11 years ago artist Antony Gormley installed 100 cast iron statues on Crosby beach in Liverpool. This haunting project, titled “Another Place,” was a commission from Liverpool Biennial. The figures, which were cast using Gormley’s own body, stand solidly on the beach looking out into the horizon, strong against the assault of brine and storm.
Going to the beach is one of those experiences, like looking at the stars, that reminds us of the vastness of the world, and our small space in it, both physically and temporally. The sea itself is a bit of an illusion. We know there is land somewhere beyond the looming curve of water, but it almost seems unimaginable that the rippling water ever ends. Going to the beach can seem like convening with the edges of the world.
We get hints at the depth’s drama with creatures washing on shore, most of them quickly returning to the sea to live a life mostly alien to us fragile airbreathers. The waves lull us with their constant pulse as they grind shells into a beautiful dust.
Still, these iron statues stand firm, audacious represntations of the human animal and the dreams we carry that feel eternal and impervious to the threat of time, to the relentlessly beautiful and dangerous natural world.
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