Antony Gormley is an acclaimed British artist whose sculpture has revolutionized the expression of the human body in art. He has gained particular recognition for making casts of his own body and manipulating them to challenge viewers’ perceptions of space, identity, and time. A former student of the renowned Vipassana teacher S. N. Goenka’s, Gormley found that his experience with meditation heightened his awareness of the body and influenced its expression in his work. Tricycle Associate Editor Caitlin Van Dusen interviewed Antony Gormley by phone in May 2002. Just prior to the conversation, Gormley had emerged from a body casting, in which a plaster cast is made of his body and then used as a form for his sculptures.
So you’ve just finished a body casting?
Yes, that’s right. Just out of the shower and out of the cast.
What is the process that you go through in making a body cast?
The process is very simple, really. I do it with my assistants here in my studio. I use cling film—I think you call it Glad Wrap—as a separator between body and plaster. And then I get into the state of mind and the position that I want.
I’m curious what the experience is like for you.
Well, it’s a mixture of coming out of a sauna, coming out of a meditation session, and coming out of a very refreshing kind of deep sleep. There’s always a bit of pain involved, too. You use your will to put yourself in a position where you abandon it. It’s a curious kind of cusp.
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