Image: Antony Gormley's Time Horizon
Antony Gormley 'Time Horizon', 2006. Photo: Theo Christelis
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Antony Gormley's Time Horizon A 'judgmental army' of 100 cast-iron men

26 April 2024

Antony Gormley's latest artwork, installed in the grounds of the stately Houghton Hall in Norfolk, is an "almost judgmental" comment on our "ever more divided world".

The London-born sculptor "used his own body to mould the sculptures" of 100 life-size figures "similar to his famous iron men on Crosby beach in Merseyside", said the BBC.

Gormley has been "showing different configurations of these cast-iron sculptures" for decades, said The Telegraph. This latest iteration, entitled "Time Horizon", appears in the grounds of Houghton Hall, a "grand Palladian mansion" that was built in the 18th century for Britain's first prime minister, Robert Walpole, and is now the family home of the Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley. 

One sculpture is half-buried in its entrance-hall floor. This was "the first work to go in", said The Sunday Times, and is the "baseline from which all the other figures take their position", creating a "single horizontal plane across the landscape and the geological processes that shaped it".

There are "99 others like him, in 23 subtly different poses, scattered across 300 acres of parkland", said The Telegraph. Norfolk may be one of England's flattest counties, but "now suddenly even the tiniest undulations are made apparent". 

Each figure weighs 620kg, with an average height of 191cm, said the BBC. Many simply stand on the ground – but "others are buried up to their waist or neck, or are positioned on a plinth".

Gormley's "army of silent men, frozen in time, surveying the manicured landscape of an English Versailles" appears "almost judgmental", said Kirsty Lang in The Sunday Times. "Are they everymen questioning the privilege of their surroundings?" Lang asked the artist. "By implication, yes," he said. "In this ever more divided world, between rich and poor, between the 1 per cent and the rest, where does justice come in?"

"Not since Henry Moore or Barbara Hepworth has a sculptor connected with the British public on such a scale" as Gormley, best known for the "Angel of the North", said Lang. 

Gormley has said that his "ambition for this show is that people should roam far and wide". In a statement, the artist said: "'Time Horizon' is not a picture, it is a field and you are in it." He estimates that it "will take the average visitor two to three hours to walk around the entire work".

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