Shaping the World (Signed Copy)

Sculpture from Prehistory to Now

Antony Gormley, Martin Gayford

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In this signed edition, leading sculptor Antony Gormley, informed and energised by a lifetime of making, and art critic and historian Martin Gayford, explore the central role of sculpture in the development of human culture from prehistory to the present day

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Sculpture is the universal art. It has been practised by every culture throughout the world and stretches back into the distant past. The first surviving shaped stones may even predate the advent of language. The drive to form stone, clay, wood and metal into shapes evidently runs deep in our psyche and biology. This links the question ‘What is sculpture?’ to the question ‘What is humanity?’

In this wide-ranging book, two complementary voices – one belonging to an artist who looks to Asian and Buddhist traditions as much as to Western sculptural history, the other to a critic and historian – consider how sculpture has been central to the evolution of our potential for thinking and feeling. Sculpture cannot be seen in isolation as an aesthetic pursuit; it is related to humankind’s compelling urge to make its mark on the landscape, to build, make pictures, practise religion and develop philosophical thought.

Drawing on examples from thousands of years BCE to now, and from around the globe, the authors treat sculpture as a transnational art form with its own compelling history. They take into account materials and techniques, and consider overarching themes such as space, light and darkness. Above all, they discuss their view of sculpture as a form of physical thinking capable of altering the way people feel and of inviting them to look at sculpture they encounter and more broadly the world around them in a completely different way.

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'Very informative'
V&A Magazine

Further Details


Publication date: 24 September 2020

ISBN: 9780500024447

Contents List

Preface • 1. Bodies in Space • 2. Off the Wall • 3. Mounds, Fields & Standing Stones • 4. Trees & Life • 5. Light & Darkness • 6. Clay & Modelling • 7. Voids • 8. The Body & the Block • 9. The Age of Bronze • 10. Bodies & Buildings • 11. The Colossus & the Slave • 12. Time & Mortality • 13. Drapery & Anatomy • 14. Actions & Events • 15. Fear & Fetishism • 16. Collecting & Selecting • 17. Industry & Heavy Metal • 18. Shaping a Changing World

About the Author

Sir Antony Gormley is a distinguished British artist and sculptor perhaps best known for his huge Angel of the North in Gateshead. He won the Turner Prize in 1994 and has been a Royal Academician since 2003. Gormley is one of the most critically respected artists working internationally, with works that have universal resonance. Martin Gayford is art critic for The Spectator and the author of acclaimed books on Van Gogh, Constable and Michelangelo. He is the author of Man with a Blue Scarf, Rendez-vous with Art and A Bigger Message. He has collaborated with David Hockney on A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney and A History of Pictures, and has co-written a volume of travels and conversations with Philippe de Montebello: Rendez-vous with Art.