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HK Magazine Archive

"Event Horizon" Wraps Up Its Hong Kong Leg

Antony Gormley brought a new perspective to the city's public art scene with his 6-month long exhibition, “Event Horizon.”

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 May, 2016, 5:25pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 5:09pm

Say goodbye to the big brass men: British sculptor Antony Gormley’s “Event Horizon” is over, having officially wrapped up on May 18—but the city's statues are being dismantled through to June 3. The 6-month installation, presented by the British Council of Hong Kong, features 31 fiberglass sculptures cast from the artist’s own body, standing atop Hong Kong’s skylines and ground level. It became the city’s most extensive public art display.

A press release from the British Council quoted Gormley, “It was exciting making Event Horizon in Hong Kong. Whether visible or not, somehow the subtle influence of those lookouts on high towers seemed to me to make the tight streets of Hong Kong more open and alert. I look forward to all future attempts to engage the public imagination—being able to dream with your eyes open is good.”

Gormley has said the purpose of his work is to challenge people to look up and engage with familiar places in a new way, to serves as a  way to stimulate questions on how human nature responds to a man-built environment.

But the installation has been more than subtle. The Event Horizon exhibition was originally scheduled for May 2014, but was postponed due to sponsors withdrawing after a JP Morgan banker jumped to his death from one of the display locations, the rooftop of Chater House. Controversies continued after the exhibition eventually commenced on November 19, 2015, when the police received multiple reports from terrified citizens that people were attempting suicide. The multi-part site installation has visited London, New York and Sao Paulo before, and in every city it has alarmed passersby who thought that the figures were real people attempting to jump off buildings.

Nonetheless, the past six months have prompted Hongkongers to turn their heads away from their smartphones for a while and look again at thier city.

The Director of the British Council in Hong Kong, Robert Ness, noted that the reaction has demonstrated that there is a thirst in the city for imaginative, daring art. “That augurs well for the future of public art projects here,” he says.