Date
20 January 2017
One of Antony Gormley's "naked men" sculptures was seen on the rooftop of the Hong Kong City Hall. Photos: Bloomberg, Ming Pao Daily
One of Antony Gormley's "naked men" sculptures was seen on the rooftop of the Hong Kong City Hall. Photos: Bloomberg, Ming Pao Daily

Rooftop ‘suicide’ sculptures scaring pedestrians in Central

Not a few pedestrians were taken aback when they saw what looked like a man ready to jump from the edge of a building in Central as well as in Admiralty.

At least two people called the police to report a “jumper” on the rooftop of St. George’s Building on Ice House Street in Central, and another one standing atop JW Marriott Hotel on Queensway in Admiralty, Ming Pao Daily reported.

But what they thought were scary instances of someone trying to kill himself were actually part of a public art project called Event Horizon by British sculptor Antony Gormley.

The project, sponsored by the British Council, consists of 31 sculptures of male figures being mounted atop some of the city’s most iconic buildings. 

It seeks to prod people to think about their relationship with the city, organizers said.

Gormley’s work has been exhibited in London, New York and Sao Paulo in Brazil.

Just like in Hong Kong, many people in Sao Paulo saw a man trying to commit suicide when they viewed the sculptures.

Local media dubbed the artwork as “suicide sculptures”.

In fact, this is the reason why the public art project was put on hold for more than a year before it was finally launched in Hong Kong, the first city to showcase the work in Asia.

For many Hongkongers, a suicide case in Central is still too fresh in the memory to view Gormley’s work without feeling uneasy.

Last year, a local bank employee working for investment bank J.P. Morgan killed himself by jumping from the roof of the office building, the Chater House in Central.

The building is owned by Hong Kong Land, which had agreed to sponsor the local presentation of Event Horizon. 

But at the urging of J.P. Morgan, the landlord withdrew its funding for the exhibition.

Robert Ness, director of British Council Hong Kong, said the sculptures are being mounted on the rooftop of several buildings as well as on the ground.

People should appreciate the sculptures as a parts of a whole, Ness explained.

A spokesman for the project said five sculptures were being installed per day across Central and the Western district. The exhibition will end on May 18 next year.

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