Saturday, June 24, 2006

Review 2

Asian Field, Antony Gormley (English), 2003, clay from Guangdong Province, China.

The audience is immediately made the subject as each figure returns our gaze. The vastness and initial ‘wow’ factor of the work’s aesthetic effect draws us in, making us want to learn the artwork’s meaning. Each viewer intreprets the work’s meaning based on their experiences, making the work accessible to all. But just as we want to delve deeper, we are rudely stopped by the doorway’s laser beam and denied further involvement, which could be achieved with a central path. We can only assume the figures fill the unseen corners, but this mystery also acts to further intrigue us.

We are asked to walk around and become involved with the makers, who each receive a tightly cropped photo of recognition. Gormley has duly acknowledged that the work is not purely a form of self expression, but rather a collective work. The photos act to compensate for the majority of the figures, which are unappreciated due to the lack of audience interaction beyond the doorway. The photos also indicate that Gormley is not the sole creator of the work, yet he has taken final credit.

Gormley’s industrial site choice places the figures in the context of a mechanised world, enforcing the work’s question of how each individual’s existence relates to the world. However, the Pier’s structure and machinery also distracts from the figures, breaking their vast mass. Beauty is seen and appreciated in the vast number of figures, as we derive pleasure from the assumed extensive labour behind the work. However, do the 180, 000 figures involve us in the work or do they make us feel as insignificant as each of the figures who have lost their individuality?

Reference list -
Antony Gormley 2006. Available:
Antony Gormley: Field (Liverpool Tate) 2004. Available:
Asian Field (British Council of Arts) n.d. Available:
Birmingham Fujii, L. 2005 Children’s Field. Available:
Gleeson, D. 2002 Review - Field for the British Isles (The British Museum). Available:
[All accessed 23/6/06]