Good art should unsettle not soothe: Gormley

Wed Mar 5, 2008 11:01am EST
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By Jeremy Lovell

LONDON (Reuters) - Good art, says Antony Gormley, should make you feel unsettled, even challenged, and not fit neatly into your everyday life.

The role of the artist is to foment revolution not confirm the status quo says the man who created the monolithic Angel of the North statue and has turned his own body into an art industry.

"We have to continuously break our own rules. Artists are capable of falling foul of their own conventions, of getting lazy," Gormley told Reuters at the opening to the public on Wednesday of his two new works "Lost Horizon" and "Firmament."

"Art should be an agent of destabilization, an agent for change," added the 57-year-old Londoner.

Following the success of his first major retrospective at the Hayward Gallery and Event Horizon exhibition on the rooftops of London last year, Gormley's new installations at the White Cube, Mason's Yard are again based on his body.

"Lost Horizon" has 32 life-sized solid iron copies of Gormley's body adorning the floor, walls and ceiling of one room in the gallery.

"Firmament" has 1,770 steel rods welded together in a giant structure depicting the human form that arches across another, subterranean chamber.

"It is all about questioning where human beings fit into the world," Gormley said. "When you walk into these rooms they should unsettle you, make you reexamine your place."   Continued...

<p>Artist Antony Gormley's sculptural installation entitled 'Lost Horizon' is dispayed during a preview of his exhibition at the White Cube gallery in central London March 5, 2008. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico</p>