A series of iron human forms, weathered by time and the sea, stand on the beach in Crosby, not far from Liverpool. “The “Another Spot” installation by Antony Gormley has been in place for more than 20 years now. According to the sculptor, “They evolve over time, expressed by the slow colonization of their surface by barnacles.”
The story of sculpture is the story of how the physical form is influenced by time. At least that is one of the themes of the new novel, Forming the Universe, which Gormley co-wrote with Martin Gayford, a writer and critic. The book explores the art form from prehistoric times to the present, from the works of unknown ancient Egyptians to Andy Goldsworthy, to Michelangelo and Rodin and many others, as something of a sculptural object itself.
Our religious values, our aspirations and fears are all set into stone or cast into metal. “For me,” Gormley says, “sculpture is an attempt to stop time.” Or, like barnacles, to leave a mark.
Antony Gormley and Martin Gayford’s Shaping the Environment is published by Thames & Hudson and costs £ 40. Johnny Jones/Alamy Stock Photo © The Artist