SHAPING THE WORLD: SCULPTURE FROM PREHISTORY TO NOW
Minerva|January/February 2021
The sculptor Antony Gormley and the art historian and critic Martin Gayford have been talking about sculpture with each other for 20 years.
Maria Earle

Antony Gormley and Martin Gayford THAMES & HUDSON, £40 HARDBACK ISBN 978-0500022672

Now those two decades of friendship have resulted in a fascinating new book, Shaping the World: sculpture from prehistory to now, in which their conversations are reproduced for others to enjoy.

The book’s subtitle suggests that this is an exhaustive and all-encompassing history of the art form. But that is not entirely the case. Though a staggering amount of ground is covered in the volume’s 400 or so handsomely illustrated pages, it is arranged neither chronologically nor geographically, there is no grand debate about art historical styles or subjects, and the term ‘sculpture’ is used in its broadest sense.

It is the book’s main title, Shaping the World, that gives a better clue to its contents – with loose, thematic chapter headings (such as ‘Bodies in Space’, ‘Voids’, ‘Time & Mortality’, and ‘Actions & Events’) providing starting points for free-form conversations that fizz with knowledge and eloquence.

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