Antony Gormley - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 4, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Salvatore Ala Gallery, Milan
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    New York, Salvatore Ala Gallery, Antony Gormley, 15 April - 31 May 1989
    Los Angeles, Ace Gallery, Field, 1999

  • Literature

    Please note the work can be displayed at variable sizes: the scale of the piece is determined by the size of the space it is installed in. The minimum size of the work is as illustrated, with 558 of the 1,200 figures installed.

  • Catalogue Essay

    This is Field II, and is Gormley’s first collaborative work in clay where he recognised the importance of shared origination, working with friends and assistants to make over one thousand figures by hand. It is made of brick clay that Gormley dug from the ground near the Essex coast, which was fired and dipped in black slip. The work was made for Gormley’s solo exhibition at Salvatore Ala Gallery, New York, in 1989. The first work titled Field (1984–85), was a standing, life-size, lead bodycase with outstretched, elongated arms.

    In Field II, the viewer is confronted by the expectant, upward looking gazes of the hundreds of small, hand-sized figures facing inwards at his or her feet. Divided into two hemispheres as if a transection of the brain, it allows the viewer to pass between the mirrored sides to become the subject of the work’s gaze. The idea was to make a concentrated energy zone like a magnetic field as a concentrating zone for self-reflection. The work makes earth conscious and allows it to address us.

    Field II was followed two years later by the making of the American Field (1991). Gormley worked with brickmakers and their families in the Parish of San Matías, Cholula, Mexico. They made a field of 35,000 figures, which were exhibited as a solid mass, facing towards the viewer, to fill gallery and non-gallery spaces in America and Canada. Here, the viewer stands at the threshold of the work and becomes subject to the collective gaze of many thousands of hand-sized figures.

    In the context of limited resources and ever rising human population, and our concerns over migration, the Field works have an ever greater contemporary relevance. Gormley has spoken about these works ‘as being about the spirit of the ancestors but also those of the unborn; asking those of us that have freedom of movement, feeling and intelligence, what kind of world we are making and what are we prepared to share?’



Field II

1,200 terracotta figures
overall dimensions variable, each approx. 20 cm (7 7/8 in.)
Executed in 1989, this work is accompanied by an installation guide provided by the Antony Gormley studio.

£150,000 - 200,000 ‡♠

Sold for £221,000

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

Henry Highley
Head of Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 5 October 2016