Antony Gormley: Sight On the Sacred Island of Delos, Greece

Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Antony Gormley: Sight On the Sacred Island of Delos, Greece

Why would you go to Art Basel if you can see Antony Gormley ‘s installation 'Sight' on the sacred island of Delos, Greece? Organised by Neon - a nonprofit organization that works to bring contemporary culture closer to everyone. It is committed to broadening the appreciation, understanding, and creation of contemporary art in Greece and to the firm belief that art is a key tool for growth and development.

Image: Antony Gormley, Another Time V, 2007. Installation view, SIGHT, at the archaeological site of Delos Island, 2019. Photograph © Oak Taylor Smith | Courtesy NEON; Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades and the artist

 

 

Sight is an unprecedented site-specific exhibition by British artist Antony Gormley, in collaboration with the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades, on the archaeological site and the Museum of Delos Island, organized by Neon. 

 

Antony Gormley, Connect, 2015. Installation view, SIGHT, at the archaeological site of Delos Island, 2019.
Photograph © Oak Taylor Smith | Courtesy NEON; Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades and the artist.

 

Through 31 October 2019, Gormley repopulates the island of Delos with iron ’bodyforms’, restoring a human presence and creating a journey of potential encounters. He has installed 29 sculptures made during the last twenty years, including 5 new works specially commissioned by Neon, both at the periphery and integrated amongst Delos’s archaeological sites. Sight is curated by Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director, Whitechapel Gallery and Elina Kountouri, Director, Neon.

 

Antony Gormley, Another Time V, 2007. Installation view, SIGHT, at the archaeological site of Delos Island, 2019. Photograph © Oak Taylor Smith | Courtesy NEON; Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades and the artist

 

The works animate the geological and archaeological features of the island: a granite rock in the middle of the Cycladic Islands in the Aegean less than 5 kilometres long and 1.5 kilometres wide, which has a past filled with myths, rituals, religions, politics, multiculturalism and trade. Its intertwined and contrasting identities, as both holy place and commercial town, combined with its topography and geographical location, made the island a singular and cosmopolitan Hellenistic town.

 

Antony Gormley, Connect, 2015. Installation view, SIGHT, at the archaeological site of Delos Island, 2019.
Photograph © Oak Taylor Smith | Courtesy NEON; Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades and the artist.

 

Mythology tells us its first name was «Άδηλος» (A-Delos), meaning ‘the non-visible’ – a floating rock with no fixed location. It became «Δήλος» Delos, ‘the visible’, when Zeus arranged for Leto, his mortal lover, to find refuge there, safe from the wrath of his wife, the goddess Hera. When Leto gave birth to twins Apollo, god of light, and Artemis, goddess of the hunt, the island’s destiny and future prosperity was assured. This unique history is imprinted on Delos’s architecture, sanctuaries and houses, and in the past was animated through rituals that celebrated the gods and protected the island. Later, sanctuaries to foreign deities, including Serapis and Isis, were built here.

 

Antony Gormley, Connect, 2015. Installation view, SIGHT, at the archaeological site of Delos Island, 2019.
Photograph © Oak Taylor Smith | Courtesy NEON; Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades and the artist.

 

Gormley completely reinterprets the function and purpose of sculpture, transforming the traditional statues and totems of the ancient world that once adorned public squares, temples and private dwellings into sites of empathy and imaginative projection.

 

Antony Gormley, photo courtesy to Neon

 

The first connection between visitors and the work is established before they even set foot on Delos. Approaching the rugged northwest coast, they catch sight of a lone figure (from Gormley’s series Another Time, 1999–2013), standing sentinel on a rocky promontory at the water’s edge. Two more works from the same series – also looking towards the distant horizon – stand on Plakes Peak and on Mount Kynthos, and another similar work stands in the waters of the harbour. Further sculptures are integrated with archaeological sites across the island, from the Stadium to the Τheatre district and from the merchant stores to the Museum site.

 

Antony Gormley, Connect, 2015. Installation view, SIGHT, at the archaeological site of Delos Island, 2019.
Photograph © Oak Taylor Smith | Courtesy NEON; Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades and the artist.

 

Visitors to Delos are invited to connect with time, space and nature, which inevitably link to our shared future.

Demetrios Athanasoulis, Director of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades, says ‘Delos, the birthplace of Apollo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world's foremost and most popular archaeological sites, will for the first time host an expansive contemporary art installation. With this aim, the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades has collaborated with Neon in organising Antony Gormley's installation. The unique natural and archaeological landscape of Delos will be illuminated by the vision of a great contemporary creator, offering a truly unique experience to the visitor.’

 

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