Water-dispersed aniline dye became Gormley's favoured drawing medium at the beginning of the new millennium. Chemically-based, acrid and dangerous, the reddish tint of aniline is reminiscent of the colour in the final stage of alchemy known as rubedo or iosis (from the Greek root ios meaning poison). The use of this potent substance continues his investigation into the effects and behaviour of different minerals and chemicals. Dropped on to the paper and then manipulated by brush, the visual effects caused from aniline range from the veining and spreading in WEB and CONNECTIONS III to the blotching and washing of PLACENTA. In all the drawings the surface texture is intensely varied, the chemical producing unforeseen and fugitive effects of immense beauty and mystery - metaphorically transforming a base substance into gold. The work appears to be struggling with embodiment and disembodiment, whether in allusions to disease or the creation of matter and its inevitable entropy.
Text by Anna Moszynska, from ANTONY GORMLEY DRAWING, Published by The British Museum Press, 2002