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Gormley statues – Manufacturing one of Australia’s largest outdoor galleries

By January 8, 2020VEEM History

In 2003, VEEM worked closely with Antony Gormley to bring to life 51 alien-like sculptures to be placed across the flat salt-encrusted expanse of Lake Ballard in Western Australia. The ‘Inside Australia’ project was the largest outdoor gallery art project in Australia at the time and still draws thousands of visitors from all over the world to the remote site.

The project was part of the 50th anniversary of the Perth International Arts festival and took over six months from design through to installation. VEEM Ltd was able to bring Gormley’s designs, which were naked representatives of the residence of Lake Ballard, to life in our local, non-ferrous foundry.

The moulding and casting process were carefully choreographed and occurred over several days. Once the patterns were carefully cut and assembled, polystyrene runners were fixed between the limbs and body to allow for the metal to run through the whole piece. To assist pouring the liquid, ‘in-gate’ risers were also attached to figures shoulders and backs.

The life size patterns were then placed face up on our foundry floor for moulding. To create the mould, we used a combination of silica and zircon casting sand, dampened with phenolic-setting resin. Each mould was left to harden for at least a day before the intricate casting process began.

To cast, the figures were lined up side by side and a temperature controlled alloy containing titanium, molybdenum and vanadium was poured throughout. After the casts were left to cool, any excess metal was cut off with a grinding disk, a process known as ‘fettling’. The last step of fabrication was the fitting of the footings, after that the figures were loaded onto a flatbed road-train and transported to Lake Ballard.