6 Times
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rzarlif's picture


Just to creep out tourists, Antony Gormley has put 6 of his expressionless, life-size casts along the Water of Leith in Edinburgh.

The statues are of his own non-descript naked body, but feel completely anonymous. The first is chest deep in asphalt in the driveway of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. The next four are standing smack dab in the river and help city officials gauge the height of the water. The final one looks out from the Leith dock, towards the ocean.

The lack of expression, the shapeless bodies with bolt nipples and weird placement is disturbing, but also draws you in. Why does this guy not care that he's stuck in asphalt? Is he so at peace that he’s not bothered or is it a determination not to show his agony? Maybe the situation is much worse. Maybe he doesn’t realize that he’s sunk into the black tar and has become its prisoner. Think the Matrix without the blue pill.

6 Times shares something with the heavy metal works of Richard Serra. The art in each case is less in the thing itself than where it’s placed and how that placement makes people feel. Gromley in particular likes to put his sculptures in the most unlikely places possible, like sculptural graffiti. On top of skyscrapers, on the sidewalks of busy streets, in rivers or on the beach and in the ocean, on top of mountains, and in olive groves.