My favorite painting: Clare Moriarty
Clare Moriarty of Citizens Advice pushes the boundaries of our reporting by choosing not a painting, but a sculpture. Or rather a series of thousands of sculptures: “Field for the British Isles” by Anthony Gormley.
Claire Moriarty on Field for the British Isles by Anthony Gormley
“I was captivated by this work when I encountered it in Dublin in 1994 — its second installation — and I made it a point to see it again in London almost 10 years later. I love its scale and variations, the way it fills space and how it talks about connection, people and place. It is rooted in the Merseyside community that produced the numbers, but is not limited by those roots.
‘Every install is the same Field and also different – unique to its location, connected to the first Field and to the other by Antony Gormley The fieldscreated around the world, from Sweden to Brazil to China’
Clare Moriarty is the managing director of Citizens Advice and a former British civil servant.
Charlotte Mullins comments Field for the British Isles
Tiny clay figures stretch across the floor as far as the eye can see. They are no taller than a ruler, their gnarled bodies topped with streamlined heads, two close eyes staring at you. Each of the 40,000 figures watches your way, waiting, questioning, piling up to form a single work of art: Antony Gormley’s Field for the British Isles.
Mr. Gormley is a sculptor who, since the 1970s, has used his own body as a mold to explore what it means to be a human in the world. His figures have been submerged in the sea, encased in lead, pushed towards abstraction, and exploded into quantum shards. But Field is different. It was created in 1993 for Tate Liverpool and required a collaborative approach. About 100 local volunteers worked eight-hour shifts to make the tiny figurines. Instructions were sparse: make a figure that fits comfortably in the palm of your hand; use a pencil to press two eyes into the clay and give him consciousness. Repeat now.
Since 1993, Field has been exhibited across the British Isles, from Colchester and Salisbury to Gateshead and Dublin. Each installation alters the arrangement of the figures, but they still fill the entire gallery space, with the viewer pushed outside and only able to marvel at them from behind the scenes. Made from the clay of the earth, these figures connect to our ancestors and those yet to be born and ask us to collectively take responsibility for the world we live in.
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