Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North at Gateshead in England is a monumental statement.
Looming over major roads and railways she weighs two hundred tonnes, stands 20 metres tall and 54 metres wide.
She is a statement of industry, modernity, mechanisation, decay, and hope. Her wings smack of a nazi bombers’ and there are just the slightest hints of humanity.
As a comment on the grim North of England she’s absolutely brilliant. And it’s wonderfully appropriate that locals instead call her the “Gateshead Flasher”.
So when I heard the National Gallery had acquired a replica I was, well bemused.
How could such a monumental statement of place work transplanted into the southern, genteel environs of the National Gallery of Australia?
Well the answer for a start is that the version in the Sculpture Garden is life size, not giant size. (A maquette in fact).
And at that more intimate scale it becomes a much more delicate creature, at peace in a more refined landscape.
Here’s a slideshow of a quick photo essay I did yesterday, but I recommend checking it out in person, particularly if you know the real thing well.