Art TED Talks

8 mind-bending sculptures from Antony Gormley

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Traditional Greek sculptors took a hunk of marble and, by chipping away at it, crafted the human form. Antony Gormley, the British sculptor who gave this thought-provoking talk at TEDGlobal 2012, takes a very different approach, creating works that explore the interior space we feel within our own bodies and the exterior space we feel knowing that we are just dots in space and time.

In his talk, Gormley shares that he first began thinking about these ideas as a child, when he was forced to take afternoon naps. “There I was, lying there in this hot, dark, claustrophobic, matchbox-sized space,” says Gormley. “After this went on for days, weeks, months, that space would get bigger and darker and cooler until I really looked forward to that half hour of enforced immobility and rest. I really looked forward to going to that place of darkness.”

The experience has guided him through his more-than-40-year career.

In his talk, Gormley gives the insight behind his works Rearranged Desert and Learning to See. He also gives a peek at his work Blind Light, where he used light and water vapors as materials to create something of a cloud. The piece is meant to be an experience, and observers are invited to stroll through it.

“As you walk towards the ever-open threshold, you disappear, both to yourselves and to others,” Gormley says. “If you hold your hand out in front of you, you can’t see it. If you look down, you can’t see your feet. You are now consciousness without an object, free from the dimensionful and measured way in which life links us to the obligatory.”

After the jump, Gormley shares 8 more pieces of his work with the TED Blog.

Antony Gormley's Room for the Great Australian Desert

92 x 58 x 51cm
Collection of the  Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia
© the artist

Antony Gormley's Domain xxxiv
4.76 mm square section stainless steel bar
186 x 69 x 35cm
5 Kg
Photograph by Stephen White, London
© the artist

Antony Gormley's Amazonian Field
Variable size: approx. 24 000 elements, each 4-40 cm
Installation view, CCBB, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2012
Photograph Vicente de Mello
© the artist

Antony Gormley's Vessel

VESSEL, 2012
Corten steel, M16 countersunk screws steel
370 x 2200 x 480cm
25000 Kg
Installation view, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano
Photograph by Ela Bialkowska, OKNO STUDIO
© the artist

Antony Gormley's Domain Field

4.76 mm square section stainless steel bar
Various sizes: 287 elements, derived from moulds of local inhabitants of Newcastle-Gateshead aged 2.5 – 84 years
Installation view, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK
Commission for BALTIC, Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead
Photograph by Jerry Hardman-Jones, Leeds
© the artist

Antony Gormley's Clearing V
Approx 11 km of 12.7mm x 12.7mm 16swg aluminium tube
Installation view, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria, 2009
Photograph Markus Tretter
© the artist

Antony Gormley's Another Place

Cast iron
100 elements / 189 x 53 x 29 cm
Installation view, Cuxhaven, Germany
Photograph by Helmut Kunde, Kiel
© the artist

Antony Gormley's Feeling Material X

4mm x 4mm continuous rolled mild steel wire
260 x 210 x 190cm
30 Kg
Photograph by Stephen White, London
© the artist

To see many more sculptures from Gormley’s prolific career, head to his website