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Antony Gormley - Biography

Antony Gormley, born in 1950 in London, is an English installation artist and professor at the European Graduate School EGS. His work, which is in the medium of sculpture, has achieved an international exposure and esteem. He was awarded the Turner Prize in 1994 for his work Field for the British Isles. Antony Gormley studied art history, anthropology, and archaeology at Trinity College, Cambridge. After finishing his studies at Trinity College, he spent three years traveling in Sri Lanka and India on a personal search for knowledge of Buddhism and Asian culture. He then returned to London and concluded his studies at the Slade School of Art, University College London.

Antony Gormley was born to an Irish father and German mother. He grew up as the youngest sibling in a family of seven children. The family enjoyed wealth and lived in Dewsbury Moor, West Yorkshire. Gormley went to Ampleforth College, a Benedictine boarding school in Yorkshire. Later he went on to study anthropology, art history and archaeology at Trinity College in Cambridge, from 1968 to 1971. Gormley travelled to India and Sri Lanka to study Buddhism from 1971 and 1974. In 1974 Antony studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and Goldsmiths in London. He finished his studies with a postgraduate course in sculpture at the Slade School of Art, University College London, between 1977 and 1979.

Intensely engaged with bodily sensation and memory, Antony Gormley's sculptures inhabit a space of possibilities which is disjoined from historical and cultural specificity. Dispensing with the notion of the progression of history and the cultural superiority of the West, his work frees a dynamic, corporeal potentiality coursing within the non-idealized human body. Rather than approaching the human figure classically in the form of a representation, Antony Gormley challenges the viewer by presenting an opening of power through the suspension of moral and spatial coordinates. He calls this opening 'the darkness of the body', which is not so much a reference to evil as to a vast potentiality in the apprehension of the body's constitution of space. The material dimension of Antony Gormley's work manifests his concern for the elementary mortality of life and the endless cycle through which matter passes.

Many of Antony Gormley's sculptures are based on his own body as a model. His recent works frame the relations between the individual and the collective. His first exhibition was held in 1981 at Whitechapel Gallery in London. His work has been exhibited in such high-profile venues as the Venice Biennale, the Sydney Biennale, the Kassel Documenta 8, Tate Gallery, Hayward Gallery, Kölnischer Kunstverein (Germany), the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin), and the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, DC). Antony Gormley's sculptures have been or are currently displayed in numerous public spaces in the UK, as well as in Norway, Sweden, Italy and other countries.

Antony Gormley's Event Horizon (2007) is composed of thirty one casts of his body. The body cast are composed of cast iron and fiberglass. Event Horizon was installed on top of prominent buildings along London's South Bank, and was later installed in locations around New York City's Madison Square in 2010. The work examines urban life in all its contradictions. The project attempts to get viewers thinking about the environment around them. Antony explained to the New York Times in 2010, “You could almost say the insertion of the sculpture is like the insertion of acupuncture needles within a collective body. And seeing how the body as a whole reacts to the presence of this irritation is very much the point.”

Some of Antony Gormley's most notable works include Field (1991, 1993, 2003, 2004), Sound II (1986), Iron: Man (1993), Havmannen (1995), Another Place (1997), Angel of the North (1998), Quantum Cloud (1999), Filter (2002), Event Horizon (2007), and One & Other (2009).

Antony Gormley is an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College and Jesus College, Cambridge, and since 2007 has served as a trustee of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. He was awarded the Turner Prize (1994) and the South Bank Prize for Visual Art (1999).

Antony Gormley is a Professor of Sculpture at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, where he conducts an Intensive Summer Seminar.