Art group creates ‘Angel Of The East’ following Sir Antony Gormley’s objection

Sam Russell, PA
·2-min read

Four cast-iron sculptures by Angel Of The North creator Sir Antony Gormley are to be removed from a beach after the artist objected to their horizontal positioning, with members of a local art club creating a circle of red sea bricks called Angel Of The East in response.

Sir Antony, 70, made the four shapes in 1994 to be used as bollards and took issue with them being laid down on the shingle at Aldeburgh, Suffolk.

Some had likened the sculptures to sex toys.

Art dealer Caroline Wiseman, who owned the works, withdrew a planning application to keep them on the beach after a representative for Sir Antony lodged an objection.

Antony Gormley artworks – Aldeburgh
Members of Arts Club Aldeburgh Beach use red sea bricks to incorporate four of sculptor Sir Antony Gormley’s works into a new artwork named Angel Of The East at Aldeburgh, Suffolk (Joe Giddens/ PA)

The representative wrote that the display was a “misrepresentation of four works he has designed as bollards and which should only ever be seen in that context”.

Sir Antony also took issue with a plaque alongside the sculptures calling them “Quartet (Sleeping), 2001”.

“This is not the title of the work and has not been approved by the artist,” Sir Antony’s representative wrote.

“The bollards carry four distinct titles based on their form – Oval, Peg, Penis and Snowman.”

Antony Gormley artworks – Aldeburgh
Venice, six, from Stowmarket adds red sea bricks to a new artwork named Angel Of The East (Joe Giddens/ PA)

Ms Wiseman previously described Sir Antony’s intervention as “small-minded”.

She said the sculptures have been sold to a private collector for a “good sum of money” and will be removed from the beach on Wednesday.

On Monday, members of the Arts Club Aldeburgh Beach laid a circle of red sea bricks on the beach, which they are calling the Angel Of The East.

Ms Wiseman said the bricks are the “result of coastal erosion, they’re from houses that have probably fallen into the sea due to coastal erosion and then they’ve been washed by the sea”.

Caroline Wiseman with one of the red sea bricks
Caroline Wiseman with one of the red sea bricks (Joe Giddens/ PA)

She said that the Angel Of The East “celebrates the rising sun”, adding that it is a participatory work, with visitors invited to add more sea-washed bricks to it.

Funds raised from the sale of the four Gormleys are to be used to refurbish and paint the Lookout tower art space, which she runs.

“We are sad to see the Gormleys go, but we are delighted that we are now able to restore this tiny temple of art for future generations of artists”, she said.

“Gormley’s Quartet (Sleeping) has metamorphosed into this stunning new work of art – the Angel Of The East.”