Antony Gormley. LEVEL. 2010. Photo: Stephen White

British contemporary sculpture in Hermitage 0

Still Standing: A Contemporary Intervention in the Classical Collection
Rooms No. 108, 109, The New Hermitage, St. Petersburg
23 September, 2011 – 15 January, 2012

Alongside antique Greek and Roman sculptures, the contemporary figures of the notable British artist, Antony Gormley (1950), are on display in Russia's State Hermitage Museum. The exhibition,  “Still Standing: A Contemporary Intervention in the Classical Collection”, is the first time that  works by a living artist have been displayed in the Hermitage's classics' gallery. The exhibition is part of the ambitious project, “Эрмитаж 20/21 (Hermitage 20/21)”, the goal of which is to display in the Hermitage the best examples of contemporary art, thereby creating and crystallizing a 20th century art scene.

“Still Standing” Hermitage

Antony Gormley's works of the last two years are displayed in two rooms of the New Hermitage – in the Dionysis Hall and in the Roman Courtyard (Зале Диониса и Римском дворике). These rooms feature two of the most popular and gorgeous classical interiors found in the famous museum. Utilizing a geometrical and architectonic set of figures, the exposition's sculptures  constitute seventeen human forms. Their rough and multifaceted surfaces of oxidized iron deeply contrast with the luxurious, classical surrounds. An even stronger antithesis is formed by the proximity of the nine antique Greek and Roman sculptures, ideally beautiful and exuding sensuality. These ancient figures have reversed roles – from being expositions themselves, they have crossed over to the side of the viewing public and have changed into mute observers. Still Standing is an important marker in the Hermitage's Programme of the rearrangement of the Classical Antiquities Galleries, which was begun in 1998 and has just recently been completed.

“Standing Room” Hermitage

Mikhail Piotrovsky (Михаил Пиотровский), director of the Hermitage, says: “Antony Gormley has created a living dialog between differing cultures. In his exhibition, contemporary and classical sculptures speak in a new way.”

London-born Antony Gormley is a notable representative of British contemporary sculpture. He has executed wide-scale local and international solo shows, increasingly exhibiting outside of galleries, thereby provoking an active participation from society.

The exhibition's curators are Dr. Dmitry Ozerkov (Дмитрий Озерков), head of the museum's Contemporary Art Department, and Dr. Anna Trofimova (Анна Трофимова), head of the Antiquities Department. An illustrated catalog of the exhibition is available.

Новый Эрмитаж