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Saturday, 24 September 2011

Antony Gormley at The Hermitage Museum

That very traditional and august institution, The Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg has made available a generous slice of its gallery space and a courtyard for the purpose of Antony Gormley doing what he does best. This is what he has done. The installation is called "Still Standing".


"Still Standing," Gormley calls them,
these figures, lego-like
                        though individual
in poses of becoming,

caught in the fraction
of a second
           before or after
static balance turns to something more dynamic.


They have thrust themselves upon The Hermitage,
are acting out an undisclosed scenario. 
 
Unlike the Gormley castings of himself that brood,
create an ambience, a climate, mood,
a tone, a tenor, or quality of feeling: 

unlike the figures they've displaced;
unlike the best of Ancient Greece and Rome
who form no ties and correspond
with no one, near or far, in or beyond their milieu...
still standing                  but about to spring
to launch themselves, to go to war... 
 
Still standing                 never standing still.


My warmest thanks to all who visitied, and especially to those who left comments, while I was a way. It is good to be back and blogging once again, even after spending a pleasant few days in The Cotswolds, about which I shall no doubt post anon. Thanks again.

12 comments:

Ruth said...

How remarkable that he is the first living artist to bring a display to the Hermitage!

The lyrical language of your poem is very attractive. I like the mind it puts me in, about history, war, and movement of the human organism, with that zinger last line.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I like this poem Dave and consider it a tribute to Gormley. I well remember his Domain field at Baltic at Gateshead. There was something quite eerie about walking through all those statues which really felt like real people. Gormley is a Northern man and his stuff is revered up here. What a privilege to be able to exhibit at The Hermitage. Glad you enjoyed your break in the Cotswolds.

jabblog said...

I really like Anthony Gormley's work and think it's a real honour for him to display at the Hermitage.
Your poem does him honour, too.

Mary said...

I enjoyed your poem, Dave; and then had to check out Gormley, with whom I was unfamiliar. I wonder if his work has ever traveled to the United States. I love the concept of "still standing." I like the new look of your blog. Font is easier to read as well.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Splendid, Dave.
I've followed Anthony Gormley since the early eighties, when he had a couple of pieces in The Great British Art Show in Birmingham.

ArtistUnplugged said...

Must confess to being unfamiliar with Gormley but will be finding out after this post. Your words are beautiful to the eye none the less.

kaykuala said...

Dave,
A living artist given the honour in the Hermitage is really something. Your verse very visibly highlighted this. Thanks for sharing.

Hank
P/S Your new format is easy on us. Reads easily.

Carl said...

Welcome back! Dave!

These figures are very compelling. I could study each of them.

Carl

Shauna said...

enjoyed the airy quality of this
poem and the sober tone.

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

Very good poem and tribute! I enjoyed it! Glad you had a good trip.

Dave King said...

Ruth
Yes, I agree. That IS remarkable, as is the amount of space they have made available to him and the amount of rearranging they have permitted - putting in false floors, etc.

Thank you very much for your kind comments.

The Weaver of Grass
Very many thanks for your wonderfully generous comments. Very pleasing to hear that you liked the poem. And yes, I also find his figures very haunting. It is quite difficult to define why they have the effect they do, I find.

jabblog
Thank you so much for the lovely comment. It is very much appreciated.

Mary
I don't know of any installations of his in The States, but I should imagine it's only a matter of time. His latest one is in the Swiss Alps, he has his figures spread along a contour, each at exactly the same height and "visible" to the two on either side. The logistics of positioning them must have been incredibly difficult, even with the aid of a helicopter. Worth following up if you have the time.

Leatherdykeuk
Thanks for the response. I, too, am a great fan.

Dave King said...

ArtistUnplugged
Much obliged by the compliment. Happy diogging.

kaykuala
Yes, Gormley has achieved the all but impossible, I would have thought. Glad you like the new format. The easy on the eye bit is what was intended.

Carl
Thanks muchly!

Shauna
Hi! and welcome to the blog. Many thanks for your thoughts.

Madeleine
Thanks for the response and for the good wishes.