New Gormley sculpture for Wells

A NEW work by Antony Gormley will be exhibited on the West front of Wells Cathedral, on loan from the artist, from the end of August this year.

In conjunction with Wells Art Contemporary (WAC) and Project Factory Community Interest Company, Wells Cathedral is collaborating with Antony Gormley to produce the new work, which will be cast in iron, just over life-size, and will occupy an empty niche below the North- West tower.

The West front has many examples of the human form, from Old Testament characters to the Resurrection, from kings and bishops to angels and apostles.

The acclaimed sculptor, whose many works include Field for the British Isles and the Angel of the North, says: “I have chosen this niche for its position and its visibility: the book at the end of the bookshelf. I have used the orthogonal geometry of our modern habitat to evoke the body as a place rather than as a carrier of narrative illustrated by appearance and attribute.

“The work attempts to invoke the feeling of being isolated and exposed on this corner of a Gothic masterpiece. My purpose is to engage the eye and body of the viewer in empathic projection, to consider our time in the shelter of other times.”

The Dean of Wells, the Very Rev Dr John Davies, describes the West front of Wells Cathedral as “one of the wonders of medieval architecture – a triumph of statuary and design. “The installation of the new Gormley sculpture will add a contemporary work by one of our greatest contemporary sculptors.

Paddy O’Hagan, who chairs Wells Art Contemporary, says: “The work itself is not just the sculpture. As in his other public commissions, where and how the piece is placed and the ways it interacts with its environment and context are equally important. In this case the West Front has a number of mediaeval figures, as well as three modern pieces. The Gormley work will be in dialogue with all these elements.”