STILL STANDING, STATE HERMITAGE MUSEUM, ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA, 2011 - 2012
23 September 2011 - 15 January 2012
STILL STANDING marks the first time that a living artist has engaged with the Hermitage's classical galleries. Gormley places nine ancient statues in a loose constellation directly on the ground so that these idealised and sexualised bodies share the same conditions as the viewer.
Seventeen of Gormley'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.
The book accompanying the exhibition is published by Fontanka and available from Thames & Hudson for £24.95.