Renowned artist Antony Gormley has created a new sculpture for Canterbury Cathedral. Using antique iron nails from a repaired section of the cathedral roof, Gormley created the outline of a human body that appears to be punctured by the nails. The sculpture is suspended—so that it appears to float—above the first tomb of archbishop Thomas Becket, who was murdered at the altar in 1170.
With the name TRANSPORT, Gormley hopes to evoke the concept of life moving through each of us and the lives of the individuals who have moved through the cathedral. “The body is less a thing than a place; a location where things happen,” says Gormley of the sculpture. “Thought, feeling, memory and anticipation filter through it sometimes staying but mostly passing on, like us in this great cathedral with its centuries of building, adaptation, extension and all the thoughts, feelings and prayers that people have had and transmitted here.”
The Dean of Canterbury, the Very Reverend Robert Willis, expressed deep appreciation for the piece. “It…suggests the way in which sacred spaces communicate a sense of time and eternity, of the finite and the infinite. We are hugely grateful for this work.”
Gormley often explores the human body’s relationship to the space it inhabits. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his sculpture, including the prestigious Turner Prize in 1994. Transport was installed in January 2011.