‘I don’t know what art is, but we have to make these things to understand ourselves’: Antony Gormley interviewed in New York

“People associate me, for whatever reason, with the body – I think that’s fair enough,” says Antony Gormley when we catch up via Zoom, as he prepares for the opening Aerial photo at White Cube New York. ‘But I am and have always been as interested in the viewer’s body as in my own, as an example of a human body in space.’

It’s a concern he builds on Aerial photo through sculpture, which refers to his earlier considerations of proprioceptive environments that we have seen in the cave-like environment Roomthe compelling Blind light and in the Breathing space drawings. “They are all attempts to somehow capitalize on space itself and create environments in which the viewer’s body is invited to perceive its own movement through time and space,” Gormley adds. ‘And you could say that there are some works that do both. To take Model, space station, cave – they are all, as it were, buildings, but made with reference to the shape of the body that you can actually enter and move through. And I will continue that line of thought.’

orange figure-like structure made of bricks

Installation view of Antony Gormley ‘AERIAL’, White Cube New York April 30 – June 15, 2024

(Image credit: Photo by Stephen White & Co. © the artist)

In Aerial photo In the work – from which the White Cube show takes its title – massive aluminum rods create a grid of dispersed energy into which the viewer is invited. The lightweight properties of the material, which made it a natural structural choice, appealed to Gormley, as did its relationship with light. ‘These spires, elements, roots, branches – whatever we want to call them – reach into space and try to work in a way as a transmitter or sensor. It’s almost like a dowsing rod: if a big truck comes along Madison Avenue while you’re walking, the whole thing starts to shake.”