Antony Gormley - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Wednesday, October 5, 2016 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Coracle Gallery, London
    Sotheby’s, London, July 3, 1998, lot 410
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present lot is an enlightening example of Antony Gormley’s early work – as a sculpture executed in 1982-3, only a year after the sculptor’s first solo exhibition, it exemplifies the beginnings of Gormley’s fascination with the human form, and his drive to express the human conditions in his sculpture. In this work the artist traces the outline of a human form onto a stone in one continuous line, just deep enough for the image to be on the cusp between a drawing and the arising of a self-determined form from the stone itself. The artist describes this series of works as a reaction to the traditional relationship between sculpture and the human form: ‘I wanted to reverse Michelangelo's slaves, where a quarried square rock had to conform to the represented body. In PLANETS and MAN ROCK, the outline of the body conforms to the stone, suggesting a dependency.’ (Antony Gormley, Man Rock and Planets, 1982-2002, online resource). As the process of making this sculpture consisted of physically tracing a living body on an inert material, this piece is an early example of the artist’s exploration of the contact between material and body – a relationship that underscores the whole of his oeuvre.


Man Rock

Portland limestone
54 x 46 x 44 cm. (21 1/4 x 18 1/8 x 17 3/8 in.)
Executed in 1982-1983.

£70,000 - 90,000 ‡♠

Contact Specialist
Tamila Kerimova
+ 44 20 7318 4065

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 6 October 2016