Anthony Gormley becomes a German citizen due to the Brexit ‘tragedy’ | Anthony Gormley

Famous British sculptor Anthony Gormley became a German citizen due to a “tragedy” Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Gormley, who is half German, spoke in a retrospective of his work at the Vorlinden Museum near The Hague about his strong feelings about Britain’s departure from Britain. Europe prompted him to apply for German citizenship.

“I am embarrassed about Brexit: It is a practical disaster, a betrayal of the sacrifices of my parents and grandparents in order to build a Europe that will never be divided again. It is a tragedy,” said the creator of the Turner Prize-winning Angel of the North, at the opening of his show in Wassenaar, the Netherlands.

The 71-year-old expected to receive his new passport next month, he said, by virtue of having a German mother. Gormley added that he believed that many prominent British politicians did not serve the interests of the country. He said: “Britain has fallen into the hands of those who seek for themselves and are not interested in public service but in their personal jobs, which is a disgrace.”

The sculptor’s decision is the latest in a series of high-profile defections from European citizenship in protest of Britain’s exit from the European Union. Actress Cornelia Parker is about to apply for a German passport.

Like Gormley, the artist is half German and has remained enthusiastic. “Brexit affects everything,” she said last month.

“Your freedom of movement, my daughter’s future. I’m thinking of applying for German citizenship because I’m half German. I don’t like feeling like I’m not part of Europe. I don’t want to be small from England.”

Art dealers warned last month that Britain’s reputation as a center of commerce was eroding, as it was revealed that the country’s share of the global art market fell 3% last year to its lowest level in a decade.

An abstract standing human figure entirely made up of rectangular metal blocks of different sizes
Possibly one of the envisioned giants of Gormley’s latest project: five mega-figures looking to the UK from France. Photography: Anthony Gormley

Figures from HM Revenue and Customs published in this year’s Art Basel/UBS report on the global art market show that the value of art and antiques imported into Britain in 2020 is down by a third from 2019.

Brexit is believed to be the main reason for the sharp decline, although the pandemic has also hampered trade. Increased paperwork and new requirements to pay VAT on imports when moving art from the EU to Britain are major obstacles.

Before Brexit, European artists could bring their work for sale at no cost. Now they have to pay a 5% tax.

The number of art agents who have moved from London as a result is unclear, but next summer is expected to be decisive. Some art galleries are warning that London will suffer as Paris did in the 1960s, when a complex system of taxes and royalties on sales of artwork led to businesses diverting to America and Britain.

Gormley made his announcement after discussing plans to create seven “Brexit giants” off the French coast, a project It was first identified on the eve of Britain’s departure from Europe. The sculptor wants to create a series of colossal iron statues on the coast of Brittany, looking to Britain as the lost island of Europe.

Angel of the North seen silhouetted from behind against a dramatic cloudy sky, with a jogger running on the road below
The Angel of the North, perhaps the best known of Gormley’s works. Photography: Richard Saker/The Observer

Speaking to Dutch journalists, Gormley said he believes this project will be his most important legacy. “I am talking to the French Minister of Historical Antiquities,” he said. “It’s the most exciting prospect of a permanent job.”

The sculptures, which are set to resemble abstract iron figures, will rise on an archipelago of small islands in the Pays de Morlaix in Finistere, near an ancient burial site.

“This is for Brittany’s north coast, where there is one of the largest single tombs, 11 passage tombs built around 2700 BC,” Gormley said last week.

I want to answer these ancient monuments in an industrial way. Whether it will happen depends on the money. But I’m really excited about it.”