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Human casts in Mayfair and Soho

Tucked away on the western side of London’s Regent Street lies Mayfair, famous mainly for being the most expensive property on the Monopoly board- and also in real life. Regent Street’s international brand exhibitionism separates Mayfair from the more visited Soho. On one side there is brash consumerism where money shouts, with the jaunty Kingly and Carnaby streets, a magnet for tourists wearing cheap garish clothes whilst shopping for expensive garish clothes.

Regent Street, Kingly Street, Carnaby Street, London

On the other side are the quietly superior and infinitely wealthier streets of Mayfair. Here you can almost feel the weight of wealth. Can you afford the air you are breathing? Should your shoes be soled with gold – to match the paving? Here they can tell, you do not belong. Quiet, almost unassuming streets, filled with bespoke tailor’s shops, boutiques selling strictly toff-wear, hedge fund investors, private members clubs, and art galleries where you can trade Picassos- if you are a hedge fund manager or a minor foreign royal. I feel alien in my own city.

Mayfair London

I’m here for the art, not to deal, but to view the latest work of Antony Gormley, best known for his sculpture the Angel of the North and the mega-installation Another Place on Crosby beach near Liverpool. His current exhibition CAST is a juxtaposition of large monochrome woodblock prints, architectural in appearance but representing various body poses, interspersed with life-size whole body prints. These were made by the artist being smeared with crude oil and falling onto the paper to leave a print, strangely medical in appearance. Typical of Gormley’s work, these body prints are not the final art, but develop over time as the oil diffuses and settles.

CAST, Antony Gormley

Back on the street I begin to notice the mundane amongst the monetary – a coffee shop, the local pub, a barber shop, couriers, delivery drivers, the police station looking oddly out of place- things people need. I feel different. Is it the art or the money?

Antony Gormley’s CAST is exhibited at the Alan Cristea Galley, 31 & 34 Cork Street, London W1S 3NU until 2 July 2016.

Antony Gormley official site: antonygormley.com.

See also Landscape and sculpture beyond limits.