Antony Gormley is probably the UK’s best known sculptor, famous for his Angel of the North in Gateshead and for the life-sized casts of his naked body that have appeared in works such as Another Place on Crosby Beach. In January 2021 he came to Intelligence Squared to give an illustrated talk on his new book, Shaping the World: Sculpture from Prehistory to Now, in which he argued that sculpture is more than just an art form – it is a way of physical thinking that can change the way people feel and make them encounter the world around them in a completely different way.
Drawing on examples from all over the world, dating from thousands of years ago right up to the present, Gormley explained how sculpture has been practised by every culture in the world. The first surviving shaped stones may even predate the advent of language. In conversation with cultural historian Shahidha Bari, Gormley took us on a visual journey, beginning with the Venus of Hohle Fels, the oldest depiction of a human being, through Rodin’s The Kiss, to Adrián Villar Rojas’ Today We Reboot the Planet.
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