Gormley persuades Geordies to get plastered for art

Ian Herbert,North
Wednesday 19 February 2003 01:00

Geordies are not known for stripping naked, covering themselves in Vaseline and being caked, head to toe, in plaster. Or not in public, at least.

But anything goes when the request has come from Antony Gormley, bestower of their beloved Angel of the North sculpture – which explains why dozens of peopleprocessed into Tyneside's new Baltic Centre yesterday to deliver themselves up to him in the name of art.

Housewives and former dock workers were among the first of the 240 people aged five to 95 whose plaster incarnations are being used to make Domain Field – a series of life-size metal skeletons representing human beings' energy fields, which will be displayed at the gallery.

They were greased, covered in plastic film, draped in cloth and finally plastered in two sessions. (Torso and legs first, a 90-minute session, with arms and head to follow).

Gormley was enchanted with the "gameness" of the North-east. "It's amazing to see the diversity of individuals, the feeling that each one is [physically] unique," he said.

Speaking from behind a screen that shielded her body, Joanne Curry, 30, a volunteer and mother of two, said having the cast removed "might be the nearest [experience] to being born, emerging from darkness into the light".

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