I happened to be passing Liverpool a few days ago and, inspired by my visit to the Angel of the North a few weeks ago, I made time to go and see another Antony Gormley installation called ‘Another Place’.
This artwork is at Crosby Beach near Liverpool, and it consists of around 100 life-size cast-iron figures set out over 3 kilometers of the beach.
The figures stare out to sea and as the light, tide and weather constantly change so the artwork changes.
They are also slowly weathering and gaining marine life encrusted on their 650 kg bodies, that were cast using the body of the artist himself. Each figure is 6 foot 2 inches tall.
Sir Antony Mark David Gormley is a British sculptor, born 30 August 1950, Dewsbury Moor, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, England. His artwork and installations include Event Horizon, originally mounted in London in 2007, the project consists of 31 life-size anatomically correct male bodies, 27 constructed of fiberglass and four of cast iron, and all of them cast from the artist’s body. They were all placed in conspicuous places along London’s South Bank – for example the Shell Building and Waterloo Bridge. Unfortunately, the statues were occasionally mistaken as suicide attempts. The installation was taken down in August and September 2007. The Angel of the North, which is a public sculpture in Gateshead in the north of England, was commissioned in 1994 and erected in February of 1998.
Antony Gormley won the Turner Prize (1994) South Bank Prize for Visual Art (1999) Bernhard Heiliger Award for Sculpture (2007) Obayashi Prize (2012) Praemium Imperiale (2013) Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture (2015)
In 2005 they arrived here at Crosby and have remained ever since. This was not without controversy though. There was an initial outcry about having naked bodies on display and then the people whom use this beach for watersports had new obstacles to contend with.
However, the pull of extra tourism to the area the figures brought, along with an outcry from Antony Gormley himself, the iron men have been allowed to stay put after a Sefton Council meeting on 7 March 2007.
Some figures have been adapted by visitors – some have been painted and some had t-shirts added.
Although I was only able to stay an hour or so before heading off to my meeting in Liverpool, I was there long enough to capture something of the changing light. I found the whole experience quite amazing.
Crosby Beach History
Crosby Beach is part of the Merseyside coastline north of Liverpool in the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton, England, it is roughly 2.5 miles (4.0 km) North-West from the Seaforth Dock in the Port of Liverpool and the industrial nature of the area close by can be seen in the photographs.
The beach was stabilized from the mid-19th century, as prior to this, high sea tides could come in as far as the first row of houses. In the older dunes which are north of the coastguard station, between the sea and the West Lancashire Golf Club, there are still some remains of the old wartime defenses.
Crosby beach was featured in the 2012 BBC drama Good Cop, filmed at and around the beach region. Sefton Council hoped the drama would promote the coastline as a location ideal for future filming.
The beach was pretty much deserted and unlike the Angel – which is monumental – these beach figures are more approachable (literally) so you can wander up the beach and say hello to each one in turn…..