With six tonnes of steel mesh, eight kilometres of coil tubing and a gallery flooded with seawater, artist Antony Gormley transforms the Royal Academy’s Main Galleries to engage the senses and challenge the viewer.
A long-awaited solo exhibition of the internationally acclaimed British sculptor Antony Gormley has opened at the Royal Academy of Arts last week. The exhibition, most significant in the UK for over a decade, explores Gormley’s wide-ranging use of organic, industrial and elemental materials over the years, including iron, steel, lead, seawater and clay.
The exhibition brings together both existing and new works specially conceived for the occasion. Amongst oversized sculptures and installations, viewers can explore a selection of artist’s pocket sketchbooks and drawings and rarely-seen early works from the 1970s and 1980s.
Special measures needed to be undertaken to reinforce the historic galleries’ floors and walls in anticipation of the large-scale installations, turning the space into an armature for sculptural experiment. The works, arranged across all 13 rooms of the Main Galleries, employ scale, darkness and light, creating a series of distinct encounters engaging and challenging the viewers’ senses.
Alongside sculpture, the exhibition includes a rich selection of works on paper, many of them using unusual materials such as crude oil, earth and blood. Drawing is a core, everyday activity for Antony Gormley, which runs parallel to his sculpture, exploring the same concerns through different means.
The exhibition is curated by Martin Caiger-Smith, with Sarah Lea, Curator at the Royal Academy of Arts, and will be open to the public until 3 December.
Royal Academy of Arts, London
21 September – 3 December 2019
Image: Antony Gormley, Lost Horizon I, 2008. Cast iron, each element 189 x 53 x 29 cm. Installation view, White Cube, Mason's Yard, London, England. Courtesy of the Artist and PinchukArtCentre (Kiev, Ukraine) © the Artist. Photo: Stephen White, London