Thursday, 9 September 2010

In Quiet Contemplation

When we were in Edinburgh last month we stopped for coffee at the docks. It was hubby who noticed "him." My eyes aren't that good and at first I wasn't even aware there was something out there...

A lone figure standing at the edge of a ruined pier. Surely he wasn't a real person?

There was something haunting about his stillness in all that dockside bustle. Something meditative in the way he stands, staring out to sea.

I must admit I forgot about him. I came home from our fun day out only to wake up with severe vertigo the next day. I was flat for two days (no idea why!) and once I was feeling better I had too much to catch up on to remember singular statues staring out to sea.

Then last weekend I was uploading photos and remembered. I was curious and went looking for more information.

It turns out that my mystery man is one of six statues. The exhibition is actually titled "6 Times" and it's by Antony Gormley. The same cast metal man is set out in six different places through Edinburgh along the river Leith. The man I saw is the last one, man VI. Interestingly, I actually did see man I on the day, as we drove through Edinburgh, but I never realised they were part of the same exhibit.

I'm not one for modern art. I've never really loved anything beyond the Expressionists, but this exhibit... this one gets to me. I think have fallen in love with this one. That is a surprise for me, since Antony Gormley's most famous art work, Angel of the North, is one of my all time loathes. (sorry Antony!)

I personally feel really good art should:

1. make you curious to know more.
2. make you react - either by making you think or feel.

For me these figures do both. I love the calm meditative feel about them, especially man III who stands in the Leith with the trees over his head. There's such a feeling of peace in his staring down the river, water rippling around his metal feet, the trees whispering around him.

Even though they seem "man made" these statues are just as much an elemental part of Nature as the elements they stand in... metal that is deliberately been left to rust and be weathered by those elements.

And I love the feeling of returning to Nature, not only in the literal sense of the fact these statues are made to degrade, but also in the sense of an everyday man contemplating Nature and his part of the cycle of water, air, earth... birth and death.

You can see more of Antony's works here at


Amel said...

WOW...when I zoomed in on the second pic, I was amazed...I LOVE it!!! I think that's my fave. :-D :-D :-D There's something about it that attracts me so much...

Connie said...

These are kind of neat--haunting in a way.

Michelle said...

They get to you, don't they? :-)

Exactly - haunting is the perfect word.

Hayden said...

wonderful, thanks for sharing this!