Wednesday, 2 April 2008

The Gormley Effect

Until last weekend, my only glimpse of Antony Gormley’s famous sculpture The Angel of the North had been while driving past on the A1. The setting, in between two busy roads, struck me as rather eccentric, but – as I hope the photographs demonstrate - it made more sense to me when I was finally able to park close by and walk right up to it.

Gormley’s work strikes me as really powerful. Not just in its size and scale – apparently the Angel’s wingspan is only a little less than that of a jumbo jet – but also in the mood it creates. Its starkness and simplicity are deeply impressive.

His Iron Men (aka ‘Another Place’) on the waterfront running from Waterloo to Crosby in Merseyside are equally dramatic. They feature in key scenes in Waterloo Sunset, and make a vivid impression on Harry Devlin, both half-way through the book and right at the end. I hope I have at least been able to capture in fiction the impact that the figures make on the character, and I’d like to think that the images will continue to resonate with some readers for quite a while after they have finished the novel.

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