28 May 2007

Antony Gormley's Ubiquitous Naked Body

British Sculptor Antony Gormley has a new work, called Event Horizon in which statues of his naked body will appear in many locations throughout London between 17th May and 19th August. Each statue is strategically positioned on buildings and rooftops to encourage Londoners and tourists to look up to the horizon.

Photo Jim Dyson/Getty Images on Guardian Unlimited website
Gormley is famous for his works which almost always feature his own naked body. I was curious to see his chart ( 30.8.1950, London). Although there is no time of birth available and the chart is set up for noon, I was fascinated to see this yields an unaspected Saturn in Virgo. It is possible, with a correct time of birth, that the Moon might have moved into aspect with Saturn, but it’s Gormley’s Saturn that I want to focus on in this brief look at his chart.

His motivation is to be flexible and dynamic, able to move on and adapt. His colour balance shows an excess of red aspects, indicating an over-riding emphasis on activity and action. Saturn in an individual’s chart can represent a variety of different things, from fears to an overemphasised adherence to rules, a retentive memory, sound organisation, structure, physical aspects of manifestation and the actual physical body itself. In Gormley’s case, his body is an integral part of his work as an artist and if, in his chart, Saturn is unaspected, then this presents a very interesting theme.

Unaspected planets, which are not linked into the main aspect structure, rely on the environment to give the person a sense of what that particular part of their personality is about. Unaspected planets charge off into the world and eagerly absorb what they find and experience there. The environment stimulates the unaspected planet; the person relies on the feedback it gets in order to get more of a handle on the qualities and energies of the planet for themselves. How appropriate this is for Gormley’s Saturn!

A quote on his work says “25 years work ..... has revitalised the human image through a radical investigation of the body as a place of memory and transformation”. In 1994, when he was 44 and approaching the Low Point of the 8th House (often a significant turning point) he won the Turner Prize for art. He became well-known in 1998 for his “Angel of the North” statue in Gateshead. This is a large and impressive work to view and sits unmissably on a small hill beside a busy main road. (Image from Gateshead gov.website)

His other famous work is “Another Place” on Crosby Beach near Liverpool. This consists of 100 figures of himself stretching out into the sea. At high tide many of them are covered by the sea; at low tide it’s possible to see most of them and to walk amongst them. I’ve done this twice and on each occasion the experience was different because of weather variations and changes in light and visibility.
Photos of Another Place by Barry Hopewell

A final comment on Gormley’s (probably) unaspected Saturn. I heard him interviewed on radio several years ago and he talked about how the casts of his body were made. His wife assists in covering his body with cling film, then plaster is applied and is left to set. During this time he has to remain completely still and breathes through straws inserted in his nostrils. He said that this was the most challenging part of the process, and I can’t imagine a more intense way of living and expressing an unaspected Saturn in perfectionist Virgo than this.

You can find out more about Gormley’s work at www.antonygormley.com and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antony_Gormley


GreenAbby said...

Fascinating. We went to see his new exhibition at the Hayward gallery a week and a half ago. His acclaimed 'Blind Light' piece - a glass box of 'fog' which you walk around and literally cannot see anyone more than 1 foot away from you, was really amazing and recommended - talk about 'living' his art in a very tangible way!

His brief biography in the gallery guide says that he does Vipassana meditation. I imagine he has studied and practiced this quite intensely and/or regularly over the years. It probably also helps him to remain still with straws up his nostrils for extended periods of time!

Joyce Hopewell said...

Wish I lived near enough to London to pop into the Hayward Gallery - that "foggy" exhibit sounds quite amazing, and it's so interesting to hear how once again it's a very physical experience.

barbara said...

Hi Joyce,
That is so unusual. I have never seen scultures where the artist is the subject.
That must be very surprising to see his statue on the beach like that!
It doesn't shock me one bit. The human body is already a fabulous work of art in itself.

Thank you for your always fascinating chart insights :)

See you again soon.