Antony Gormley’s installation ‘Field’ – consisting of 40,000 crudely made miniature clay figures – has found a new home at a Tudor National Trust Property near Ilminster in Somerset, known as Barrington Court. Gormley – the artist responsible for the iconic Angel of the North – won the Turner Prize in 1994, having been nominated for his exhibition at Tate Liverpool, which included Field.
The work was created by local people from St Helens in Merseyside, and took 30 tonnes of clay to create.
Gormley, who originally created the work in 1993, explained how ‘Field for the British Isles’ was his ‘first collaborative work’; ‘The concept was mine, but it could not have been made without the help of many people.’ ‘The instructions to create the work are very simple’, he explained; ‘You sit on the floor. You take a ball of clay from a pile. With your clay, you create a ‘body’ in the space between your hands. You allow it to stand up, and make it conscious by giving it eyes with the point of a sharpened pencil.’
‘That repeated action of taking a hand-sized ball of clay, squeezing it between your hands, standing it up and giving it consciousness becomes meditative, the repeated action becoming almost like breathing, or a heartbeat’, he added.
Of its fate since creation, Gormley describes how it ‘has been in the Arts Council Collection for years and has been seen in varied venues’, but is now delighted by its new home: ‘It’s good that the Trust commissions and shows new art. All art was contemporary once.’
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