Nick Hackworth

Antony Gormley, White Cube

Essays & Reviews Evening Standard

Clearing is the simplest and best thing that Antony Gormley has ever done.

The one-time Turner Prize winner is best known for his sculptural depiction of the human form using heavy metal casts, a body of work that saw its logical conclusion in his leaden monument, Angel of the North. But over time his pieces have become lighter, literally, as he has further explored the idea that physical forms are made up of insubstantial fields of energy, actual and spiritual, rather than being heavy lumps of impenetrable matter.

His recent sculptures have been skeletal instead of solid, made up of welded struts of aluminium. On the Thames at Greenwich sits Quantum Cloud, his unfortunately all too static and laboured attempt to capture the chaotic vibrancy of the subatomic world.

Now in White Cube’s main gallery, Gormley has finally succeeded in sculpturally depicting energy and movement, while still using a material as uncompromising as metal. All he has done is taken long, thin bands of aluminium tube and coiled them in enormous loops that push up against the walls, ceiling and floor of the gallery.

Technically the spaces formed by the loops relate to the dimensions of Gormley’s body and so are linked to the rest of his work. But that is easily forgotten as you step into the gallery space, over the loops, for you feel as if you are inside an exploded particular vision of the world.

Upstairs there are three of his typical, life-size humanoid forms, these ones made of many rectangular metal chunks of varying sizes. Outside the gallery entrance stands one of his old-style body casts, bent and dipping into the wall. They are heavy reminders of the material world that Clearing leaves behind.

Until 29 May. Information: 020 7930 5373.