Activities Art

5 reasons to visit Antony Gormley at the Royal Academy (with kids)

The Young Londoner has compiled our top five reasons to see this exhibition and why you should bring your offspring with you.

Antony Gormley has taken over the Main Galleries at the Royal Academy for his most significant exhibition in ten years. There’s a whole room filled with mud and water, immersive pieces where you can experience art all around you and of course loads of sculptures. 

Because Antony Gormley is the best British contemporary sculptor

Arguably he is the best living sculptor in the UK right now. From the Angel in the North through to the rooftops of Manhattan and Crosby Beach in Liverpool – Antony Gormley’s pieces can be found in many locations all over the world and focus on the human body, human existence and the space we occupy within ourselves and the world. Observing and engaging with these pieces is a great way to get conversations started with young people around own identity, the environment and the human body.

There’s a baby in the courtyard of the RA

It may be very small but it manages to fill the Annenberg Courtyard at the Royal Academy (and not just with passing culture vultures!). Iron Baby is a tiny sculpture of a little human in the foetal position. Looking so fragile yet made of iron, vulnerable yet almost a tripping hazard; it reminds me of the fragility of humanity. We loved interacting with it, touching, photographing and discussing  it at length. For this writer it was the highlight of the show, lingering in the mind long after we visited the exhibition.

Abstract art that you can interact with

Abstract art or a children’s playground? You be the judge. Children and their adults can touch the sculptures (most of them anyway!) and walk around naked Gormleys hanging from the ceiling or walking on the walls (ok that one is a little strange but still an interesting experience). You can interact with what looks like a massive doodle trapped and wanting to escape from inside a room of the Royal Academy which you can follow up by creating your own version of this doodle (my toddler does this doodle frequently; perhaps I have a Gormley in training!). You can walk through a tunnel where darkness and light work together to amuse and confuse you, possibly making you more aware of your own body as you bump into other people and accidentally touch the walls.

Giant fruit suspended from the ceiling

If ever you needed a way to get the kids to eat healthier foods – maybe this is it? If not – then enjoy this gravity defying sculpture of Body and Fruit. 

There’s an afternoon tea inspired by the exhibition

Yep, you read that right. If the healthy eating option above doesn’t prove fruitful then head down to the Rosewood Hotel in Holborn where Executive Pastry Chef, Mark Perkins, has created an artful afternoon tea with a colourful collection of pastries, inspired by the life and work of Antony Gormley. Here you can sit and contemplate the exhibition whilst sipping on loose leaf tea and munching finger sandwiches. You can indulge in three show-stopping desserts inspired by some of the Gormley’s most famous masterpieces including Body and Fruit, Full Bowl and Matrix II. More info, bookings and pricing on their website here.

The Antony Gormley exhibition is on at The Royal Academy of Arts until 3rd of December 2019. Tickets to the exhibition start at £18, more info and booking here.

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