I am amazed to discover this collection of statues modelled on Gormley’s own body have been standing staring out to sea for a decade now. Locals seem to have no idea how many there are; they tell me to count them.
There are 100 of them that toured several cities before being installed here, just north of the port of Liverpool; they are a huge attraction for visitors, and much loved by locals. It is impossible to explain the sense of space and the force of the place, breaking up a broad windswept muddy beach. The figures can be seen up close, but others are far out at sea, submerged or nearly so as the tide comes in. Apparently at high tide the closest ones have only their heads clear of the waves.
They all have small tags on their right wrists but someone has added another. Is this grafitti or a game?
Are they greeting the passing ship, or wading out to board a ship, remembering all those who emigrated in search of a new, better, life?
Look close, to see all those Gormley-ettes lined up, so far apart, yet constantly there. Sometimes they look like posts, some people look like them. You have to watch to see if they move.
Following each other into the waves
The barnacles have found new homes
Others are being plated with new metal
Some are being reclaimed by sand, others losing their footings. This one may topple in time.
Cranes in the distance – we are never far from industry that made these men
The beach is not all sand
Will he jump? Or just stride across the stream?
Left behind by the tide
Gulls are everywhere but not pests here, parts of the vast seascape. This is their home, not ours.
Above us the honk of geese, so much space for them and us
Blink and they’re gone