Showing posts with label Gormley. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gormley. Show all posts

The Angel Of The North

Following on from my post the other day on Antony Gormley's 'Another Place', here are some of the images I captured of  Gormley's most famous work, 'The Angel of the North':

The immense 'Angel of the North'
The 'Angel of the North' is an immense sculpture, made of steel, that is located in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. Erected on the site on 15 February 1998, is stands 20 metres tall, with a wingspan measuring 54 metres! Its wings are positioned forward from the body at an angle of 3.5 degrees to give the impression of an embrace. However, this welcoming stance, plus its position overlooking the A1 and A167 roads, led locals to nickname the statue 'The Gateshead Flasher"!

Locals have cheekily nick-named the statue 'The Gateshead Flasher'
Gormley has stated that the siting of the work is of particular importance. The statue stands atop the former Pithead Baths Colliery where men toiled beneath the surface of the earth in total darkness. The 'Angel' having risen from the mines, now stands proudly in the daylight in an act of celebration of the industry, its wings unfurled like a newly hatched butterfly, gaining strength from the sunlight and ready to embrace the future. The mound of earth beneath the 'Angel'' feet also appears like an ancient megalithic burial mound, giving a timeless and spiritual aspect to the piece.

The statue was funded by Gatehead Council, along with the Arts Council of England, the European Regional Development Fund and private sponsorship. Its size and exposed location means the sculpture has to withstand wind speeds of over 100 mph. To accommodate this, the piece is secured in 600 tonnes of concrete and is anchored to a depth of 21 metres beneath the ground. It was constructed, using COR-TEN steel, in three pieces at Hartlepool Steel Fabrications Ltd.

The magnificent 'Angel of the North'
Like much of Gormley's work, the 'Angel of the North' generated a lot of controversy when plans for the piece were first advertised. Give its high visibility along the adjacent roads, the potential for its presence causing traffic accidents were amongst the chief reasons for complaint. To try and alleviate those concerns, trees have now been grown to mask the statue from sight where the main road reaches its closest position to the 'Angel'.

As is usual with Gormley's public art, controversy soon abated after the unveiling of the piece, and the 'Angel of the North' is now recognised as the UK's most famous sculpture. It currently draw around 150,000 visitors to the area each year. It really is an impressive and uplifting work of public art, the sheer scale of which is not given full justice by my photographs.

Antony Gormley's 'Another Place'

A short while ago I got the opportunity to visit Liverpool and made Crosby Beach on Merseryside my first stop there. 

It was a long day's drive and the sun was dipping fast in the sky by the time I arrived at the beach.  But I had a good hour or so to spare and I managed to explore a fair few of the 100-strong iron men that make up Sir Antony Gormley's 'Another Place' exhibit, which is located along this stretch of sand. 

The first of Sir Antony Gormley's iron
men that greeted my visit to Crosby Beach

The statues are modelled from 17 different body casts the sculptor made of his own naked body and the resulting figures evidence a variety of both tense and relaxed poses.

The nude iron sculptures raised a lot of controversy at the time of their installation and several groups, including watersport enthusiasts, the coastguard and conversationalists raised concerns against their presence along the shoreline.

Birds scouring the sands for their supper
near one of the iron men of Crosby Beach
Having previously toured a few other countries, Germany (Cuxhaven), Norway (Stavenger) and Belgium (De Panne), the iron men reached Merseyside in 2005. They were then due to move to New York after the local council initially refused permission for 'Another Place' to become a permanent exhibition at the beach.

However, the iron men became a very popular tourist draw over the years and brought a lot of money and trade to the community businesses. This forced the hand of the councillor's when the question of the residency of  'Another Place' returned to the council the following year. And so, to the delight of art lovers and the local trade, the iron men became a permanent feature on the sands of Crosby Beach in 2007.

One of the scarier faces of the
Crosby Beach Iron Men
Gormley's stated intention when he created 'Another Place', was to explore the movement of the tides and the passing of time on the beach and to engage with the day to day life of the habitat there.

An iron man watching the passing of one of the many...

...large container ships that slide along the horizon of Crosby Beach
With the evening drawing in fast, I was a little disappointed not to have the time to explore more of the Crosby iron men as each seemed to have its own distinct character.

But time and tides wait for no man and so I finally had to say a fond farewell to these unique and thought-provoking statues. I really could not leave, however, without having my photograph taken with one of the surreal fellows :)

That's me on the left btw