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Antony Gormley – seam

Sold for 3.100.000 SEK at Uppsala Auktionskammare’s Important Sale 5-9 december 2017..

462. Antony Gormley (England born 1950). ”Seam”. Unique work.
Signed on included photo certificate, dated 15 May 1998: ”This is my work, Antony G”.
Lead, fibreglass, plaster and air, 50 x 197 x 43 cm.

The British artist Antony Gormley has become widely famous for his striking sculptures and installations, works of art that investigate the relationship of human body and space. As the contemporary highlight in this Important Sale, Uppsala Auktionskammare is very pleased to offer Seam, a monumental sculpture created by the artist in 1988.

Seam belongs to the series of Early Single Lead Bodycase works made between 1983-1988. The artist started making the single lead bodycases for a standing man after making three-part bodycase works, and tried “to repossess the standing male figure, but in a different way from heroic sculpture.” His later works within this series, including Seam, seek to understand the relationship between the human skin and the skin of the earth through the horizontal position in which they lay. The close and intimate relationship between human beings and the earth is widely investigated and the sculptures deal directly with the existing bond through its expression as a human figure. Gormley first used lead as a medium for his sculptures in the late 1970’s, intrigued by finding a material that could easily be moulded and constructed in his studio. After experimenting with everyday objects surrounding him like bowls or stones, he started to use his own body as a model for his sculptures in collaboration with his partner and fellow artist Vicken Parsons in the beginning of the 1980’s. When doing so, he managed to build a figure that both contained and occupied space at the same time. Gormley tried to move away from the traditional way of experiencing the body as a thing, towards evoking it more as a place or a “physical and spatial experience”.

“I regard my body as the vehicle through
which all my impressions of the world come,
and equally I want to use my body as the vehicle
through which anything that I have to communicate
with the world can be carried”

– Antony Gormley

The interest in the visual and invisible led Gormley to mould several pieces after his body in the following years after his first male figure, working with different materials in his creations such as lead, plaster, fibreglass and air. “Seam” was made from a plaster mould, which was reinforced with fibreglass. The skin has been made of dark grey lead, comprising of several plates welded together to one unit. Geometrical lines in a paler grey tone are visible throughout the body – creating a structure and revealing a total awareness of the human body. When shaping the figure from his body, the nude artist was wrapped in a cling film and covered in two layers of plaster and a woven material. The lead was in the final stage hammered over the mould, making the form of the sculpture slightly larger than the actual size of the body it was shaped from. The face, hand and feet show little to no details, a simplified result from the casting process allowing only the nose to be a visible feature in the face. The body poses horizontally; it is lying down on the side with both arms and hands positioned relaxed along the sides of the body. Gormley said about using his own body as a method for sculpturing: “I regard my body as the vehicle through which all my impressions of the world come, and equally I want to use my body as the vehicle through which anything that I have to communicate with the world can be carried”.

Antony Gormley was born in London in 1950 as the youngest of seven children. After studies in archaeology, anthropology and the history of art at Trinity College in Cambridge he later completed his studies with a postgraduate course in sculpture at The Slade School of Fine Art in London. Gormley’s breakthrough as an artist came after his first solo exhibition held at The Whitechapel Art Gallery in London in 1981 and has ever since been widely exhibited both in the UK and Internationally. His works of art are represented in several important permanent museum collections worldwide, such as at Tate Modern in London who purchased Antony Gormley’s standing male sculpture “Untitled (for Francis)” from 1985 (also part of the Early Single Lead Bodycase works) in 1987. Some of Gormley’s monumental permanent public sculptures include among several others the masterpiece “Angel of the North” situated in Gateshead in the north of England and “Another Place” on Crosby Beach near Liverpool. Many of his important sculptures and projects have been awarded prestigious international prizes – such as the Turner Prize in 1994, the South Bank Prize for Visual Art in 1999 and the Bernhard Heiliger Award for Sculpture in 2007.

From an Important Swedish Private Collection, this distinguished work by Antony Gormley has never before been at auction. Uppsala Auktionskammare is proud to now offer an exciting and unique opportunity to acquire one of Gormley’s early rare masterpiece sculptures.

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