Antony Gormley: Still standing
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, Antony Gormley: 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 an 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 anew 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."
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.
This Exhibition was made possible by the support of the following partners: the "Hermitage 20/21" Project, the Coca-Cola Company, the Ilim Group and Renaissance Construction Ltd.
The lighting system in and the expansion of the classical sculpture collection was sponsored by the A.G. Leventis Foundation.
This exhibition was organized with the support of the Friends of the Hermitage (UK), the British Council, the "White Cube" Gallery, London, and the "Pro Arte" Foundation, Saint Petersburg www.proarte.ru.
The general informational partner of this Exhibition is "Afisha" Magazine.