I was amazed to learn of this remarkable public artwork, apparently the largest sculpture in Great Britain. Created by contemporary British sculptor Antony Gormley and erected in Gateshead in 1998. From its inception, the sheer size and £1 million price tag was sure to generate controversy.
You can even share your thoughts with the BBC and British public here.
As described by the artist:
Is it possible to make a work with purpose in a time that demands doubt? I wanted to make an object that would be a focus of hope at a painful time of transition for the people of the north-east, abandoned in the gap between the industrial and the information ages.
The work is made of corten steel, weighs 200 tonnes and has 500 tonnes of concrete foundations. The mound near the A1 motorway which was the designated site of the sculpture was made after the closure of the Lower Tyne Colliery, out of the destroyed remains of the pithead baths. It is a tumulus marking the end of the era of coal mining in Britain.
The Angel resists our post-industrial amnesia and bears witness to the hundreds and thousands of colliery workers who had spent the last three hundred years mining coal beneath the surface.
The scale of the sculpture was essential given its site in a valley that is a mile and a half a mile wide, and with an audience that was travelling past on the motorway at an average of 60 miles an hour.
According to Wikipedia:
As the name suggests, it is a steel sculpture of an angel, standing 66 feet (20 metres) tall, with wings measuring 178 feet (54 metres) across — making it wider than the Statue of Liberty’s height. The wings themselves are not planar, but are angled 3.5 degrees forward, which Gormley has said aims to create “a sense of embrace”. It stands on a hill, on the southern edge of Low Fell overlooking the A1 road and the A167 road into Tyneside and the East Coast Main Line rail route.
An artist cannot be judged alone by what may be his most notorious art work. Check out Gormley’s current works and works in progress.
Via the weblog Still Checking for Nits.