Image: Antony Gormley art unveiled outside Wells Cathedral
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Antony Gormley art unveiled outside Wells Cathedral

27 August 2021

An abstract sculpture made by artist Antony Gormley has been unveiled in front of a 14th century cathedral.

The human figure made from cast iron titled DOUBT will sit in front of Wells Cathedral in Somerset until February 2023.

Mr Gormley said placing it outside of a place of worship was "paradoxical" but meaningful because "doubt is an important part of belief".

A cathedral leader said some locals had reacted negatively to the piece.

Mr Gormley said the sculpture depicts a body that has collapsed into itself "but the head juts out enquiringly into space at large."

Local businesses fundraised £1,880 to transport the sculpture to the city.

The Cathedral Works Department and Gormley Studio teams have created a temporary plinth for the artwork to stand on to ensure it has no impact on the historic fabric of the cathedral

Chancellor Rob James, of Wells cathedral, said the sculpture instalment had caused a little "local controversy".

"Whenever you touch an old building that will cause some negative reactions, some people love the form of the sculpture, some people don't," he said.

He also commented on how the sculpture's title had divided local opinion.

"Doubt is not the opposite of faith, it is part of somebody's faith journey," he added.

'A positive force'

Mr Gormley said: "I am very aware of the paradox of placing an object called DOUBT on the façade of a building devoted to belief, but it seems to me that doubting, interrogating, questioning, are all part of belief," he said.

"For me doubt can be a positive force and the imaginative engine of future possibility."

The Very Reverend Dr John Davies, Dean of Wells, said: "Medieval and modern, ancient, and contemporary.

"Will we see contrast or complementarity? Come and see, then decide."

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