Sunday, October 29, 2006

ANOTHER PLACE by Antony Gormley

This morning Hodmandod Senior and I went out early to catch the low tide at Crosby near Liverpool

in order to see the installation ANOTHER PLACE by Antony Gormley, the artist who is responsible for THE ANGEL OF THE NORTH which guards the entrance to the north (east) of England alongside the A1(M).

On the notice beside the beach it says:

'Another Place harnesses the ebb and flow of the tide to explore man's relationship with nature. Anthony Gormley says: "The seaside is a good place to do this. Here time is tested by tide, architecture by the elements, and the prevalence of sky seems to question the earth's substance. In this work human life is tested against planetary time. This sculpture exposes to light and time the nakedness of a particular and peculiar body, no hero, no ideal, just the industrially-reproduced body of a middle-aged man trying to remain standing and trying to breathe, facing a horizon busy with ships moving materials and manufactured things around the planet."'

This is the work's fourth location - it has previously been installed in Cuxhaven in Germany, Stavanger in Norway and DePanne in Belgium and next month is scheduled to move again.

Even though there are 100 statues they seem alone on the beach - each one divided from the next by metres of sand. They cannot connect. It is as if the shoreline is their consciousness - infinitely large - and limited only by the imagination.

Even though the statues are mass-produced they quickly become individuals - changed by where they are placed on the beach - and the tag which adorns each right arm becomes superfluous. Here is 96 - the one that is covered to the neck with each tide and barnacled

and here is 49 - the one with the face that remains above water even at high tide.

The rain and sun weathers them and then washes parts of them away; it smoothes and removes cracks and lines, frowns and smiles. Soon it is as though the face is covered; as though a skin grows there like a stocking mask or a cataract...and once again there is that feeling of isolation.

The sun rises and sets. The tides come in and out. The statues stay. They wait with a Canute-like patience. Aloof. Silent. They don't notice the sand swirling and making patterns at their feet. It is as though they are concentrating on some deep truth.

They know they are trapped as we all are; fastened down by a column of concrete they are forced to stay where they are and free to ponder and draw conclusions.

Everything is an illusion; they seem to be telling me. If we were to reach out the moment would be already gone. Too late. We see without knowing. We do and then we think. Neurons set fire to great networks across our brains but we understand nothing.

It is pointless to try. The longer they stand here without moving they know that it's true. Time passes over them like a cold sea and it changes nothing.

Ships pass and they know that nothing matters.

People stand before them and look into their faces but it doesn't shake them from their apathy.

All they can do is watch.

Each one amongst many.


Blogger Susan said...

Wonderful essay, Clare but I particularly enjoyed the picture of Hodmandod Senior! Loved the rakish angle, slim and elegant. Do favour us with an actual picture some day!

Sun Oct 29, 10:40:00 pm  
Blogger Lee said...

You ought to think of collecting these photo essays in a book one day. They are excellent.

And you - almost - inspire me to buy a camera.

Mon Oct 30, 06:08:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evocative, & I'd like to see 49 tickled by high tide...

Tue Oct 31, 12:57:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another Place was here for a while- I am sitting here at my desk with a poster of it, actually, just above. It was moved before anything grew on it. Thanks for the essay!

Thu Nov 02, 02:23:00 pm  
Blogger Marly Youmans said...

Came back to reread after bumping into this:

Fri Feb 21, 01:51:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Those Paul Sutton pictures are amazing, Marly. It makes me want to go back there to take another look.

Sat Feb 22, 11:52:00 am  

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