Yesterday, I deposited Gosia, her mum and sister in Liverpool to take the National Trust’s tour of the Beatles former houses. The tour was two and a half hours long, giving me just the time I needed to get to Crosby Beach to see Antony Gormley’s Another Place.
It is an installation of 100 cast figures (modelled on the artists’ own body) looking out across the mouth of the Mersey and into the Irish Sea.
I arrived a few minutes before high tide and was a little disappointed that there were only a few figures to see. These all had their feet wet and so any pictures had to be taken while sharing their view out to sea.
I spoke to an old local fella while I was taking pictures and asked what he thought of them. He said ‘They’re rubbish! If they’d been any good, they’d have been nicked by now.’
He explained that they had been made of cheap materials to avoid theft. I thought it might have been more to do with the artist wanting them to age badly.
The figures are not detailed but do have a strange, lifelike quality to them. Taking the picture above, I expected the eyelids to flick(e)r open at any moment.
I was there for a couple of hours (during slack water – a favourite nautical term) and as the tide began to recede, more and more heads started to appear. Slowly, more of the figures began to emerge from the waves.
You can read about the objections to this work elsewhere. For me it was a magical thing to see, especially before the dog-walking hoards appeared. I’d love to experience it at all times of the day, in all sea conditions and weathers as it is the sort of art that offers a different experience on each visit/viewing – and that’s surely the best kind, right?