Modern sculpture meets ancient Greece in unique island exhibition - GulfToday

Modern sculpture meets ancient Greece in unique island exhibition

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Antony Gormley poses next to his sculpture called "Rule" during his exhibition "Sight." Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP

A stone's throw from the Greek island of Mykonos lies Delos, an uninhabited islet a world away from its neighbour's glamorous nightlife.

It is there, on an island best known for its archaeological treasures, that British contemporary artist Antony Gormley is showing 29 of his sculptures.

Gormley is perhaps best known for his gigantic Angel of the North, a 20-metre high steel work that since 1998 has been an unmissable landmark in its home at Gateshead, northern England.

It's an amazing privilege to occupy a site that hasn't been occupied by a living artist (for) over two thousand years — that's a bit of a challenge isn't it?

But this new exhibition including five works specially created for the event sets his contemporary work among the remains of ancient Greece. 

"It's an amazing privilege to occupy a site that hasn't been occupied by a living artist (for) over two thousand years that's a bit of a challenge isn't it?"

The archaeological finds on Delos date back as far as the 3rd millennium BC up to the Hellenic era of classical Greece.

Its UNESCO World Heritage listing describes it as an "exceptionally extensive and rich" site, reflecting its past as a cosmopolitan port.

The exhibition is intended as a dialogue between contemporary civilisation and the past, says Elina Kountouri, who heads up NEON, the non-profit that organised the show along with London's Whitechapel Gallery.

A conversation about time

Gormley's silhouettes in steel have been installed on different parts of the island, which covers only 3.5 square kilometres (1.4 square miles). 

Another stands in the water at the entry to the island's port, a third at the entrance to an ancient site. 

"For me, Delos as an island has this light and atmosphere and feeling that it timeless or outside the industrial time we are living."

"I live in a world that seems to be ruled by money and I'm trying both to resist that and recognise it.

"It's been for me a real learning curve: how to listen to the marks that are already here how to respond to the geology."

Gormley's exhibition, "Sight", runs on the island until October 30.

Agence France-Presse