being within being
Inside us there is always something else being born. We have bodies that are very good, provisional habitations for the spirit. We use them and through our time in the mind and the body we are making room or creating another kind of being. Those experiences of extension from the body are signs of the potentiality of that process.
I want to turn things round, or make you feel maybe there is somewhere outside the outside, or there are areas of experience that are independent of the functional side of the personal.
The space I’m interested in, and try to enter, is adimensional. It doesn’t have this quality of dimension and it makes no sense to say “in front, behind, left, right.” You loose all sense of those kinds of coordinates.
The impossible thing I’m trying to do is accept that we live in the world of the visible but make it unsatisfactory enough that behind the visible is some other kind of potential that does not exist in the sculpture, but exists in you the viewer.
The Angel of the North
Steel, 20m tall, wingspan 54 m
The wings are angled forward to create “a sense of embrace.”
The sculpture stands on a hill on the southern edge of Low Fell,
overlooking the A1 road and the A167 road into Tyneside and the East Coast Main Line rail track.
Since its unveiling on Valentine’s Day in 1998 an estimated 90,000 people a day have viewed The Angel of the North.
Part of me would like to believe in the Theravada Buddhist tradition – that you can transmit love as a vibration which is independent of any object. It radiates out. It is registered in that space of the darkness of the body, rather than in the other world, the world of daily life, external appearances. I think that makes me feel there is a kind of collective experience of the inner space of the body.
It’s why the darkness of the body is important. It’s completely non conditional. People in the West are extremely frightened about this. It is only accessible through direct physical relationship and it’s not put there or contextualized. It seems to many to be a denial of the whole positivistic and progressive idea about Western civilization.
The Angel of the North
I want people to feel they’re inside the work.
I’d like to feel the sculpture does that. It’s being within being. It’s a small and inert catalyst, a bit of matter used to catalyze your sense of being immersed in light and matter. Through the work you may become aware of the breath passing though the channels of your nose, or the weight running though your knees. Aware of the world that you inhabit and your aliveness within.
– Antony Gormley
Edited extracts from F David Peat’s interview with Antony Gormley
Copyright F David Peat
Read the entire interview at F David Peat’s website