Image: Sir Antony Gormley
Antony Gormley, Time Horizon, 2006. Photograph by Pete Huggins
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Sir Antony Gormley Artist's iron men take over grounds of Norfolk stately home

12 April 2024

By Steven McIntosh & Ian Youngs

One hundred life-size cast iron figures have appeared in the grounds of an 18th Century house in Norfolk, in the latest major artwork by Sir Antony Gormley.

The artist used his own body to mould the sculptures, which have been placed around Houghton Hall before officially opening to the public later this month.

They are similar to his famous iron men on Crosby beach in Merseyside.

But the new Time Horizon installation, partly a comment on wealth inequality, has not been seen in the UK before.

Sir Antony told BBC Breakfast on Friday: "The idea is to really investigate what we all depend upon.

"So there may be social hierarchies, but I've been thinking about our relationship to the planet, and how can we puncture the visible surface. Rather than decorating the place, I wanted to interrogate it." He added: "This is a dispersed work, this isn't one great big object, it's a kind of infection of space as a whole. "And I hope that what it means is that everybody that comes makes their own work, their own journey, their own connection between place, object and thought."

Time Horizon was originally commissioned in 2006 for an archaeological site in southern Italy, with the sculptures funded by the taxpayers of the Catanzaro province.

Each figure weighs 620kg and they have an average height of 191cm. Spread over 300 acres, many simply stand on the ground - but others are buried up to their waist or neck, or are positioned on a plinth.

The installation will be open to the public from 21 April until 31 October. 

Asked by the Sunday Times earlier this month whether the iron sculptures represented everymen questioning the privilege of their surroundings, Sir Antony replied: "By implication, yes. "In this ever more divided world," he continued, "between rich and poor, between the 1% and the rest, where does justice come in?"

Born in Hampstead in 1950, Sir Antony's career has seen him become one of the best-known artists in Britain. He is perhaps best known for his Angel of the North sculpture in Gateshead, but his work has been showcased all over the UK.

His recent work includes another human figure made from cast iron, titled Doubt, which was displayed in front of Wells Cathedral in Somerset until February 2023.

Another Gormley figure can be seen in Yorkshire Sculpture Park, after being moved three times due to the natural deterioration of the tree stump it had been placed on.

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