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White Cube is pleased to present ‘In Formation’ by Antony Gormley, an exhibition of new cast iron work that questions to what extent we are the product of our environment, and to what extent we are makers of it.
On the ground floor are four ‘Stack’ works: massive, one and a half life-size sculptures built from solid cast iron blocks that each weigh between 11 and 700 kilos. The component parts are loose and use dead weight as a principle of construction; it is the subtle inflection of how one block takes the load from another that suggests the attitudes of repose, lamentation or alertness of the whole. Freshly unearthed from foundry sand, the blocks have the appearance of stone in their organic, silvered surfaces. Evoking the idea of the column, Gormley sees them as ‘reverse caryatids’, sculpted figures that served as architectural pillars in the ancient world. Rather than offering reinforcement, however, these ‘Stacks’ lean on the walls for support.
The works in this exhibition are part of Gormley’s ongoing questioning of the human project in light of our industrial inheritance, our embodied selves at a time of perpetual mutability and the knowledge we now have of our profound effect on the elemental world.