Gormley Men

Last weekend a farewell party was held in the small Warwickshire village of Lowsonford to say goodbye to one of its famous residents.

 

Whilst only in residence for a year he had received many visits from art lovers and canal boaters.DSCF7647

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Tea and cakes laid on for the farewell party!

The “resident” in question was a life size sculpture cast in iron by Antony Gormley, one of five that had been installed by the Landmark Trust at their sites across the UK to celebrate 50 years of the Trust.

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“Land”…Antony Gormley and The Landmark Trust

Unfortunately I only had the opportunity to visit this site and one other in Suffolk… the other sculptures being sited further afield in Dorset, on Lundy Island and the Mull of Kintyre.

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The Gormley man standing by to ensure a safe passage through the lock!

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Standing sentinel by the barrel-roofed Lengthsman’s Cottage built in 1812 on the South Stratford Canal

I have visited several times over the past year and this week decided to go and see if he had departed.

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Removal work in progress

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Wrapped up like an escapologist and ready to travel to his new home which I understand is in a private garden 

The other sculpture I managed to see from the Land installation was in Suffolk. Another “Gormley man” standing atop of a Martello tower near Aldeburgh.

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Sculpture atop the Aldeburgh Martello Tower

Whilst staying in nearby Southwold last September, I noticed that there was an open afternoon when the sculpture could be visited whilst the tower was between holiday rentals.

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It was well worth the climb up the steep steps of the tower to see the sculpture and the view!

I first became interested in Gormley’s work when the Angel of The North was installed near Gateshead in 1998. I recall it was controversial at the time but has since become a British icon…and I personally think it is stunning!

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The outstretched wings are not straight sideways… they actually are angled 3.5 degrees forward to create a “sense of embrace”

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Back in 2007 I visited the Hayward Gallery on London’s South Bank to see “Blind Light”  a new exhibition of Gormley’s works.

Gormley Hayward Blind Light (13) copy

As part of the exhibition there were other “Gormley men” installed in London. “Event Horizon” had 31 copies of Gormley’s body sculpture dotted about the Southbank and Strand. The ones sited on rooftops apparently led people to call the police thinking they were real people!

Gormley Hayward Blind Light (27) copy

Standing on the edge of the fly tower of the National Theatre

Gormley Hayward Blind Light (18) copy

 

Gormley Hayward Blind Light (30) copy

I think he missed the bus..!

London is a great place for finding Gormley sculptures…here are a few more…

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“Quantum Cloud” commissioned for the site by the Millennium Dome completed in 1999. Look closely and you will see the human form in the middle…

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Another view of it today with the Emirates Sky Line passing nearby. It is taller than the Angel of the North by 10 metres!

In Limehouse behind the famous Grapes pub in Narrow Street which is now partly owned by Sir Ian McKellen, another Gormley man resides in the river Thames.

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Whilst visiting a National Trust property, Barrington Court in Somerset a few years ago I was delighted to discover that there was a temporary exhibition of Gormley’s “Field for the British Isles” on loan. Unfortunately no photography was allowed so here is a postcard!

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These terracotta figures are all individual, each piece made by hand at an arts project in St Helens Liverpool in 1993.

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A sea of little figures filled the room! Photo by the National Trust

It was interesting to hear visitors reactions to all these little faces looking back at them…many loved them but others felt quite uneasy!

I noticed another one recently in Oxford on the corner of Broad Street!

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It was Christmas and he was festively attired!

Since the Angel of the North, Antony Gormley has now become a household name and there are still many other of his works that I want to see.

My favourite installation though has to be “Another Place” on Crosby Beach Lancashire.

I spent many happy hours visiting this beach as a child and it is now the permanent home of more Gormley men.

Another Place Gormley (176) copy

Initially “Another Place” was to be a temporary installation but it became so popular that its planned move was halted.

Another Place Gormley (120) copy

Solitary figures dot the beach

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And greet the incoming tide…

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Some are buried in the sand…

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Some wear high visibility vests!

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or Paisley patterned shirts…!

They look different each time I visit due to the weather and tides and, however they are dressed, they stand in silent vigil looking out patiently, perhaps hopefully across the sea to another place….

Another Place Gormley (54) copy

My quest for more works by this inspiring artist will continue taking me to another place too!

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About Anne Guy

I am a garden designer living and working in rural Worcestershire For more information and to see examples of my work see www.anneguygardendesigns.co.uk
This entry was posted in Antony Gormley, Art, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Gormley Men

  1. What a wonderful post Anne, and lovely photographs. I love the feel of ‘solitary man’, although I must admit I found the Angel of the North rather less convincing. Thank you.

  2. I too initially thought there was a distressed soul wanting to end it all from the top of the National Theatre in London when I first saw the figure there. Fabulous photos as always Anne, and a lovely personal history of Gormley’s army of men. I think the little figures are delightful, and only in England would we choose to put a shirt and hat on the figures. Wonderful x

  3. Lucid Gypsy says:

    They are fabulous, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in the ‘flesh’.

  4. Terry says:

    I too have not seen one for real and appreciate your fascinating topics thanks for another visual and informative treat.

  5. Lyndsay Simmonds says:

    I really enjoyed this post! I had no idea he had so many sculptures around the country, we saw a couple in Edinburgh, part of his 6 Times installation, but sadly some are no longer there as the cost of repositioning them when they fell over in the Leith became too prohibitive. Going to keep my eyes open for more.

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