Close Your Eyes to Open Them

Antony Gormley sculpts the space within us and without us.

Close your eyes for a minute. Here we are, in a space, the subjective, collective space of the darkness of the body. I think of this as the place of imagination, of potential, but what are its qualities? It is objectless. There are no things in it. It is dimensionless. It is limitless. It is endless.

This is the space I think sculpture occupies—which is a bit of a paradox, as sculpture is about making material propositions—but I think that sculpture can connect us with this space.

OK, open your eyes. This is a place that I just would like you to look at differently because in general, closing and opening our eyes just asks us to look again at this world, so different from the world that we have been sharing with each other, the technological world. This allows us to look again at the elemental world that we all occupy. It is the environment of the intimate, subjective space that each of us lives in.

Can we use a body, any body, flesh or bronze, as an empty catalyst for a kind of empathy with the experience of space-time as it is lived by each of us, as we try to make connections between us as human beings, in this space-time that we are presently sharing? Can we use the memory of a body, of a human space, to catalyze an experience, again and again, to feel a firsthand, universal human experience, of elemental time?

For me, art is not about objects of high monetary exchange. It’s about reasserting our firsthand experience in present time. As John Cage said, “We are not moving towards some kind of goal. We are at the goal, and it is changing with us. If art has any purpose, it is to open our eyes to that fact.” —Antony Gormley

Photography courtesy of Antony Gormley.

Antony Gormley’s artwork has been exhibited at the world’s leading museums and galleries, including the Tate, the Museum of Modern Art, and many others. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Turner Prize. He was a speaker at TEDGlobal 2012.

Radical Openness

Issue 17

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