On Monday we visited Anthony Gormely's installation 'Another Place' on Crosby Beach just outside Liverpool. It consists of 100 cast-iron, life-size figures spread out along three kilometres of the foreshore, stretching almost one kilometre out to sea.
When we arrived the tide was on its way in and the weather was pretty murky with outbreak sof squally rain, but somehow the scene didn't call for bright sunshine.
The figures - each one weighing 650 kilos - are made from casts of the artist's own body standing on the beach, all of them looking out to sea, 'staring at the horizon in silent expectation'. The figures are really spaced out and some were already underwater when we visited. We walked to a couple of the nearer ones which were textured with rust, sand and barnacles.
According to Antony Gormley, as quoted on Visit Liverpool , 'Another Place harnesses the ebb and flow of the tide to explore man's relationship with nature. He explains: The seaside is a good place to do this. Here time is tested by tide, architecture by the elements and the prevalence of sky seems to question the earth's substance. In this work human life is tested against planetary time. This sculpture exposes to light and time the nakedness of a particular and peculiar body. It is no hero, no ideal, just the industrially reproduced body of a middle-aged man trying to remain standing and trying to breathe, facing a horizon busy with ships moving materials and manufactured things around the planet.'
As we watched and waited the tide rolled in and more figures began to be underwater, it gave a slightly erie feeling. I guess the visit would have been entirely different if it had been a bright summers day with the beach crowded with people. As it was, it seemed to represent the human condition, how we are buffeted by the time and tide of life, marked by its vicissitudes but gaining a strange beauty as we age.