Peeling off the skin: Antony Gormley's Inside Australia

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In 2003 the Perth International Arts Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary with a commission given to renowned British artist Antony Gormley (1950 –). Gormley’s Inside Australia is an installation of 51 stainless steel figures situated on Lake Ballard, a dry salt lake in a remote region of Western Australia. His initial attraction to the project was the geology and geography of Australia’s interior but when he discovered the small community of Menzies, Gormley’s ideas evolved towards an exploration of two separate concepts of interior space: one within us, the other embodied in the land. Using computer technology, Gormley made digital scans of most of the inhabitants of Menzies, reduced their lateral dimensions by two thirds and made statues based on these measurements in cast stainless steel. In the ‘chemical’ landscape of Lake Ballard, the Insiders resonate with the landscape and suggest a number of associations with indigenous art, community and culture. They promote a spiritual interaction with the landscape of interior Australia and in Gormley’s words are ‘an excuse for coming here and thinking about this place and the people who dwell in it’. A year later, Inside Australia remains in situ and there are plans to make it permanent. It promises to be another destination in the outback offering the tourist a spiritual pilgrimage into Australia’s interior.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalArt on the Line
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Antony Gormley
  • Australia
  • Perth Festival
  • Contemporary British sculpture
  • Insiders'
  • site-specific art


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