Still Standing: A Contemporary Intervention in
the Classical Collection
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 Programme 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, oxidised surfaces will be contrasted against the ornate neo-classical architectural surroundings and the idealised bodyforms of the previous room.
Still Standing affords a unique opportunity to experience a new the predetermined context and content of a museum. In dramatically altering the viewer's normal passage through the gallery space and relationship to sculpture the exhibition proposes that what is seen depends more on the engagement of the viewer's own imagination than on museological theory.
Dr. Mikhail Piotrovksy, Director of the State Hermitage Museum, says: "Antony Gormley is a great sculptor with whom it is inspiring to work. He understands by sense and emotions the main principles of museum life in the Hermitage. He has created a vivid dialogue of cultures which demonstrates that differences are exciting. His exhibition is built in the Antiquity Galleries of the Hermitage Museum, where Contemporary and Classical sculpture speak in a new way. We will see how this new language will be appreciated by the visitor."
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).
The exhibition is curated by Dr. Dmitry Ozerkov, the Head of Contemporary Art Department, and by Dr. Anna Trofimova, the Head of Antiquity Department, The State Hermitage Museum in association with Antony Gormley. A fully-illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition.
The commission forms part of the Hermitage 20/21 project, an ambitious
program aimed at showcasing the best of contemporary art in the Hermitage
and expanding the display of 20th century art.
The constant sponsors of the Hermitage 20/21 project are "Coca-Cola Export Corporation", "Ilim Group", "Leventis Foundation" and "Renaissance Construction"
The sponsor of the lighting system for the Dionysus gallery and the display of ancient sculptures is the A.G. Leventis Foundation.
Still Standing is supported by the Hermitage Foundation UK, White Cube, the British Council and Pro Arte Foundation, St. Petersburg.
The general Media sponsor of the Hermitage 20/21 project is "Afisha" magazine.