Still Standing marks the first time that a living artist has engaged with the classical galleries of the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.
Antony Gormley placed nine ancient statues in a loose constellation directly on the ground so that these idealised and sexualised bodies shared the same conditions as the viewer.
Seventeen of Gormley’s solid iron blockworks were 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 were contrasted against the ornate neo-classical architectural surroundings and the idealised body-forms of the previous room.
In the accompanying book, Antony Gormley: Still Standing, the art historian Margaret Iversen explores the creative and intellectual context to this unique intervention, which is further developed by the artist in an interview with the exhibition curator Dimitri Ozerkov.
With illustrations of all the works, as well as installation shots showing the public’s interaction with the space, the book fully documents an exhibition that allowed the visitor 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.