CRITICAL MASS, THE ROYAL ACADEMY, LONDON, ENGLAND, 1998
27 May - 30 September 1998
Gormley installed CRITICAL MASS (1995) in the courtyard of the Royal Academy, London to coincide with the Summer Exhibition. The series of sixty life size iron body casts were placed in the centre and around the outsides of the courtyard, including fourteen casts that were suspended from the facade of Burlington House and the neighbouring buildings. The body casts were moulded from Gormley's body in twelve distinct positions evolving from a vulnerable crouching body form engaged with the earth to an erect standing figure which looks skyward. The sculpture, which had never been seen in Britain before, was originally devised for a former tram terminus on the outskirts of Vienna.
Speaking on this installation, Gormley said that:
'The Royal Academy is a cultural institution which celebrates the hierarchy of Western art emphasised through its frieze of heroes. I am infiltrating, or invading, that sense of august decorum by introducing victims.'