Art and Culture England

Another Place: Gormley’s Art on Crosby beach

Written by Stuart Wickes

Another Place: on Crosby beach

Who is that standing on the beach? So still, peaceful, meditative. Eyes fixed upon a land beyond the sea, shadow waxing and waning with the sun’s arc, watching and waiting for the turn of the tide.

Another Place Crosby Beach

Who is this lonely figure, standing, watching, waiting. Another Place, Crosby Beach

Looking out to sea

This contemplative being is not as lonely as he looks, but is one of a hundred figures in sculptor Anthony Gormley‘s installation ‘Another Place‘ on Crosby Beach.  The hundred similar figures are spread out across 3 km of open beach, rising out of the sand at different levels, often at some distance from each other. Some remain  untouched by anything but the highest of tides, while others stand almost permanently in the ebbing and flowing currents of the intertidal zone, their bodies etched, stained and weathered by their different circumstances. All look out to sea, to the land beyond.

Encounter with art. Anthony Gormley's Another Place on Crosby Beach

Encounter with art. Anthony Gormley’s Another Place on Crosby Beach

Experience is always personal

We stumbled upon the installation on our 2007 trip from Lands End to John O Groats and were immediately intrigued. The work is said to be a poetic response to individual and universal sentiments related to emigration, the sadness of leaving and hope of a new future in another place. What struck me most was how this group of similar beings, all with a similar outlook and in a fairly small space, all experience and are weathered by their environment so differently.

You can read about and discover more of Anthony Gormley’s work on Artsy.

Another Place Anthony Gormley Crosby Beach

Whatever our similarities, we all experience the same environment differently.

About the author

Stuart Wickes

Stuart's the adventure addict half of the team, always trying to persuade the family to get out, do more, go further. As co-founder and co-director he handles the business, creative, design, technical and publishing aspects of the project. He is our chief photographer and videographer. With training as a professional learning and development consultant. an engineer and musician, his contribution is eclectic and unpredictable!

13 Comments

  • Thanks Jessica. The installation itself had that effect on us, drawing us in, raising questions and discussion about what it is, what it means. I guess that’s part of the social value of good public art.

  • I’d not thought of that Steve. With no-one else around, they would perhaps look like ‘his’ footprints, perhaps adding to the sense of intrigue. But in this case I think we need to take the credit for adding that touch!

  • I love art installations for the simple reason that kids are drawn to them in a way that they aren’t to art hanging on a wall in a traditional gallery. Intriguing is definitely the right word for this one. The figures staring out to sea capture the emotions surrounding emigration perfectly.

  • I agree Lisa, it’s much easier to get kids (and grown ups too perhaps?) to engage with art on a beach, boating pond or park than in a gallery. Although I do relish the chance to do that with them too.. the Lowry in Manchester was brilliant for welcoming kids and giving practical opportunities to try their own hands at art too.

  • I don’t know . . . is it kind of creepy to see unmoving, distant figures on an empty beach? They must be deeply rooted in the earth to not be washed away with the tide. Interesting.

  • Sonja, We’ve been sitting debating that since you raised it! It’s interesting on two levels – how are they physically rooted to the ground, but also metaphorically in the context of the installation and thinking about how emigrants may remain rooted to their old ‘home’ long after they have gone and the struggle they may face to put roots down in a new place or for some to belong anywhere. I never knew a post could lead to such deep artistic introspection on a Friday night. Now for some wine!

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