Antony Gormley's "Event Horizon" in London, 2007 (photo by Flickr user Little Blue Penguin)

Antony Gormley’s “Event Horizon” in London, 2007 (photo by Flickr user Little Blue Penguin)

When Antony Gormley’s “Event Horizon,” a series of 30 life-size fiberglass sculptures cast from the artist’s body, were first installed on rooftops around the city of London in 2007, people mistook them for suicide jumpers and called the police. Now, a presentation of “Event Horizon” in Hong Kong has been canceled because of a real suicide, The Art Newspaper reported.

In February, Dennis Li Junjie, a junior employee of JP Morgan in Hong Kong, leapt to his death from the top of the 30-story skyscraper in which the firm is based. “The pressure of work was a possible motive,” according to the Daily Mail. JP Morgan’s landlord, the company Hong Kong Land, was the sponsor of the upcoming “Event Horizon” installation; in light of the suicide, the bank asked Hong Kong Land to withdraw its support, and the company acceded. Hong Kong Land told the BBC by email that “sponsorship decisions were ‘subject to different factors and criteria’, and that it would not comment on individual cases.”

"Event Horizon" in New York, 2010

“Event Horizon” in New York, 2010 (photo by Flickr user jerseygal2009) (click to enlarge)

Besides London, “Event Horizon” has been shown in New York, in 2010, and São Paulo, in 2012, resulting in emergency phone calls from concerned passersby every time. The display in Hong Kong was timed to coincide with Gormley’s first exhibition in the city-state, which ran March 28–May 3 at a branch of White Cube gallery. Gormley himself hasn’t given up hope that the work will be displayed there. Calling Hong Kong “one of the major high density cities in the world,” the artist told The Art Newspaper, “Its combination of high-rise buildings in a context of mountains and sea make this an exciting proposition and we will continue to work with interested parties to bring Event Horizon to Hong Kong.”

"Event Horizon" in London, 2007

“Event Horizon” in London, 2007 (photo by Dan Taylor, via Flickr)

"Event Horizon" in São Paulo, 2012 (photo by Igor Schutz, via Flickr)

“Event Horizon” in São Paulo, 2012 (photo by Igor Schutz, via Flickr)

Jillian Steinhauer is a former senior editor of Hyperallergic. She writes largely about the intersection of art and politics but has also been known to write at length about cats. She won the 2014 Best...

4 replies on “Rooftop Sculpture Installation Canceled After Suicide”

  1. Yes, remove the artwork, but not the toxic workplace environment that caused the suicide. Nothing to see here, move along.

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