Lot 19
  • 19

Antony Gormley

200,000 - 300,000 GBP
341,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Antony Gormley
  • Bond II
  • incised with the artist's initials, dated 2010 and numbered 1/5 on the underside of the figure's feet
  • cast iron


Galleria Continua, San Gimignano

Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2010

Catalogue Note

Bond II is typical of Antony Gormley’s celebrated sculptural practice in its interrogation of the relationship between the physical body and the intangible realm of consciousness. Rippling with bubbling muscular torsion, the work takes the form of a full size human figure, but one whose distinguishing features have been obscured by the myriad undulations of a multitude of polygonal shapes that combine to dominate its surface texture. It is an arresting sculpture that deftly engages with concepts of scientific theory, natural beauty, and metaphysical philosophy.

Gormley’s Polyhedra series, begun in 2008, is characterised by the distinctive polygonal surface texture of its figures. However, the works should not be understood as mere expositions of geometric accuracy; they are inspired by the natural world. In their appreciation, the viewer is reminded of volcanic rock formations like those at the Giant's Causeway in Ireland. Gormley himself was clearly aware of this parallel, as he installed another work from this series, Grip, upon a similar rocky outlay in the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland. In the repetition of myriad semi-congruent shapes, Bond II further recalls the interior of a beehive or organic patterns occurring in nature; we feel that by the close examination of even a small section of its structure, we can understand its entire formulation. In the creation of these works, Gormley was inspired by the Weaire-Phelan structure, a geometric system formulated by physicists in order to comprehend the most efficient way of filling space using three-dimensional shapes bound by the least possible surface area. The Weaire-Phelan structure is found in all forms, as well as in the inner structure of a bone or a reed. In much the same way, the present work does not appear as a hollow cast object, but rather the product of an immutable recurring pattern, consistent throughout the entirety of its structure. It is imbued with a mood of irrepressible dynamism and appears additive and alive, ready to burst forth into further layers of rippling growth. It is a tribute to the efficacy of Gormley’s praxis that he is able to create such an innately organic work from such an academic theory of physical science. Indeed, this work can be judged to be absolutely in keeping with the primary emphases of his oeuvre. In the artist's own words: “The classical position of sculpture as an object placed in space has been replaced by constructing a provisional energy field in space” (Antony Gormley cited in: Exh. Cat., Rotterdam, Kunsthal, Antony Gormley: Between You and Me, 2008, p. 59).

Gormley’s art is informed by a deep understanding of both Eastern and Western spiritualities, and mediated through inspiration derived from recent developments in physics. The present work is a perfect manifestation of his ongoing investigations into the harmonious marriage of mind and matter. As the artist explains, “I want to confront existence… I turn to the body in an attempt to find a language that will transcend the limitations of race, creed, and language, but which will still be about the rootedness of identity” (Antony Gormley cited in: Exh. Cat., Liverpool, Tate Gallery, Testing a World View: Antony Gormley, 1993, p. 49). In keeping with the best of his work, Bond II is intended to be a metaphysical stimulant to the viewer, presented in direct life size, and intended to provoke a wider contemplation of humanity’s purpose and place. In Gormley’s own words: “The body is a language before language. When made still in sculpture it can be a witness to life” (Antony Gormley cited in: Exh. Cat., Kolnischer, Kunstverein, Total Strangers, 1999, p. 22).