Lonely Planet Writer

The Iron Man of Margate: life-sized Antony Gormley sculpture gets the green light in Kent

Soon, visitors to Margate will notice the figure of a watchful iron man standing on the seafront, partially submerged by sea. This new addition to the sweep of the Kent resort’s sandy bay is the work of sculptor Antony Gormley, best known for his monumental Angel of the North. The Margate sculpture is part of his series Another Time, which has seen 100 casts of the artist’s body placed in various unexpected locations, from a rooftop in Oxford to Herm, most diminutive of the Channel Islands.

Gormley's famous work 'Angel of the North'
‘Angel of the North.’ Antony Gormley’s best-known work in Gateshead, England. Image by: ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images

Construction has begun on a single life-size figure, to be sited on the chalk bed in front of Margate’s Turner Contemporary Gallery. Gormley says, “I wish to celebrate the still and silent nature of sculpture. ANOTHER TIME is necessarily isolated, and is an attempt to bear witness to what it is like to be alive and alone in space and time.” At high tide, the ghostly sculpture will be completely submerged beneath the sea.

An iron figure from the Another Place exhibition looks out to sea
Another Place: one of 100 life-size, iron figures looks out to sea from Waterloo Beach in 2006 in Liverpool, England. Photo by: Jim Dyson/Getty Images

This is only the latest development in kiss-me-quick Margate’s artistic legacy: its long wide open north-facing sands were a favourite spot of Turner, TS Eliot wrote the Wasteland here, and Van Gogh stopped off for a short British break.

Margate isn’t the only place in Kent soon to host Gormley’s work. The coastal town of Folkestone will also host Another Time, with a pair of cast iron, life-sized sculptures placed on the shoreline in late 2017 as part of the Folkestone Triennial.