Antony Gormley's Sculptural Bodies Land on an Abandoned Greek Island

The British artist’s lifelike sculptures pop up among ancient ruins on Delos, Greece.

Connect (2015) by Antony Gormley. Photography by Oak Taylor Smith, courtesy of Neon.

Antony Gormley may be the first artist in more than a millennium to leave a footprint on Greece’s abandoned Cycladic island of Delos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the birthplace of Olympian deities Apollo and Artemis. Through Oct. 31, the Turner Prize–winning British sculptor has repopulated the 1.3-square-mile island’s grottoes, agoras, theaters, and famous phallic monoliths—timeworn ruins that date back to 2500 BC—with 29 of his life-size iron “bodyform” sculptures.

The show, called Sight, returns a distinctly human presence to the derelict Delos and was commissioned by arts nonprofit Neon, which needed to secure unanimous approval from the Greek Archaeological Council and the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades. “It’s a privilege responding to a place where dialogue between geology and humans has gone on for so long,” says Gormley, who recalls overcoming choppy conditions during installation. “We had force-seven gales and waves up to three or four meters smashing against [sculpture] Another Time, which we put in the sea to the north of the island.” Heavy rainfall also complicated things, but the resulting swaths of blooming spring flowers that now blanket the island help forge an even greater sense of wonder within the already sacred site.

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