Antony Gormley

LATER HERMETIC PIERCED WORKS, 1988 - 1993

From the late 1980s to the early 1990s, the late bodycase works became increasingly hermetic, rather than making connections between the internal and external space. The LEARNING TO SEE series for the first time indicates the curvature of the closed eyes, which amplifies the hermeticism and internal pressure of the lead case. All the LEARNING TO SEE pieces (which continued in iron) attempt to connect an absolute stillness with a visible internalisation of energy.

Later on this idea about internalisation and internal pressure was translated into the two INSTRUMENTS, wall-mounted sarcophagus-like bodycases that totally abstract the body. The surface of the first divided into consistent horizontal bands. The second with four clear axes crossing at the level of the umbilical cord where an extension is terminated by a photographic lens. Here, for the first time with a pierced work, there is still a closure of internal space. There is an invitation too, to engage in a physical way with the internal darkness of the bodycase: the central subject of all the works, but particularly the bodycases.

Hermeticism was extended in a very loose way with SOVEREIGN STATE, a bodycase in the position of a dethroned king or an astronaut in a spacesuit which lies on the floor with four primary orifices, the mouth, ears, the penis and the umbilical cord, connected up to 300 metres of high-pressure hose. The idea is to think about the relationship of closed and open systems by treating the body as if it were a self-sufficient system, and thereby to emphasise the dependency of one body on another, and of the body on natural exchange systems. Lead works like SEEING and SHOWING and WELL, while leaving the orifice open, try to increase the level of suggested internal pressure by a multiplying of the skins at the point of piercing.

Download text
WELL

WELL, 1990
Lead, fibreglass and plaster
226 x 64 x 61 cm

SOVEREIGN STATE

SOVEREIGN STATE, 1989
Brass, lead, plaster, fibreglass, air and rubber hose
Figure: 66 x 172 x 98 cm
Hose length: 30 000 cm, Hose diameter: 3.5 cm

LEARNING TO SEE I

LEARNING TO SEE I, 1991
Lead, fibreglass, plaster and air
218 x 69 x 51 cm
Collection of Iwaki City Art Museum, Japan

INSTRUMENT I

INSTRUMENT I, 1991
Lead, fibreglass, plaster, air and optical lens
216 x 53 x 51 cm

INSTRUMENT II

INSTRUMENT II, 1991
Lead, fibreglass, plaster, air and optical lens
213 x 74 x 51 cm
Photograph by Stephen White, London

SEEING AND SHOWING

SEEING AND SHOWING, 1991
Lead, fibreglass and plaster
95 x 89 x 45 cm