Event Horizon, a city wide installation in Central, Hong Kong by Sir Antony Gormley has got more than a few Hong Kong residents hot under the collar.
What's the issue? Is it that the 31 lifesize and anatomically correct bodies are basically like illegal immigrants? No, that's not the case: they've been commissioned by the British Council and paid for with the public purse. And they'll be around until May 2016. And the statues have all been modelled off of Gormley himself, so technically it's just one person we're talking about. Sculpture I mean. Sheesh.
Is it that the placement of a few of the statues atop of tall buildings set off a spate of panic from some residents who feared they were witnessing people who were attempting to plunge to their death from great heights? No... Well, that happened in the sense that police allegedly received calls but these boys are a bit too stable to do anything rash. And besides before arriving in HK they were temporarily resident in Rotterdam, NYC and in Brazil. They're way too street smart for that nonsense.
Hong Kong is full of sophisticated people and more and more is becoming seen as one of the main artistic centres of Asia- not just the financial one it has long been.
That said, culturally there isn't much of a precedent for these kinds of works in this area. So they're pointing out the statues - 31 of them in a city that's home to 7 million people (?- fact checker?) are variously creating a nuisance, an obstacle or other health and safety issues. Basically that the presence of these figures is interrupting the bustling nature or Central.
Remember this is Hong Kong, not Rome or Rio. People move faster in HK, they've got things to do, don't you know? As much as the idea of these sculptures has to be a little confronting for some, I've a feeling that Gormley's goal of having residents reassess their setting, and looking at the urban environment they live in with a sense of wonderment will win out.
The idea that they attract the eye up and down and all around the city, with each statue being visible to another, sounds like a winning city walk in the making to me.