Born in London in 1950, Antony Gormley OBE is a sculptor known for his highly visible public works exploring the relationships between the human body and the spaces it occupies.
Gormley read anthropology and archeology at Cambridge before travelling to India and Sri Lanka to further his understanding of Buddhism between 1971 and 1974. It was only after that he pursued artistic studies, first at Saint Martins, Goldmsiths, and finally within the Slade.
Gormley’s first solo show was held at the Whitechapel Gallery, London in 1981 and he was included in various international group shows through the 1980s, such as the Venice Biennale in 1982 and 1986, and Documenta 8, Kassel, Germany in 1987.
In 1994 he was awarded the turner prize, and received the Visual Art Prize from South Bank 5 years later. Since then the artist has enjoyed much acclaim, being honoured with the Bernhard Heiliger Award for Sculpture in 2007, the Obayashi Prize in 2012 and the Praemium Imperiale in 2013.
A year later, Gormley was added to the New Year’s honours list, becoming an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in 2014. In addition to this, 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. Gormley has been a Royal Academician since 2003.
Many of Gormley’s works are of a figurative nature, which can be seen in some of his most famous public works such as ‘Another Place’ and ‘Angel of the North’, and also in his photography and print portfolios.
To construct his more sculptural figures, Gormley often used his own body, wrapped in cling film and then bound in plaster. Such involved techniques and approach to sculpture reflect the artist’s conceptual interest in the process of art making, and what these kinds of practices bring to the fore of the psyche, and his ongoing fascination with the concrete situation of embodiment. This idea is developed through his works, and related on the macro scale to the relationship between nature and the cosmos.
Gormley’s works can be seen as an exploration of the idea that art provides a place for the realisation of new behaviours, emotions, thoughts and feelings, that is, a platform for becoming. This is exquisitely achieved through a variety of media including sculpture, installations, print, and photography.