Work began in Edinburgh in April on an extraordinary multi-part sculptural project by the celebrated British artist Antony Gormley. Commissioned by the National Galleries of Scotland
, 6 Times will consist of six life-sized figures positioned between the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the sea. Four of the figures will be sited in the Water of Leith itself, acting as gauges for the height of the river as it swells and recedes. The figure closest to the sea, at Leith Docks, is now in place and installation of the further figures will take place throughout June. This will be the first time that a work in the National Galleries collection has been permanently located across the city of Edinburgh itself. 6 Times has been commissioned with the support of The Art Fund, The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, The Patrons of the National Galleries of Scotland, Claire Enders and The Henry Moore Foundation.
The first figure will be located within the grounds of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Although a full-length cast, it will be buried in the ground up to neck-level. The next figure will appear within a basin of the river immediately behind the gallery, where it will gaze down into the water in a contemplative pose. A further three figures will be sited at separate points downstream in Stockbridge, Powderhall and Bonnington, looking progressively up, right and left. The final figure, now situated at the end of an abandoned pier in Leith Docks, looks out to the point where the river course finally meets the sea. This enigmatic, provocative and stimulating work will convey a sense of mystery and quiet monumentality, and will draw new attention to the important natural environment of the Water of Leith, which runs through the heart of Edinburgh.
Born in London in 1950 Antony Gormleys work has been exhibited extensively in exhibitions throughout the UK and internationally. Gormley won the Turner Prize in 1994, and in 1997 created the Angel of the North for Gateshead. Over the last 25 years Antony Gormley has revitalised the human image in sculpture through a radical investigation of the body as a place of memory and transformation, using his own body as subject, tool and material.
Antony Gormley says: "It is wonderful to have the chance to make a work that connects so many different parts of this great city. When you see one you will, perhaps, remember another. The idea is to connect to time, weather and place and play part in the making of a scene, a picture, a reality, incomplete without you: the observer."
John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland, said: "Antony Gormleys sculptures have captured the imagination of many millions of people across the world and we are delighted to have this major work in Scotland. The National Galleries of Scotland is committed to bringing art out into the wider community and this installation along the Water of Leith is a very physical and prominent declaration of this aim."
Councillor Deidre Brock, Culture Leader for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: "It's tremendously exciting that Edinburgh is to play host to these Antony Gormley sculptures. His evocative renditions of the human form have earned him global acclaim, and these new works will create a powerful and visually arresting complement to the natural beauty of the Water of Leith and its walkway."
Stephen Deuchar, Director, the Art Fund, said: "This mesmerising work will open the doors of the gallery and extend its reach across the city of Edinburgh. We are so pleased to be helping turn this exceptional idea into a reality, so that generations to come will experience the famous walk along the Water of Leith in a wholly new way."