The Turner Prize-winning artist Sir Antony Gormley has been criticised by students at the University of East Anglia for creating an installation resembling ‘People contemplating suicide’. The sculptor has placed life-sized cast-iron figures on the top of tall buildings on the campus.
“The university is proud to be hosting thought-provoking work by an artist of such international acclaim.”
Sir Antony Gormley’s work is part of an exhibition by the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts and will be on display for five years. UAE said it “is proud” to be hosting “thought-provoking work”. The human figures are part of art project featuring three Gormley sculptures. Several students, however, have complained that in a high-stress incubator such as a university campus the work is frivolous, insensitive and inappropriate. One student added it undermines people with mental health issues.
In a statement, UEA said; “The reaction of the university community has been overwhelmingly positive and we are sure the three figures will become much-loved focal points in our campus landscape.” The figures are part of a plan to create a sculpture trail at the UAE campus.
Antony Gormley was born in 1950 in London, England, where he lives and works. He has participated in major group exhibitions including the International Sculpture Biennale of Carrara, Italy (2008 and 2010); the Sydney Biennale (2006); Documenta VIII, Kassel, Germany (1987) and the Venice Biennale (1982 and 1986). Solo exhibitions include Forte Belvedere, Florence (2015); Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern (2014); Middelheim Museum, Antwerp (2013); Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, São Paulo, Rio di Janeiro and Brasilia (2012); Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2012); State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (2011); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2010); Artium, Valencia (2009); Kunsthall Rotterdam, Musée d’Art Moderne De Saint-Etienne Metropole, France and MARCO, Monterrey, Mexico (2008); Hayward Gallery, London (2007); MADRE, Naples (2006); Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon (2004); Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, England (2003) and the National History Museum, Beijing (2003). Major public works include the Angel of the North, Gateshead, England; Another Place, Crosby Beach, England; Exposure, Lelystad, The Netherlands; Chord, MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA. He was awarded the Turner Prize in 1994 and made an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1997. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and has been a Royal Academician since 2003. in 2014 he was made Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire for Services to the Arts.