Saturday, 19 May 2007

Antony Gormley bringing art to the people

On Thursday I set a quiz asking the link between a photograph of Waterloo Bridge and an Angel. The answer posted on, YesBut’s Images blog, was Antony Gormley.

There are British artists who are more notorious than famous, viewed questionably, if at all, by the British public - “Is it art?” Damien Hurst with his sharks and sheep in formaldehyde - what’s that all about? Tracey Emin and her unmade bed - she didn’t wash her bedclothes very often!

But one artist has reached out and not only communicated with the British public, has also got them intimately involved with his work. Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North dominates the Gateshead landscape. In my opinion his best work is the 100 casts-iron life-size figures of himself located like dead trees along three kilometres of Crosby Beach near Liverpool.

On Thursday his latest work “Blind Light” was put on view in London’s Hayward gallery; consisting of a large glass room filled with fog. In conjunction with the exhibition a second work “Event Horizon “ has been installed on roof tops surrounding the Hayward Gallery and on Waterloo Bridge. It consists of 31 cast-steel life-size figures of Antony Gormley. In places they merge with the skyline in others they stand out tall and proud. Gormley’s objective is to encourage the viewer to really look at the surroundings not merely to see it.

In the few days the figures have been in position, they have been taken to the heart of Londoners and tourist alike. You only have to stand on Waterloo Bridge to witness the reaction of passer-by. People can’t resist interacting with them, either through photographing them, or dressing the figures.

Again Gormley has successfully brought art into people’s everyday lives - art is no longer the province of the minority, to be enjoyed behind closed gallery doors. It is there standing proud and free to be experienced by all.

Click here to see reaction to the art work.

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