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Almine Rech-Picasso Goes Global Ocula Conversation Almine Rech-Picasso Goes Global

French gallerist Almine Rech-Picasso opened her first space in Asia on Shanghai's historic Bund in July this year, bringing her eponymous gallery's total locations to five. The Shanghai gallery occupies roughly 4,000 square feet on the second floor of the three-storey Amber Building, a beautiful warehouse space, originally occupied by the Central...

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From the Gallery to the Streets: Home Works 8 in Beirut Ocula Report From the Gallery to the Streets: Home Works 8 in Beirut 8 Nov 2019 : Nat Muller for Ocula

There's an inside joke amongst the team of Ashkal Alwan, The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts: that every time an edition of its biennial forum on cultural practices is planned, a national crisis happens. The eighth edition of Home Works was no different: it opened on 17 October amidst the most devastating wildfires that Lebanon had witnessed...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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Antony Gormley

b. 1950, United Kingdom

Antony Gormley Biography

At the centre of Antony Gormley's sculptural practice lies a concern with the subjective space of the human body and its relationship with the objective space of the collective environment that surrounds it. Often working with casts of his own body, Gormley creates various scaled sculptures, from hand-held figures to life-size and monumental installations that engage the viewer in a contemplation of both the body and the spaces it occupies.

Gormley's earliest works include a series of 'Sleeping Place' sculptures from the 1970s. The works in this series no longer exist, but have been documented in photographs. Gormley created the works by draping plaster-soaked sheets over his friends' bodies on the ground, and then removing the moulded sheets and presenting them as free-standing sculptures. Although hollow, the curves of the plastered sheets suggest a human form in the foetal position. According to the artist's website, he was fascinated by 'the minimum space necessary for a person to establish shelter' that he witnessed during his travels in India (undertaken in the 1970s), where people in the streets or railway platforms would cover their bodies with a sheet of cloth.

Gormley began to incorporate his own body into his work by building sculptures out of bread or making plaster casts sheathed in an outer casing of lead in the 1980s. Bed (1980–1981), for example, is a sculpture roughly in proportion to a king-sized double bed, consisting of stacks of bread that were dried and dipped in parafin to prevent them from rotting. On the surface of the bed are two mirroring negative spaces, each in the form of the artist's silhouette lying on his back. Gormley used bread as a metaphor for consumption and the progress of life, combining it with the association between bed and milestones of life such as conception, birth, and death. Completed four years later, Untitled (for Francis) is a life-size sculpture made from a plaster mould of Gormley's body. The figure, encased in lead, stands upright with his arms wide open, slightly looking up at the sky, a posture that recalls St Francis in Giovanni Bellini's painting St Francis in Ecstasy (c. 1479–1495). Gormley's reference to Christianity is reinforced by the punctures in the lead surface of the sculpture, which evoke a Christian saint receiving the stigma.

In 1995, Gormley created a seminal artwork entitled Critical Mass. The work explores the body's solid mass and comprises 60 life-size cast-iron sculptures cast in 12 basic body postures, from the contemplative to the supplicant. Critical Mass was originally made to be installed in the Remise (an old tram storage station in Vienna). For this version of the installation the artist dumped many of the sculptures from the back of a truck to allude to the victims of the 20th century. Since then, the work has been exhibited in different sites, such as on the roof of the De La Warr Pavilion in East Sussex in 2010, and at Forte di Belvedere, Florence, as part of the artist's solo exhibition, Human, in 2015. In an interview with Ocula Magazine in 2015, the artist described Critical Mass as 'the forensic evidence of a lived moment in time', responding to the horrors of the past and overpopulation.

Gormley's sculptures can be found in various public spaces and around the world. Angel of the North (1998), a 20-metre-tall steel sculpture overseeing a hill in Gateshead, is arguably the best known and shows an upright figure with a pair of outstretched wings for arms. Conceived as a memorial to the coal miners who brought wealth to the North East to the 19th and 20th centuries, the work has since become a landmark of Gateshead. Another Place (1997), which consists of 100 life-size cast iron figures staring out to the horizon, was installed on Crosby Beach in 2005 by Liverpool Biennial and is also among the artist's most famous public artworks. In 2007, the artist initiated a touring public art project called Event Horizon that installs life-size figures looking out into space on the ground level or atop buildings in international cities. First displayed in London, the project has travelled to New York (2010), São Paulo (2012), and Hong Kong (2015).

Gormley studied archaeology, anthropology, and art history at Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1968 to 1971. He then attended London's Central Saint Martins and Goldsmiths, before completing his studies with a postgraduate course in sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, in 1979. He was the winner of the Turner Prize in 1994 for 'Field' (1989–2003), a series of works in which he gave directions to a local community to produce tens of thousands of hand-sized figures. The resulting sculptures were baked locally and installed on the floor of a gallery space. For the American version in 1990, the artist worked with an extended family of brick-makers in San Matias, Cholula, Mexico, members of whom—ranging from age six to over sixty—made 35,000 figures. For the 2006 Biennale of Sydney, the installation consisted of 180,000 small clay figurines crafted by 350 Chinese villagers in five days from 100 tonnes of red clay.

In addition to being awarded the Turner Prize, Gormley was awarded the South Bank Prize for Visual Art in 1999, the Bernhard Heiliger Award for Sculpture in 2007, the Obayashi Prize in 2012, and the Praemium Imperiale in 2013. In 1997, he was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) and was made a knight in the New Year's Honours list in 2014. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, an Honorary Doctor of the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Trinity and Jesus Colleges, Cambridge. The artist has been a Royal Academician since 2003.

Biography by Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2019
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Featured Artworks

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TEND by Antony Gormley contemporary artwork
Antony GormleyTEND, 2016 Cast iron
73 x 75 x 64 cm
Sean Kelly
ROD by Antony Gormley contemporary artwork
Antony GormleyROD, 2016 Cast iron
192.1 x 53.7 x 34.5 cm
Sean Kelly
Show II by Antony Gormley contemporary artwork
Antony GormleyShow II, 2016 A series of 12 unique monoprints taken directly from the artist's body composed of crude oil, linseed oil and petroleum jelly on Saunders 190 gsm smooth paper, framed
237.1 x 134 cm (incl frame)
Cristea Roberts Gallery
Borne by Antony Gormley contemporary artwork
Antony GormleyBorne carbon and casein on paper
14 x 19 cm
Xavier Hufkens
Sense I by Antony Gormley contemporary artwork
Antony GormleySense I, 1995 carbon and casein on paper
38 x 28 cm
Xavier Hufkens
SPLASH by Antony Gormley contemporary artwork
Antony GormleySPLASH, 2018 Cast iron
114.7 x 146 x 123 cm
Xavier Hufkens
TEND by Antony Gormley contemporary artwork
Antony GormleyTEND Cast iron
73 x 75 x 64 cm
Xavier Hufkens
LAZE by Antony Gormley contemporary artwork
Antony GormleyLAZE, 2015 Cast iron
24 x 78 x 197 cm
Xavier Hufkens

Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Print Project Space: Royal Academicians in Focus at Cristea Roberts Gallery, London
Closed
21 June–31 July 2018 Group Exhibition Print Project Space: Royal Academicians in Focus Cristea Roberts Gallery, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Antony Gormley, LIVING ROOM at Xavier Hufkens, Brussels
Closed
9 March–8 April 2017 Antony Gormley LIVING ROOM Xavier Hufkens, 6 rue St-Georges, Brussels
Contemporary art exhibition, Antony Gormley, CONSTRUCT at Sean Kelly, New York
Closed
7 May–29 July 2016 Antony Gormley CONSTRUCT Sean Kelly, New York

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

In Memory of a Free Public: Harbour Arts Sculpture Park Ocula Report In Memory of a Free Public: Harbour Arts Sculpture Park 16 Mar 2018 : Hera Chan for Ocula

It was at Tamar Park that the initial sit-ins took place around the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, sparking the Umbrella Movement in 2014. Thousands of students advocated for universal suffrage in the response to electoral reforms enacted on Hong Kong by China's Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. It was here, on 26 September...

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Antony Gormley Ocula Conversation Antony Gormley Artist, United Kingdom

British artist, Antony Gormley is widely acclaimed for his sculptures, installations and public artworks that examine the body and its relationship with both the intimate darkness of subjective space and its objective counterpart, collective space. In 1995, he created a seminal work entitled Critical Mass, that comprises twelve basic body...

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In Related Press

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The Hollow Heart of Antony Gormley’s Spectacle Related Press The Hollow Heart of Antony Gormley’s Spectacle Hyperallergic : 28 September 2019

LONDON — The English sculptor Antony Gormley is a man who believes in the art of spectacle. Of the 12 galleries devoted to this career-spanning retrospective at London's Royal Academy, three of them are engulfed by single works on a monumental scale.Another one is presided over by single sculptures on a smaller scale which, evidently in the...

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Five Turner winners call on National Portrait Gallery to cut ties with BP Related Press Five Turner winners call on National Portrait Gallery to cut ties with BP The Guardian : 5 July 2019

Five winners of the Turner prize are demanding an end to BP's sponsorship of the National Portrait Gallery, stepping up the campaign against big oil's involvement in the arts.Antony Gormley, Rachel Whiteread, Anish Kapoor, Gillian Wearing and Mark Wallinger are among a group of almost 80 leading artists, including winners of the BP portrait award,...

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Antony Gormley’s haunting sculptures on the Greek island of Delos Related Press Antony Gormley’s haunting sculptures on the Greek island of Delos Financial Times : 14 June 2019

On the peak of Mount Kynthos on the island of Delos, a solitary figure gazes out across the heather-blue pelt of the Aegean Sea. Impossible not to believe that he was here when, so Homer tells us, Odysseus landed and was struck dumb by the beauty of a local palm tree. That if you fast-forward a millennium, he will be here to greet you.In truth,...

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An Interview with Antony Gormley About His Greek Island Show Related Press An Interview with Antony Gormley About His Greek Island Show Another Man : 30 May 2019

With a new summer exhibition, the British sculptor Antony Gormley has repopulated the ancient ruins of the uninhabited Greek island of Delos with 29 of his bodyforms – and become probably the first artist in almost two millennia to make a work of art for the site. Harry Seymour sat down with him to discuss how the show came together.Harry Seymour:...

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In Video & Audio

Antony Gormley’s 'Essere' at the Uffizi Related Video & Audio Antony Gormley’s 'Essere' at the Uffizi The Florentine : 1 March 2019

London-born artist Antony Gormley seems to feel at home among Renaissance masters, whose works often tackle the same topics that he finds himself embracing some 500 years later. Varying the aesthetic and metaphysical results of the humanist subject matter that Gormley tackles could be seen as difficult, but over the course of ten years and three...

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Antony Gormley at the Uffizi, plus portrait miniatures Related Video & Audio Antony Gormley at the Uffizi, plus portrait miniatures The Art Newspaper : 22 February 2019

We talk to the British artist as he shows his sculptures with ancient works in the Florentine museum, and we zoom in on the tiny art works made in Elizabethan and Jacobean times that are the subject of a major show at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

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