At the mouth of the Mersey estuary, just North of Liverpool, 100 cast-iron figures of Antony Gormley stand staring out to the horizon. Gormley's sculptural piece 'Another Place' spreads out along three kilometres of Crosby Beach, stretching up to one kilometre out to sea. As time has passed, nature has taken over and the men have become at one with the sea and their environment, weathered by time, engrossed with moss, algae and rust, making them ever more poignant in their location.
It is supposed to be an incredible spectacle and there are some truly stunning photographs of these figures dotted around the internet. Unfortunately however, my own will not be adding to these! At the weekend I decided it was about time I travelled the hour that I takes down the motorway from my house to see the sculptures. It’d been on my to-do list for a while and since we have been getting such lovely sunny days recently I thought there was no time like the present…cue unpredictable British weather! Judging by all of the reduced speed limits and warning signs along the M62, I knew we were in for a windy day, what I couldn't have anticipated was the gale force winds we were met with upon arrival at Crosby Coastal Park. My car door flung open almost dragging me with it, and an unknown receipt was swept away. Regardless, I decided I hadn't come all this way not to even catch a glimpse of the statues, so me, my dog Tara and slightly unimpressed boyfriend set off down the path.
It may seem like I am overreacting but the sand was hitting our faces like bullets, I could barely see a thing through the dust! I've never known wind like it in my life and looking back we were slightly crazy to even consider going onto the beach. Eventually we reached the very first statue, and as we did, the rain started. I just about managed to grab a few shots (with my eyes 90% shut!) before it was too wet to have my camera out. I was determined not to have a wasted journey so we battled to the next statue and snapped a quick picture with my boyfriends phone. Tara usually adores the beach which is why we took her along, however by this point she was shaking and crying and the sand was getting into her eyes too much, so we decided we had to call it a day and head back to the car. Disheveled and cold, we ended up in the nearest McDonalds before heading back to Manchester!
|Tara having a 'closer look' at one of the statues!|
While I am disappointed that I didn't get to see more of the statues, I can't help but think that my experience is an important and necessary part of the artwork. Gormley wanted to harnesses the ebb and flow of the tide and in turn, explore man's relationship with nature. Each persons experience with the statues will be different, and therefore everybody who visits will see a different piece of art. In the words of Gormley himself, “each person is making it again". From clear sunny days, to glorious sunsets, to snow, to busy summer bank holidays, to the peak of the tide where the statues closest to the shore are up to their necks in water. My experience was perhaps unique. I was able to look out and see nothing but the eerie figures themselves, staring out alone with a sense of serenity and thoughtfulness. Battling the elements in their full force, the figures remained as we, the only people mad enough to be there, left the beach.
Antony Gormley's 'Another Place' is a permanent fixture @ Crosby Beach, Merseyside