Waste Man was made over a six-week period at the end of summer 2006, out of about 30 tonnes of waste material. This material was gathered by Thanet waste disposal services and by local people, and deposited in Margate.
Some of Gormley’s works are made in wax to be cast in bronze; this was made in domestic waste to be cast in fire.
For Gormley this work was a collective body (similar to Havmann or the Angel of the North) made from the raw materials of people’s home lives – beds, tables, dining chairs, toilet seats, desks, pianos and rubbish (all the limiting baggage of the householder), transformed into energy.
The piece burnt in 32 minutes, sending showers of sparks over the crowd of spectators.