Review Round Up: Antony Gormley, Royal Academy of Arts

We round up the reviews for the Royal Academy’s new exhibition focusing on the work of Antony Gormley.

Antony Gormley, Earth, Body, Light, 1989. Earth, rabbit skin glue and black pigment on paper, 38 x 28 cm © the Artist.

The Observer: “The shortfall between the art and Gormley’s exalted ambitions for it is typically stark. In the exhibition guide, he says he wants to heighten “our sense of position in time and space” with the unappealingly titled Co-Ordinate VI. This consists of a metal bar running through three galleries, just above head height. It measures the rooms like a surveyor’s laser, except without the exciting red glow. One gallery contains nothing but this bar. Never has a room of the Royal Academy felt so empty.”

The Economist: “At the Royal Academy (RA), “Lost Horizon” (2008) groups together 24 such cast-iron figures, some standing upright, others parallel to the floor or suspended from the ceiling. They fill a room, yet are only a small part of a show which combines new commissions with site-specific remakes of earlier work.”

The Guardian: *** “Gormley’s musings about bodies and being are too unfocused, and ultimately too polite, to land the political punches they attempt. Where’s the tension? Where’s the real debate?”

Time Out: *** “But the thing is, if you’re going be one-note, you’d better be really good at playing it. And you’ve got to give it to Antony Gormley, he really is.”

Evening Standard: **** “Everything in the show is simple. It is all graphic clear outlines and no colour except rare outbursts of beige and rust, and a bit of brick red powder. It is a show of accessible meaning: the self, huge scale, masculine materials, sudden nice emptiness.”

The Telegraph: *** “Above all, this exhibition establishes, beyond doubt, that Sir Antony is more intriguing when he is working in abstract rather than figurative form. For all his bodies, in all their iterations, he is at his most captivating when there isn’t a single one in sight.”

The Upcoming: **** “For Gormley fans, though, this show is a treat, given that the artist has also opened up his collection of personal sketchbooks, giving us a phenomenal insight into this extraordinary sculptor.”

Culture Whisper: **** “To some, Gormley’s philosophies, laid out as they are here, may seem a little wishy-washy, but there is plenty to take your time over. This exhibition is designed not to instruct visitors on the artist’s life and progression – it hasn’t even been conceived as a retrospective – instead it is arranged to be experienced.”

iNews: *** “Gormley, too often seems to engage with the world as an engineering project, setting himself in dialogue with design, technology, architecture and astrophysics, rather than his fellow human beings. As with his spectacular metal structures, I can’t help but sense the chill of a void at the centre.”

The Royal Academy’s Antony Gormley Exhibition is on display until the 3rd December.

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