Antony Gormley - OBJECT 1999, National Portrait Gallery 2016

Client: National Portrait Gallery
Scope: Devise rigging solution for statue
View at:
The National Portrait Gallery called on the expertise of Unusual Rigging to dramatically suspend a life-size scuplture by Antony Gormley as part of Antony Gormley - OBJECT, the artist's first display at the gallery. Allan Tyrrell, the gallery's engineering manager contacted Unusual having seen an exhibition some years previously at Tate Britain where a Harrier jet was suspended from the ceiling - another Unusual project.

The brief presented to Unusual Rigging was to devise a solution for the suspension of the figure in the main hall. Taking the requirements on board, Unusual:
  • put a hanging point in the ceiling by going through the floor of the restaurant above
  • accessed that hanging point from below using a spider cherry picker in order to rig the statue 17m up in the air
  • devised a way to ensure that the cable suspending the figure would appear to disappear into both the statue and into the ceiling with no sign of fixtures or fittings
  • created an anti twist stainless steel wire rope with a thread on the bottom, which screwed into the statue's head seamlessly, and enabled the team to achieve the right orientation, while ensuring the statue wouldn't spin.

Click for larger view