Gormley shows off his bodies of work in steel

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Almost 300 unique steel sculptures moulded from the bodies of Tyneside volunteers were unveiled by the artist Antony Gormley yesterday.

He created the work, Domain Field, for the Baltic arts centre in Gateshead, using 290 people aged between two and 85.

Gormley, who is also responsible for the vast Angel of the North sculpture nearby, used models from the town and neighbouring Newcastle.

The process of creating the sculptures involved each of them being asked to strip and then being moulded in plasterby teams of specially trained staff. These casts were then used to construct the individual structures by welding steel elements together inside each mould.

The completed works fill a whole floor of the six-storey art gallery, on the south bank of the Tyne.

Gormley said he was pleased with the results. He said he liked to work in the North-east. "It's a wonderful part of the world, and I think the attitude of people is wonderful. They are just open and ready for anything."

He added that he thought the experience had been liberating for many of the people he had moulded.

He said: "A lot of people have quite negative self-body image issues. A lot of them feel uncomfortable about being naked in front of strangers. A lot of people overcame emotional as well as physical barriers."

One of the volunteers who posed for the exhibition was delighted with the result. Kevin Cheetham, 46, said as soon as he came into the room housing the figures he was able to identify the sculpture based on him. Anyone not so sure can check the label attached to each sculpture to find their match.

The exhibition opens to the public tomorrow and runs until 25 August.