16 July 2014

Crosby

On Crosby Beach north of Liverpool there are a hundred iron men. They all look seawards and do not say a word. At Crosby, the beach is wide and when the tide is out it seems more like an estuary than a beach for it is situated at the point where the River Mersey meets the Irish Sea. It was here where the British sculptor Sir Antony Gormley found a home for his visionary art installation - "Another Place". The figures are strategically positioned along two sweeping kilometres of beach. Some are at the low tide mark while others are higher up the beach close to the coastal path which sits atop concrete marine defences. The men were placed here in 2006 and though at first the figures were iron clones - identical to each other - now they are changing. Some are corroding more than others, some stand high above the sand while others are waist deep in it. Some are covered in  barnacles while others have been "dressed" by passers by. It is an amazing artwork to behold and I am so pleased that on Monday morning the weather was kind for my observations. It is possible to place different "meanings" on these iron men, to interpret them but all the while they remain silent, looking seawards - perhaps to "Another Place". Seven more pictures from the hundred I took:-

25 comments:

  1. love the one in a dress

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    1. his knickers are round his ankles John.

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    1. Strange - yes - maybe. They make you think.

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  3. Hmmm... I must admit I find them slightly scary. No, scary is not the right word. Unnerving? They just stand there, unmoving and unmoved, mute and deaf and blind. Or...? Maybe they're not, and that is just my projection.
    Great work of art, no matter how you look at it.
    Strange that this is the first time I hear about it!

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    1. Another Place was first exhibited on the beach of Cuxhaven, Germany, in 1997 and after that in Stavanger in Norway and De Panne in Belgium. I agree that there is an unnerving quality about them. Maybe life itself is also unnerving.

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  4. Love these ~ Gormley's statues have been copied across the world. We had them on The Strand when I was living in Townsville at their Strand Ephemera art exhibition. One was sun baking on a li-lo.

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    1. Gormley has made many figures like these but I believe his ambitious installation at Crosby is his masterpiece.

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    2. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ptrg/6043391541/in/photostream/

      Here is the photo stream I was referring to. Hope you like Searching for Harold and Harold's Back ~ references perhaps to our Prime Minister Harold Holt who was lost in the surf.

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  5. I must admit that I'm with Librarian here. I find them a bit scary and unnerving too. It must be quite eerie to see them standing there while the sea gradually engulfs some of them.... like someone trying to commit suicide and all the others just watching. Certainly art that provokes thought and dialogue from its observers, obviously achieving what it set out to do !

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    1. Helen - Antony Gormley knew what he was doing and that "Another Place" would arouse a variety of responses. After a while I felt a little pity for each statue and I also felt that they were in many ways just like me - always looking beyond what I have and what I know.

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  6. I have had this on my list of things to ponder and admire for years. I must remember to go and see them.

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    1. Tides and the time of day will of course affect any pictures you take.

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  7. I first saw this some years ago when visiting my brother and subsequently more recently when visiting a friend who lives not far away. On each occasion I felt quite differently about them. On both occasions, though, the sheer unstiring presence as they stared out to sea was almost overwhelming. I've seen examples in other places too: the most memorable and notable being in San Giminiano. I blogged ably them here.

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    1. I saw one of the Gormley men atop a tall tree stump at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield. But it is the perspective at Crosby that grabs observers - the men seem part of a never ending army of silent iron onlookers.

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  8. Disconcerting!! I'm pleased you took the photos, I would never get to see them otherwise. I also examined the background in each photo and found many things of interest there as well. Where does the Steam Packet travel to or from?
    Ms Soup

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    1. Ms Mushroom Soup - That boat travels daily between Liverpool and The Isle of Man which is in the middle of the Irish Sea.

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  9. When I first heard about them I thought 'how daft'. Now I get it.

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    1. Gormley's work always seems to "connect" with ordinary people... not that I am saying you are "ordinary" - no way. You are "extraordinary"! I am pleased you "get it".

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  10. I don't find them unnerving or frightening at all. It is there that we scattered Hugh's ashes and it seemed a peaceful and suitable place.

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    1. I think that the iron men will be looking out for Hugh. Maybe his spirit is in one of them now. Hopefully, not the one in the skirt!

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  11. Is it because I have lived in the mountains for so long that I have never heard about these "men?" I find them eternally fascinating! Not at all weird for anyone considered that themselves. Anyone can make of them anything that they desire......from their own psyche......from their own take on the world. I must find out more!! How is it that the tide does not make them fall over? Google and Wikipedia here I come!!

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    1. Mama Thyme - They are driven into the sand on deep pilings. Every one I saw was perfectly upright. Many of them are covered by water at high tide and then re-emerge as the tide recedes. I am so pleased to have been the messenger.

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  12. Is the dog peeing on one of them?! ( Sorry, I had to ask!)

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    1. Yes Jennifer, he is and afterwards he barked at me like a hungry wolf - teeth bared and slavering until his dumb owner appeared claiming, "He'll not hurt you!" Oh yeah!

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.