An unprecedented exhibition by British sculptor Antony Gormley at the archaeological site of Delos. 29 iron “bodyforms” have been scattered among the ancient columns and stones of what it once was the holy sanctuary for god Apollo and his sister Artemis.
The exhibition entitled SIGHT is taking place in collaboration with the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades, on the archaeological site and the Museum of Delos Island.
It runs from May 18 to October 2019.
It is the first time ever that Greece allows an exhibition of a private artist on an archaeological site.
“This project by the renowned sculptor marks the first time that an artist takes over the archaeological site of Delos since the island was inhabited over 5,000 years ago and is the first time a contemporary art installation has been unanimously approved by the Greek Archaeological Council to take place in Delos,” organizer Neon says in a statement.
SIGHT is specially conceived to resonate with the statuary, temples, squares, vistas and the topography of the island of Delos, the statement adds.
In this installation on Delos, Gormley “repopulates” the island 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 specially commissioned new works, both at the periphery and integrated amongst Delos’s archaeological sites.
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.
Asked by greeknewsagenda, what prompted him to make the proposal for such a project, Demetrios Athanasoulis, Director of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades, pointed to “the constant search for new ways of perceiving antiquity and monumental heritage and the public’s renewed interest in space redefined by a contemporary art installation were the main reasons that instigated our initiative to host contemporary art on Delos.”
In a statement he said that “Antony Gormley’s sculptures give the visitor the pleasure of wandering amid this Delian anasynthesis which is ideally suited to reflecting on our identity and exploring our cognitive and aesthetic ties with the past.”
But why should an ancient site need an anasynthesis revived by a British artist?
What is the point of this controversial experiment? Who is searching for new ways to perceive antiquity? Wouldn’t this modern art distract from the glory of the antiquities?
*pictures: Antony Gormley, Connect, 2015. Installation view, SIGHT, at the archaeological site of Delos 2019. © Oak Taylor Smith | Courtesy ΝΕΟΝ, Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades and the artist via various media.