If you’d not already read about Crosby Beach, then the sight on arrival would be a haunting one: lone figures, as far as the eye can see, standing and staring out towards the horizon. Some part submerged, some nearly drowning – all entirely stationary as the tide comes in. This is Antony Gormley’s Another Place, a permanent outdoor art installation of 100 cast-iron, life sized figures spread over three kilometres along the beach and extending almost a kilometre out to sea. Each weighs 650 kilos, the average distance between them 500 metres – and visitors are warned not to attempt to walk out to the furthest.
It’s an installation that explores humanity’s relationship to nature – or, perhaps more accurately, man’s; the figures are cast from the Turner Prize winning artist’s own body. Gormley used 17 different moulds for stances ranging between relaxation and tension; they stare out towards the sea, where ships trace the horizon line, carrying materials and manufactured goods across the globe, and where the tide slowly encroaches and submerges them. First installed in Germany, Norway and Belgium, Another Place was brought to Crosby Beach by Liverpool Biennial in collaboration with the South Sefton Partnership in 2005, before being secured to remain permanently.
Gormley has noted the aptness of the site, describing a ‘beach where art and life intermingled’, with the figures standing quietly among the estuary and drainage pipes that line the sand. Winner of the Turner Prize in 1994, Gormley has exhibited in prestigious galleries including the Royal Academy, Uffizi Gallery in Florence and White Cube Hong Kong; Another Place is one of several permanent, outdoor installations created by him, which include the Angel of the North in the UK. Visitors travelling to see the installation are best served by Crosby Station, from which there are regular trains to Liverpool Central; it’s worth checking the tides ahead of time, and remembering that this is a non-bathing beach.