Few contemporary artists have enjoyed the popular acclaim and critical profile that Antony Gormley has gained in recent years. His work generates lively debate, connecting readily with subjects of pressing and widespread concern. Perhaps more than any other contemporary artist he has succeeded in taking his work beyond the gallery to engage the public in previously untried settings. Large-scale, iconic projects such as the 20 metre high Angel of the North at Gateshead, the 100 cast-iron sculptures in the sea off Crosby Beach that is Another Place and the hundreds of small, terracotta figurines crafted by members of the public in different locations around the world that comprised Field, have all made him one of the most celebrated and talked about artists of his generation. Gormley is a showman, and his art over the years has been a sustained performance that has sought a large stage and a broad, often collaborative audience. He is also a lucid and persuasive interpreter of his own projects; his allusions and inspirations run far and wide across history and cultures.
The author sets Gormley's art in its historical context, exploring his relationship to minimalism, arte povera, land and environmental art, as well as the challenge of engaging with figurative sculpture at the beginning of the 21st century. Casts of his own body have been a central part of Gormley's output over the past three decades; recent exhibitions have seen him moving in new and unexpected directions. With a survey of Gormley's entire career, an in-depth analysis of six key works and over 100 colour illustrations, this is the ideal introduction to the work of one of the most popular and engaging artists at work today.
Martin Caiger-Smith is a writer and lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, where he heads the MA Curating Programme.
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