Hong Kong pulls Gormley roof show 'after bank suicide'

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe life-like sculptures were occasionally mistaken for suicidal individuals when they went on display in London in 2007

A display of human figures on rooftops - by sculptor Sir Antony Gormley - has reportedly been cancelled after the suicide of a Hong Kong bank worker.

The Event Horizon exhibition was due to have been shown in Hong Kong, having toured London, New York and Sao Paulo.

But investment bank JP Morgan is said to have asked for sponsorship to be withdrawn after one of its employees jumped to his death from a building.

The show has won acclaim for examining humans' relationship to urban spaces.

Sir Antony is best known in the UK as the creator of the Angel of the North, a metal figure with outstretched wings that towers over the landscape near the town of Gateshead.

Event Horizon first went on show in London in 2007. The display prompted some members of the public to contact the emergency services after they mistook the life-like sculptures for suicidal individuals.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe artist says his work is meant to be unsettling

The 31 sculptures that form the display were due to have been installed on Hong Kong's buildings after an exhibition of Sir Antony's work at the city's White Cube gallery.

However, the rooftop show was cancelled after Hong Kong Land, a property company, withdrew its sponsorship, according to The Art Newspaper.

The paper says that a branch of JP Morgan, which leases an office from Hong Kong Land, requested that the sponsor withdraw because of the suicide of one of its employees in February.

Bank worker Li Junjie had been photographed before he jumped to his death, standing on the edge of the roof of the JP Morgan office.

In an emailed statement, Hong Kong Land told the BBC that sponsorship decisions were "subject to different factors and criteria", and that it would not comment on individual cases.

The JP Morgan office did not respond to the BBC's request for comment.

An emailed statement from Sir Antony, sent to the BBC, said that he still hoped to show his work in the city.

"We will continue to work with interested parties to bring Event Horizon to Hong Kong," the statement said.

In a 2008 interview with the Reuters news agency, the sculptor said that "art should be an agent for destabilisation, an agent for change".

"Art that makes you feel comfortable is likely to be craft, not art," he is quoted as saying.

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