Antony Gormley's Another Place, Crosby
Crosby beach has some strange visitors - 100 figures by Angel of the North creator Antony Gormley. Based on a cast of the artist's body, the sculptures are made out of cast iron and stand staring at the horizon. On a busy beach at first they are hard to spot, arranged over 3 kilometres of shore, stretching almost 1 km out to sea. We could only see 10 or 15 at the most and only 3 were fully visible from head to toe. The rest were partially submerged with some only head and shoulders above the water, not waving but drowning.
Up close the figures have been worn by the elements, giving them a wonderful texture. Each one has a tag on its wrist with a number. Despite the fact that each figure is 650 kilos of high-grade British art they seem pretty approachable and local residents have obviously adopted them as their own. The one that we could get to most easily was surrounded by children and as photos from the Another Place Flickr pool show they are sometimes adorned with sunhats, motorbike helmets and even a Santa outfit. They're also a handy place to leave your flip-flops if you're heading in for a paddle (but please, no swimming on this beach - it's too dangerous).
We saw it on a beautiful sunny late afternoon but I can imagine that other viewings will offer up different things depending on the weather and the tide. The figures looked beautiful against a blue sky but they look like they would rise to the challenge of a cold, rainy winter's day. It’s a truly beautiful, unique spectacle, in harmony with its surroundings - simple and elegant. And you can take from it as much or as little as you want. Amid the bustle of the beach, the solidity and stolidity of these figures gave me an enormous sense of peace.
According to Antony Gormley, Another Place "harnesses the ebb and flow of the tide to explore man's relationship with nature". He explains:
"The seaside is a good place to do this. Here time is tested by tide, architecture by the elements and the prevalence of sky seems to question the earth's substance. In this work human life is tested against planetary time. This sculpture exposes to light and time the nakedness of a particular and peculiar body. It is no hero, no ideal, just the industrially reproduced body of a middle-aged man trying to remain standing and trying to breathe, facing a horizon busy with ships moving materials and manufactured things around the planet."
Another Place is on show at Crosby from July 2005 until November 2006. It has previously been seen in Cuxhaven in Germany, Stavanger in Norway and De Panne in Belgium, and is expected to move to New York after its stay in Merseyside.
Update: Another Place turned out to be so popular that in March 2007 Sefton Council voted to keep the statues there permanently.
Another Place photos
More from the Another Place Flickr pool
How to get there
Crosby is just north of Liverpool (Google map). Once you get near the town Antony Gormley's Another Place is well signposted. It is also easy to reach by bus or rail - details on the Visit Liverpool site below. There is a car park at the beach. There is also an ice cream van but not much else.