Antony Gormley, ‘Man Rock’, 1982-1983, Phillips

Property Subject to the Artist's Resale Right (see Conditions of Sale for further information)
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The present lot is an enlightening example of Antony Gormley’s early work – as a sculpture executed in 1982-3, only a year after the sculptor’s first solo exhibition, it exemplifies the beginnings of Gormley’s fascination with the human form, and his drive to express the human conditions in his sculpture. In this work the artist traces the outline of a human form onto a stone in one continuous line, just deep enough for the image to be on the cusp between a drawing and the arising of a self-determined form from the stone itself. The artist describes this series of works as a reaction to the traditional relationship between sculpture and the human form: ‘I wanted to reverse Michelangelo's slaves, where a quarried square rock had to conform to the represented body. In PLANETS and MAN ROCK, the outline of the body conforms to the stone, suggesting a dependency.’ (Antony Gormley, Man Rock and Planets, 1982-2002, online resource). As the process of making this sculpture consisted of physically tracing a living body on an inert material, this piece is an early example of the artist’s exploration of the contact between material and body – a relationship that underscores the whole of his oeuvre.
Courtesy of Phillips

Coracle Gallery, London
Sotheby’s, London, July 3, 1998, lot 410
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

About Antony Gormley

In his sculptures, installations, and public artworks, Antony Gormley explores the relation of the human body to space and moments in time. He is well known for his sculptures that use a cast of his own body as their starting point and for his large-scale, outdoor installations such as Angel of the North (1998) and Another Place (1997). In Event Horizon (2007), which has been shown in London, Rotterdam, and New York, Gormley sited 31 body forms atop rooftops, riverbanks, and sidewalks within the dense urban environment. In One & Other (2009), a project for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London, he invited members of the public to create their own artwork on top of the plinth for one hour time slots over a period of 100 days.

British, b. 1950, London, United Kingdom, based in London, United Kingdom