Gormley was born in London. He read archaeology, anthropology and art history at Trinity College, Cambridge, 1968 - 1971, studied at the Central School of Art, London 1974 - 1975, Goldsmith’s School of Art, University of London, 1975 - 1977 and Slade School of Fine Art, University of London, 1977 - 1979. He was awarded the Turner Prize in 1994 at the Tate Gallery, London. Gormley had his first solo exhibitions in London at the Serpentine Gallery and the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1981 and has continued to exhibit regularly worldwide. He had a major solo exhibition organised jointly by Konsthall Malmo, Tate Gallery, Liverpool and the Irish Museum of Modern Art 1993-1994. His work is included in major international and public collections.
Gormley’s work is concerned with the body and the relation of mass to space. He works with a variety of materials including concrete, iron, terracotta and, most significantly, lead. The lead figure sculptures are moulds of his own body, standing, kneeling, lying, crouching. They are taken first in plaster, adjusted, refined, then cast in fibreglass. The lead is then added in sections and soldered over the fibreglass support. Gormley introduced clay into his practice in the early 1980’s, a medium he associates with a sense of freedom; it is often seen in the form of figures escaping from their lead body casings.
Since the late 1980s, Gormley has undertaken numerous public sculpture commissions and has work sited in Derry, Birmingham, Rennes and Kassel amongst others. His prolific public commissions include what has now become a famous landmark in the north-east of England, The Angel of the North; a vast winged figure in corten steel standing 20 metres high with a wing span of 50 metres. In 1990 he embarked on the first of his Field installations of terracotta figures; approximately 35,000 palm-sized figures, roughly modelled by hand and placed side by side to form a dense crowd. There are Fields for Australia, America, Europe, a Field for the British Isles and Asian Field, the largest of the Field installations, with 190,000 figures, made in 2003 by th artist and 400 villagers in China.
De la Moore la Hirst: 60 de ani de sculptura Britanica (From Moore to Hirst: Sixty Years of British Sculpture), The British Council and the National Museum of Art, Bucharest 2004