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From Plaster to Power: Antony Gormley’s Transformation of the Human Form

Antony Gormley’s Body Casting Process: From Plaster to Sculpture

Have you ever wondered how sculptors create those stunning metal sculptures that seem to defy gravity? One artist who has mastered this transformative process is Antony Gormley.

Gormley is renowned for his body casting technique, where he molds the human form and then transforms the plaster casts into powerful metal sculptures. In this article, we will take a deep dive into Gormley’s body casting process, exploring the steps from preparation to the final transformation.

Preparation and Protection: Vaseline and Cling Film

Before the body casting process can begin, the model’s body must be prepared and protected. Gormley first applies a layer of Vaseline to the model’s skin, ensuring that the plaster does not adhere directly to their body.

This step is vital to prevent any discomfort or damage during the casting process. Next, the model is wrapped tightly in cling film, providing an extra layer of protection and ensuring that the plaster does not come into direct contact with their skin.

Applying Plaster Soaked Bandages

Once the model is prepared, Gormley begins the process of creating the plaster cast. He dips bandages into a mixture of plaster and water, ensuring that they are thoroughly soaked.

These plaster-soaked bandages are then applied to the model’s body, layer by layer, creating a mold that captures every contour and detail. Gormley maintains a careful balance between structure and flexibility, ensuring that the plaster cast will be both sturdy and easy to remove later on.

Waiting for the Plaster to Dry: A Meditative Process

After the plaster is applied, the model must wait for it to dry completely. This waiting period can take several hours, and Gormley views it as a meditative process.

As the plaster dries, it transforms from wet and malleable to solid and rigid, mirroring the transformative nature of Gormley’s artistic vision. During this time, the model must remain still, allowing the plaster to set and capture their form in its entirety.

Removing the Plaster Casing: Cutting and Pulling

Once the plaster is dry, Gormley carefully removes the casing from the model’s body. This process requires precision and delicacy, as Gormley uses a combination of cutting and pulling techniques to separate the plaster from the model.

The result is a negative impression of the body, a hollow shell that will soon be transformed into a striking metal sculpture. Creating a Hollow Shell: Fiberglass and Roofing Lead

With the plaster casing removed, Gormley then moves on to creating a hollow shell that will serve as the foundation for the final sculpture.

To achieve this, he often turns to materials such as fiberglass and roofing lead. These materials provide strength and durability while maintaining the lightness and flexibility necessary for the finished sculpture.

Strengthening and Coating the Shell: Welding and More

To ensure the longevity of the sculpture, Gormley strengthens and coats the shell using various techniques. One commonly used method is welding, where metal pieces are fused together to reinforce the structure.

Welded marks become an integral part of the final piece, adding a dynamic and tactile quality to the sculpture. Additionally, Gormley may employ other coatings and finishes to protect the metal from weathering and enhance its aesthetic appeal.

Antony Gormley’s body casting process is a fascinating journey from plaster to sculpture. Each step, from preparation and protection to the final transformation, requires skill, precision, and artistic vision.

By understanding the intricacies of Gormley’s process, we can appreciate the incredible talent and creativity behind his awe-inspiring metal sculptures. So the next time you encounter one of Gormley’s works of art, take a moment to marvel at the fusion of human form and raw material, knowing the intricate process that brought it to life.

Antony Gormley’s body casting process is a fascinating journey from plaster to sculpture, showcasing his remarkable talent for transforming the human form into powerful metal artworks. Through careful preparation and protection, plaster application, drying, and the subsequent transformation of plaster casts into hollow shells, Gormley creates sculptures of immense beauty and strength.

This process involves the use of materials like fiberglass, roofing lead, and welding, which enhance the durability and aesthetics of the final piece. Understanding and appreciating the intricacies of Gormley’s body casting process allows us to marvel at the fusion of human form and raw material in his sculptures, leaving a lasting impression of his artistic talent and creative vision.

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