Event Horizon is the name of a large-scale public sculpture installation by the English artist Antony Gormley. In 2012, they were installed in downtown São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Gormley describes his statues as “…showing solitary figures installed in groups yet retaining their sense of solitude and reflection.”
“This project is an invitation to look up, the principle dynamic of the work is the relationship between imagination and the horizon, involving the citizen in a game of seeking and perhaps finding. It is great to see an individual or groups of people pointing at the horizon. my idea is that this is a form of acupuncture. These tiny needles going in and around the collective body of the city – in order to release an energy that wouldn’t otherwise arise. Beyond those figures that you can actually see, how many more are out of sight? where is the meeting place of earth and sky? through the catalyst of this installation I want the city of hong kong to become a place of reverie that invites reflection on human nature and our place in the wider scheme of things.” says Gormley.
Originally mounted in London in 2007, the project consists of 31 life-size anatomically correct male bodies, 27 constructed of fiberglass and four of cast iron, all cast from the body of the artist himself, which were placed on top of prominent buildings along the London’s South Bank – for example the Shell Building and Waterloo Bridge. Part of Gormley’s 2007 retrospective exhibition Blind Light at the Hayward Gallery, it was best viewed from the gallery’s terraces. The statues were occasionally mistaken as suicide attempts. The installation was taken down in August and September 2007. Gormley had previously constructed a similar project, Another Place, in Crosby Beach.
In 2010, the Event Horizon sculptures were installed in New York City at sites around Madison Square, as far downtown as Union Square and as far uptown as the Empire State Building. The 27 fiberglass figures were placed on setbacks and tops of buildings, while the four cast iron figures were on the ground in Madison Square Park. The installation was sponsored by the Madison Square Park Conservancy. The 2012 installation in São Paulo and the 2015-16 show in Hong Kong are the same as the London design.
Gormley said of the London installation that “it was great to see an individual or groups of people pointing at the horizon. This transfer of the stillness of sculpture to the stillness of an observer is exciting to me: reflexivity becoming shared.” Of the New York site he said that “Within the condensed environment of Manhattan’s topography, the level of tension between the palpable, the perceivable and the imaginable is heightened because of the density and scale of the buildings” and that in this context, the project should “activate the skyline in order to encourage people to look around. In this process of looking and finding, or looking and seeking, one perhaps re-assess one’s own position in the world and becomes aware of one’s status of embedment.”