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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 4, 2010

'Event Horizon' commands attention

By Katya Kazakina
Bloomberg News Service

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Antony Gormley's "Event Horizon" exhibit is spending time in New York after originating in London. He says the show was supposed to go to Moscow until the city's mayor objected.

JAMES EWING | Courtesy of Madison Square Park

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Naked men loom from rooftop and ledge, disturbing pedestrians in lower Manhattan, courtesy of British artist Antony Gormley's "Event Horizon" installation last month.

The 31 life-size figures are almost identical in appearance though they differ in material and weight. The four made of cast iron weigh 1,433 pounds each and the rest in fiberglass weigh 66 pounds each. They were made from body casts of the artist.

"They are tiny little things given the total complexity of the city," Gormley, 59, said during the installation's opening. The city is a small thing itself from the perspective of his creations atop the Flatiron building and the Madison Avenue building that houses Credit Suisse Group AG.

Perched on the very edges of buildings, including the Empire State Building, the sculptures form stark silhouettes against the sky. Anticipating a flurry of calls from spooked residents, the New York Police Department released a statement explaining that these were not real-life jumpers (It worked, so far no one has called).

"They are displaced bodies," Gormley said. "We are all bodies in space, but where we fit into the scheme of things at large is, perhaps, still an open question."

The project originated in London, with sculptures installed on bridges, rooftops and streets along the south bank of the Thames River. The future of the sculptures is uncertain. The installation may travel to Tokyo. Before New York, the show was supposed to go to Moscow, until the mayor of Russia's capital quashed the plans.

"Mayor Luzhkov was slightly less hospitable than his counterpart (in New York)," Gormley said. "Finally he wrote me a letter saying that he didn't feel that Moscow needed 31 rusty, naked iron men."

If you go to New York City: Look for the 31 lifesize sculptures in Madison Square Park and on the top of buildings throughout the city's Flatiron district through Aug. 15. www.nycgo.com, www.antonygormley.com