’.
Out of this World is an early clay and lead sculpture. Gormley has discussed how unpleasant it can be to work with lead – a nasty, noxious substance. Yet his appreciation of this metal is partly autobiographical. Born in 1950, Gormley grew up during the precarious political climate of the Cold War. From the 1960s to the early 1980s there was a perva¬sive belief that the world would end in a nuclear holocaust. Many of Gormley’s early sculptures were informed by this conviction, and his choice of lead was inspired by the material’s ability to insulate against radiation. Out of this World consists of a clay figure crouching on top of a large head made from lead. The head is hollowed out, like a shelter, and Gormley has indicated that this could be a protective case for the figure above. The grid across the face could also represent the lines on a globe, suggesting that this is an existential experience in which the seated figure is cowed by the vast, untrammelled cosmos in which it is suspended. The head is also reminiscent of Constantin Brancusi’s Sleeping Muse (1909–10), an icon of Modernism and one of the compo¬nents of a group of sculptures that culminated in a simple ovoid called The Beginning of the World (1920). Gormley’s version could be inter¬preted as its apocalyptic opposite.
. Gormley in interview with John Tusa for BBC Radio 3. www.bbc.co.uk/ radio3/johntusainterview/gormley_ transcript.shtml accessed February 2009.
2. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC.
3. Dallas Museum of Art.
- Accession Number P4961
- Dimensions 130 X 120 X 90 CM
- Media LEAD, FIBREGLASS AND CLAY
A metal alloy made from copper with up to two-thirds tin, often with other small amounts of other metals. Commonly used in casting. A work cast in bronze is sometimes referred to as 'a bronze'.
Landscape is one of the principle genres of Western art. In early paintings the landscape was a backdrop for the composition, but in the late 17th Century the appreciation of nature for its own sake began with the French and Dutch painters (from whom the term derived). Their treatment of the landscape differed: the French tried to evoke the classical landscape of ancient Greece and Rome in a highly stylised and artificial manner; the Dutch tried to paint the surrounding fields, woods and plains in a more realistic way. As a genre, landscape grew increasing popular, and by the 19th Century had moved away from a classical rendition to a more realistic view of the natural world. Two of the greatest British landscape artists of that time were John Constable and JMW Turner, whose works can be seen in the Tate collection (www.tate.org.uk). There can be no doubt that the evolution of landscape painting played a decisive role in the development of Modernism, culminating in the work of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists . Since then its demise has often been predicted and with the rise of abstraction, landscape painting was thought to have degenerated into an amateur pursuit. However, landscape persisted in some form into high abstraction, and has been a recurrent a theme in most of the significant tendencies of the 20th Century. Now manifest in many media, landscape no longer addresses solely the depiction of topography, but encompasses issues of social, environmental and political concern.
Metal is a medium frequently used by artists to make art works - from sculpture to printmaking. Surfaces can display an array of colours and textures, and are capable of being polished to a high gloss; metal can be melted, cast, or fused, hammered into thin sheets, or drawn into wire.
A three-dimensional work of art. Such works may be carved, modelled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, relief, and made in a huge variety of media. Contemporary practice also includes live elements, as in Gilbert & George 'Living Sculpture' as well as broadcast work, radio or sound sculpture.
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DE LA MOORE LA HIRST 60 DE ANI DE SCULPTURA BRITANICA (FROM MOORE TO HIRST: SIXTY YEARS OF BRITISH SCULPTURE)
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