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Community Response

Antony Gormley is interested in how the public engage with his sculptures. By deliberately placing the work in the public realm rather than the contrived gallery environment, Gormley forces unexpected viewers to interact directly with his cast figures. As a result the reaction felt and questions raised can vary a great deal; from curiosity and intrigue, to uncertainty and shock.

To gauge what the public thought of 6 Times, the National Galleries of Scotland gathered some responses to the six different figures shortly after they were unveiled in June 2010.

Douglas Coleman – Forth Ports Manager

‘…from the time when we put the mannequin up we had an appreciation that it was going to be small. And whilst 6 Times is all about life size sculptures out there in the dock it is tiny, it shrinks, it is insignificant.’

‘…it is not just exposed to the people of Edinburgh and the people of Leith – that sculpture has so far been seen by German warships, NATO warships, an Italian cruise liner, so there is all sorts of people exposed to that work of art, including our own staff in terms of tug captains, harbour masters, visiting work boats, fisheries protection vessels etc. It is exposed to a very wide audience in those locations, and a lot of whom would never ever consider of going to an art gallery or museum.’

Aaron Wright – Joiner

‘On my lunch break, just came and stopped at this bridge, cos everybody telt me there was men in the river type statues.’

‘It’s quite interesting but I’m not too sure if I like it. There are bits of it I like and I guess you’ll get different views from different places. It makes you curious as to why there is something down there. It is probably there to generate life down in the river, in the sense of living part, cities need people and people need people.’

Máximo Sanchez and Mariana Rojas – (Leith Docks)
‘For a second I thought it was a real person and then when I came closer I realised it was a statue.’

‘It looks like a scarecrow.’

‘It is interesting because he is interfering with nature but at the same time he is trying to blend with nature somehow.’

Adam Gordon – student
‘I like them, I do actually. I find them interesting – they’re quite mysterious despite the fact they are in the human form and to scale of the person, they still seem a bit more enigmatic. Even if you are close up to them they have a bit of mystique about them… you know, if you are far away you wonder what it is but if you go up close, there’s still a bit of mystery about them, the figure that is in front of you.’

John Tucker – Public Safety Supervisor at Ocean Terminal
‘I thought it was a dude butt naked standing out at sea… I thought, what’s that all about?!’

‘It needs an explanation. Why is he butt naked, especially for kids? Children would find it hard to understand.’

Observer 1 from Poppy Scotland (Art lover)
‘Looks okay if you like naked men, which I don’t.’

Observer 2 from Poppy Scotland

‘I’m no art critic, but that is awful. The statue is of a naked man in the middle of water, in spitting distance of two children’s play areas: totally inappropriate.’

‘From the road bridge it looks like a teenage girl covered in mud. It’s mostly obscured from the bank due to the foliage. I am tall but had to stand on tip toe [to see it].’

Two young mothers in Stockbridge

‘It’s quite cool.’

‘I want to do the walk. We’ve both got kids so we will definitely do it. And with kids there will be a hundred questions.’

‘Where’s his bikini gone?!’

Colin Lindsay and son Tom – (Stockbridge – they have seen most of his works in Britain)

‘Absolutely love them.’

‘We started at the gallery this morning. It will encourage people off the road. Edinburgh is a different city when you get off the beaten track.’

‘Fabulous thing for Edinburgh. It is getting people to interact with art.’