As we climbed up onto the sandy bank bordering the beach, anticipating great noticeable things, we became momentarily confused as the view materialised. We were like kids on a safari, excited and gesticulating: “where are they?”, “where are they?!” The whole stretch of sand rolling away to the distant tide was crowded with people, walking their dogs, walking themselves, gazing out to sea…but where were the Antony Gormley works?
It only took a few minutes to register that the majority of those figures populating the beach were in fact the sculptures, from a distance they blended into the landscape seamlessly. Looking outward not inward, perhaps dreaming of distant shores, Another Place consists of casts of the artists body stretching across two miles of Crosby beach. When the tide comes in the bodies are submerged, when the tide pulls out the mottled green and copper humanoids are revealed. They are a constant; battered by winds, tides, sand, rain and snow these works remain stubbornly in place, standing guard, ever watching and waiting.
When plans were revealed to move the piece to New York in 2006 many of the local residents fought to keep Another Place in what they felt was its rightful place. It’s easy to understand why, as these metal men are so sympathetic to the location. On the grey, drizzly March day of our visit they not only looked right against the bleak, overcast surroundings they lent an element of cheer, of human solidarity. In managing to create company out of emptiness the Gormley figures have no doubt added a thoughtful dimension to this stretch of coast, altering the way people view, are viewed and interact with the space.
On permanent display.