Made you look – Antony Gormley’s newest work
Outdoor exhibitions have become one of the few pleasures of lockdown (we’ve never walked so much!). If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next outing, Plymouth’s latest piece of major public art has enlisted one of the world’s most celebrated artists working today, Angel of the North creator Sir Antony Gormley.
To commemorate the opening of Plymouth’s new £40 million cultural centre, The Box, and Mayflower 400 – an honest and inclusive commemoration of the ship’s sailing from England to America and its challenging legacy in its 400th anniversary year – a large-scale sculpture was commissioned.
Permanently installed on the city’s waterfront at West Hoe Pier, where Sir Francis Chichester landed in 1967 after sailing around the world, Gormley’s LOOK II is a three-ton, 12-feet-high figure. Made from 22 blocks in one cast-iron form, the twice life-size figure symbolises a person gazing out to sea and yearning to travel across the horizon in order to establish a new life in another place.
In its exploration of migration, LOOK II also expresses the tensions between going and staying and the conflicting human desires of making roots and yearning for adventure and a life free from the constraints of history.
Antony Gormley said: “I am delighted by the site and honoured that this work has been commissioned by Plymouth to look out over the sea that has played such an important part in forming the outward-looking character of these islands.”
The sculpture was commissioned by The Box and Plymouth City Council.
Plymouth City Council Leader, Tudor Evans OBE, added: “Antony Gormley is one of the world’s most celebrated artists and I’m so pleased to be able to say that we have one of his sculptures permanently here in the city. We know some people were unsure when we initially announced it, but we’ve received loads of positive comments while the installation has been taking place. 2020 has been such a strange year but I’ve said throughout that we need to be brave and bold. LOOK II is a symbol of our ambitions, despite the challenging circumstances we find ourselves in. This will make our wonderful waterfront even more spectacular than before.”