Turner Prize-winning sculptor Antony Gormley has denied that he has exaggerated the size of the genitals on a series of cast-iron sculptures of his own body, currently on public display in the UK.
The sculptures, which form part of Gormley’s latest work, simply entitled ‘Wahey!’, stand on top of some of London’s most famous landmarks. A further 100 ‘stallion-like’ body casts appear on Crosby Beach in Merseyside. The artist maintains that they are accurate and that they are ‘only as God made me’. ‘Indeed,’ he adds, ‘If you look at the sculptures on Crosby Beach, that’s what it looks like after having come out of the freezing waters of the Irish Sea, scaled down to a modest 14 inches.’
Local art historian Lisa Fleming defended the exhibit. ‘The figures on Crosby Beach have a tremendous calmness and serenity as they stare impassively to the horizon, in a manner that is at once both soulful and yet grotesquely well-endowed,’ she sighed.
Ms Fleming does not believe that the oversized organs detract from the artistic intent of the work. ‘In fact,’ she attests, ‘I find that if you stare at the genitals long enough they start to follow you around the beach.’
Critics of the work, like Southwark Councillor Anne Delaney, claim that the statues are a phallocentric eyesore. ‘They provide a nesting ledge for pigeons, and make my husband feel quite inadequate. Casting replicas of your body and placing them all over the capital is an awful lot of trouble to go to just to tell everyone you have a big willy.’ However, Christopher Wilson, Director of the Makewood Gallery, insists the figures have staying power. ‘This is a mature work from a highly respected artist. I believe the British public are grown up enough to handle a sculpture of male nudity, regardless of the size of its tinkle.’
Gormley’s most famous work is the controversial Angel of the North, a giant sculpture of a man in a raincoat flashing at the people of Newcastle.