PUSH II is an example of Gormley’s Propper series of sculptures. The genesis of this language can be traced back to his Blockworks of 2001. In these sculptures the space displaced by the artist’s body was materialised in ‘physical pixels’ made from steel blocks.
By 2004 these blocks started to be arranged according to the logic of architectural construction using stacking, propping and cantilever which allowed for a greater dynamic of parts and greater liberty with body-volumes.
As always in Gormley’s work, the fabrication process begins with a moment of lived time: the moulding of the artist’s body, but these new works developed the language of an intermediary series, the Beamers. These are pieces in which beams run in three axes, touching the body’s boundary and forming an axial stack. As the artist has remarked, the Proppers’ use the tectonics of post and lintel architecture to translate body mass into the equivalent of a high rise tower or cantilevered pontoon, but do so with the freedom of a child seeing how high his wooden blocks can reach.