Antony Gormley


On 26 August 2021, a new work entitled DOUBT (2020) will be installed on the West Front of Wells Cathedral in Somerset. The work is on loan to Wells for a period of 18 months.

Antony Gormley said: "I am very aware of the paradox of placing an object called DOUBT on the facade of a building devoted to belief, but it seems to me that doubting, interrogating, questioning, are all part of belief. For me doubt can be a positive force and the imaginative engine of future possibility. 

I have chosen this niche on the West Front of Wells Cathedral for its exposed position and visibility: the book at the end of the bookshelf. Most of the figures on the west facade stand facing the world in an open attitude of confidence, proudly displaying their attributes - regal, military, and divine. In contrast, I have used the orthogonal geometry of our modern habitat to evoke the body as a place. DOUBT is literally on edge and teeters uneasily out of its niche, one foot perilously off the ledge and one shoulder jutting forward. This cast iron body has collapsed into itself, compressing torso to pelvis; energy is drawn inwards but the head juts out enquiringly into space at large.

In the context of an 800-year-old celebration of hierarchy, I wish to make a space for a contemporary state of mind. Perhaps paradoxically, by using a rigorous abstract language, my primary purpose is to engage the eye and body of the viewer in empathic projection, to consider our time in the shelter of other times."

Portrait of Antony Gormley with DOUBT, 2020
Photo: Stephen White & Co

LinkWells Cathedral