A major exhibition of seventeen new works by leading British sculptor Antony Gormley will accompany his radical re-hang of the Dionysus Hall in the classical Greek and Roman galleries of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia, opening on 23 September, 2011.
The exhibition, Still Standing: A Contemporary Intervention in the Classical Collection, marks the first time that a living artist has engaged with the Hermitage’s classical galleries. Nine ancient statues placed in a loose constellation directly on the ground so that these idealized and ‘sexualized’ bodies share the same conditions as the viewer. The exhibition is important landmark in the program of the rearrangement of the Classical Antiquities Galleries, started in The State Hermitage museum in 1998 and nearly completed.
Seventeen of the artist’s solid iron blockworks will be shown in a rigorous orthogonal arrangement in the Small Classical Courtyard or Antichny dvorik, one of the most famous interiors of the museum. Developed over the last two years, these works re-describe the space of the human body using the Euclidean geometry of architecture. Their abstract and severely constructed modernist volumes and rough, oxidized surfaces will be contrasted against the ornate neo-classical architectural surroundings and the idealized bodyforms of the previous room.
Antony Gormley was born in London in 1950. His work has been exhibited extensively throughout the UK, with solo shows at the Whitechapel, Tate, Hayward and the British Museum and internationally at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Denmark), Malmo Konsthall (Sweden), Kunsthalle zu Kiel (Germany), National Museum of Modern Chinese History (Beijing), Garage Centre for Contemporary Sculpture (Russia) and Kunsthaus Bregenz (Austria). Increasingly, the artist has taken his practice beyond the gallery, engaging the public in active participation, as in Clay and the Collective Body (Helsinki) and the acclaimed One & Other commission in London’s Trafalgar Square. Critically acclaimed permanent works include Angel of the North (Gateshead, UK), Another Place (Crosby Beach, UK), Habitat (Anchorage, United States) and Exposure (Lelystad, The Netherlands).