SIGHT | ANTONY GORMLEY ON THE ISLAND OF DELOS
02/05/2019 - 31/10/2019
Archaeological site & museum of Delos island
NEON in collaboration with the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades Present:
Antony Gormley | SIGHT, On the sacred island of Delos
Curated by Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director, Whitechapel Gallery and Elina Kountouri, Director NEON
NEON is proud to present SIGHT 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.
From 2 May to 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
Visitors to Delos are invited to connect with time, space and nature, which inevitably link to our shared future.
SIGHT is organized and commissioned by NEON and presented in collaboration with the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades.