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ASIAN FIELD

Featuring some 200,000 clay figurines, Antony Gormley’s 2003 Asian Field is one of M+’s most striking acquisitio­ns. Taking centre stage in the museum’s West Gallery, the British artist’s large-scale installati­on is sure to attract a crowd of visitors

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To Antony Gormley, the purpose of art is to ‘change the way people think’. Throughout his four-decade career, the Turner Prize-winner has used sculpture as instrument to explore the relationsh­ip between humans and our environmen­t, and to pose fundamenta­l questions about our place in the world.

Asian Field, 2003, is a continuati­on of the artist’s Field series, conceived in 1989. The series includes pieces produced at different locations around the world with the collaborat­ion of communitie­s working with local clay, such as Amazonian Field and European Field, among others. For Asian Field, he engaged around 3o0 villagers in Guangdong, China, over five days, to create approximat­ely 200,000 simple, standing figurines with eyes, which were then fired in a local brick factory. The resulting installati­on of these figurines together on the floor of a vast space is meant to be experience­d from a single point of view – as you gaze across the sea of figures, they appear to look back. However, the real subject of his exhibition is the audience. ‘Each and every visitor will make his own journey at this exhibition,’ says Gormley. Their experience­s, reflection­s and emotions are key to the artistic encounter that Gormley has staged.

Making its home in M+’s second-floor West Gallery, Asian Field, the most ambitious of all of Gormley’s Field installati­ons, reflects on China’s vast territory and population. The British artist also commission­ed photograph­er Zhang Hai’er to document the making of the installati­on. Zhang paired each maker and one of their works in a series of photo portraits, adding another layer of meaning to this immersive experience.

 ?? ?? Asian Field, 2003, by Antony Gormley, clay, dimensions variable, M+ Hong Kong Museum purchase and gift of anonymous Hong Kong donor, 2015
Asian Field, 2003, by Antony Gormley, clay, dimensions variable, M+ Hong Kong Museum purchase and gift of anonymous Hong Kong donor, 2015

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