FIELD FOR THE BRITISH ISLES, FIRST SITE, COLCHESTER, ENGLAND, 2019 - 2020
16 November 2019 - 8 March 2020
Field for The British Isles was made in 1993 from a mountain of brick clay with over 100 volunteers who were invited to find their own form for each figure following three simple instructions: "hand-sized, stand up and have eyes".
After being acquired by the Arts Council Collection in 1995, Field for the British Isles has been exhibited at a variety of venues across the UK, including Salisbury Cathedral, Greenesfield BR Works in Gateshead, The British Museum and Tate Liverpool. At each location, the configuration of Field is changed to suit the space, but the thousands of small figures are always installed to resemble a dense carpet, with each figure looking directly at the viewer. In Firstsite the figures will swarm through the rear half of the building, including throughout the main gallery spaces - a seemingly endless mass confronting the viewer.
As critic Adrian Searle said of the work in 1996: "This close-packed crowd…a sea, at one's feet, is a reminder that the world's entire population could stand on the Isle of Wight… shoulder to shoulder... Gormley has said that one of the resonances of this work is that it is a reminder that there is only one humanity."