Sir Antony Gormley pushes boundaries of art with eccentric exhibition

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Martha Fairlie

Britain's Sir Antony Gormley has already fired the public imagination with his cast iron figures on the beach at Crosby on Merseyside, and the majestic Angel of the North, outside Gateshead.

The sculpture master - with a 45-year career in art - is doing it all over again with a new display in London, once again representing the human body.

Clearing 7 - a drawing in space that's also a maze. Credit: ITV News

For his solo exhibition at the Royal Academy, the sculptor has conceived new works - like Clearing 7 - a drawing in space that the public must find a route through.

“It’s about engaging with the total physical experience of moving through 12 rooms, - each of which is inviting you to be in that room with those works in a very particular,” he told ITV News.

Sir Antony Gormley spoke to ITV News about his new exhibition. Credit: ITV News

The building has been reinforced for the unconventional exhibition; it's almost seen as Sir Antony's test site for pushing the limits of art.

For example, the walls of one room have had to be reinforced to take the weight of one his works – Matrix 3 – a suspended cloud of steel mesh.

Matrix 3 - a cloud of steel mesh installed in the Royal Academy. Credit: AP

Another room is filled with seawater and clay, whilst another installation is a 30-tonne cave shaped like a human body which entrants have to feel their way around in the dark.

“It’s not just about looking.

"It’s about squaring up to these works, even entering being swallowed up by them,” curator Martin Caiger-Smiths explains.

“In so doing, being slightly confounded, slightly disoriented, feeling your own body maybe more keenly.”

This room is filled with seawater and clay.

Sir Anthony aims to also make a statement of the importance of sculptures in a digital age.

“Sculpture in the digital age is critically important.

"It's still, it's silent.

"It doesn’t need a roof.

"It can exist on a street, on a mountain, on top of buildings, and simply be there, and be a kind of acupuncture of our daily experience,” he said.

In doing so, he not only masters capturing the beauty and complexity of the human body, but also the human condition.

He told ITV News: “Asking that question, ‘What is human life? Where are we going? How do we engage with our time?'

Maybe those questions are more relevant than ever.”

Sir Antony’s exhibition will run at the Royal Academy Of Arts from September 21 to December 3, 2019.