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Salisbury Cathedral: Spirit & Endeavour

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22 Sir Antony Gormley OBE RA b. 1950 Antony Gormley has had major solo shows at venues including the Royal Academy of Arts, London; Delos, Greece; Uffizi Gallery, Florence; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Long Museum, Shanghai; Forte di Belvedere, Florence; Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil; State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg and Hayward Gallery, London. He won the Turner Prize in 1994 and has been a member of the Royal Academy since 2003. He was made an Officer of the British Empire in 1997 and knighted in 2014. GRIP (NET), 2019 is a recent work from Antony Gormley's polyhedral series which began over ten years ago, where an anatomically described body is replaced with one made of tightly nested and sharp-edged polygonal cells. Unlike earlier works from the series that are produced in cast iron, the 'net' sculptures turn the masses of the cast polyhedral works into fine webs of stainless-steel bar to construct a three-dimensional drawing that trembles in space. There are two principles inherent to polygons: firstly, the natural forms of hexagons familiar to us in basalt rock formations or in beehives, and secondly, the bubble-matrix – the most efficient way of bounding space that is found in all forms, the inner structure of bones and reeds. It allows the random generation of many-sided polygons, from tetrahedrons to rhombicosidodecahedrons and beyond, through the strict geometry of three-and four-element vertices. For Gormley, this combination of the use of disciplined geometry and random generative processes 'evokes our connection with wider principles of material aggregation, while alluding to the temporary nature of embodied consciousness'. Placed high in the arch of the transept in Salisbury Cathedral, barely visible until noticed, the work attempts to connect us with the incommensurable. 'Antony Gormley's stainless-steel figure, perched high above us, in the scissor arch, makes us deeply aware of our fragility. Salisbury Cathedral with its shallow foundations and the enormous weight of its spire, is itself a potentially fragile building. It gives the impression of a solidity which no image of a human being could replicate.' Revd Stephen Tucker GRIP (Net), 2019 0.15 cm square section stainless steel bar 193 x 48.5 x 38 cm © The Artist Courtesy of the artist How might this fragile metallic of human form lead you to think about your body and its significance?

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