Exhibition by Angel of the North sculptor Sir Antony Gormley opens in Sunderland - here's how to get tickets
A new exhibition featuring the work of one of Britain’s most-respected artists launches in Sunderland this weekend.
The spotlight will fall on the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, housed within National Glass Centre, as it plays host to Field for the British Isles by Sir Antony Gormley, who also created the world-famous Angel of the North.
On show from July 24, the Turner Prize-winning artwork comprises of 40,000 unique clay figures, representing a mass wave of humanity, and hasn’t been on view in the North East of England since 1996. It will be on show in Sunderland until September and while viewings are ticketed, it’s free for all.
Last time the work was in the region it was on display at the former Greenesfield British Rail Works in Gateshead, where more than 25,000 people flocked to the exhibition.
It took 25 volunteers, many of whom are art students at Sunderland University, three days to install the piece on Wearside, with each figure and tone of clay perfectly placed to fill the space edge to edge.
This is the first time Antony has exhibited in Sunderland and gallery director Alistair Robinson said it was a huge coup for the city - and also an all the more fitting artwork as the country emerges from lockdown.
He explained: "Since this piece was created thirty years ago, Sir Antony’s reputation has grown, from someone known in the art world, to someone everyone took seriously, and a lot of that is down to this piece of work. It’s because of this he won the Turner Prize in 1994 and everyone started to pay attention.
"It’s a different way of working, because it’s not just about one figure, but about all of humanity, a mass of humanity. This idea is all the more timely now: this idea that we all play a part of bigger society and that we are all in this together. When we started thinking about this installation I liked the idea that you can come and see 40,000 faces looking back at you, it’s a collectivity we haven’t had in Lockdown.”
Tickets allow people a 10 minute slot for either themselves or up to five other people, meaning people can view this important work privately.
"There’s something quite magical about viewing this beautiful, contemplative work in this quiet, peaceful space,” explained Alistair.
The project has been made possible thanks to an £18,000 grant from the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund, and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund, the Weston Loan Programme is the first ever UK-wide funding scheme to enable regional museums to borrow works of art and artefacts from national collections.
Field for the British Isles was chosen by Sunderland Culture’s Art Champions, a group of nine local people with no formal arts training but a passion and interest to discover more about modern and contemporary art.
How to get tickets for Field for the British Isles by Sir Antony Gormley
Field for the British Isles runs at NGCA until September 25, 2021.
Free tickets for ten-minute private viewings are available from the NGCA’s website – www.northerngalleryforcontemporaryart.org.uk. Tickets can also be reserved in person at National Glass Centre, or by ringing 0191 515 5555.