Exposure – Lelystad, Netherlands - Atlas Obscura


This giant wire frame man sculpture is crouched in contemplation. 


Separating the intent of the artist from the meaning which is gleaned by an observer is an important step in appreciating any art. So whether or not Antony Gormley meant for his giant metal sculpture, Exposure, to look like a huge man doing a number two, it totally does.

Unveiled in 2010, the giant sculpture took six long years to create due to multiple funding and manufacturing problems. The basic form of the sculpture is of a crouching man, which was modeled after Gormley himself who was cast in the position to get it just right. The overall shape is evident from afar, but as you get closer, it begins to lose its continuity as it’s true form reveals itself. The 85-foot tall figure is actually made of some 2,000 girders of differing length, roughly bolted together with over 5,400 bolts. The girders were each hand cut in a sort of ordered chaos that keeps the work from finding any symmetry.  The closer one gets to the statue, the more it simply looks like a jumble of metal beams.

Exposure is permanently rooted in the middle of a long sliver of land (a polder, which is a Netherlandish term for a small spit of land that is being overtaken by surrounding water), and according to Gormley’s website, it is meant to stay there even if global warming forces the water to rise and cover the polder. This permanence is itself part of the piece.

But all of that aside, Exposure most definitely resembles a giant figure squatting to poop. This is so apparent that the locals have taken to calling the work, “The Shitting Man.” No matter what you take away from the piece, Exposure is definitely a site to behold.  

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