Ambassador Xavier Hufkens

Xavier Hufkens. Photo: Sjoerd van Leeuwen

The gallerist Xavier Hufkens from Brussels has worked for decades with Antony Gormley. Together they realized Exposure in 2010.

“Our collaboration started when I was twenty-two and Antony Gormley thirty-two. I invited him to put on an exhibition in Brussels. Since then, he has had seven exhibitions in the gallery. It was Antony who contacted me enthusiastically about Exposure and expressed the desire to realize this exceptional project in public space.

Technically Exposure was not an easy project. The sculpture is made out of metal structures from power pylons that you can find in Flevoland, and designed by engineers associated with the University of Cambridge. The anchoring of the sculpture, with a height of 26 meters, was a complex undertaking because of the windy climate and the flat landscape.

It’s interesting to me that, despite and because of the complexity of this project, this exceptional sculpture ended up in this unique landscape. This work is about humanity, and is installed at a place claimed by humans over nature and sea. In Flevoland mankind did open a new frontier by reclaiming land from the sea.

As is often the case in the work of Antony Gormley, the sculpture is modelled after his own body. I once asked Antony why he always departs from his own body. He told me his body is an ideal subject matter, because he always carries it with him. And rather than a standing, sitting or reclining figure, Antony thought a crouching figure befitted the Flevoland landscape.

To me the work is about the relationship between the individual and the cosmos. The image is transparent, but if you’re standing next to it you feel tiny. From far away it’s a human figure and from close up it’s a network. That tension makes it very contemporary, because today the world has also become a small place. The work has an enormous visual impact and its impressive how Antony has brought together that many complex ideas in one essential image.

Since its inauguration several years ago, the work has taken on a life of its own. The crouching figure has become another resident of the area. The work is more or less the Eiffel Tower of Flevoland. Of course it’s a complex artistic project, but at the same time it’s also a daily presence and a signal in the landscape. Exposure is a valuable addition to the landscape and life in Flevoland.”