Find out why there is a statue of a naked man hanging from the ceiling of the National Portrait Gallery


A 102-stone naked sculpture of British artist Antony Gormley has been suspended from the ceiling at the National Portrait Gallery.

The life-size figure was cast from the Angel Of The North sculptor's own body and it is the first time it will be shown in Britain.

Antony Gormley
Antony Gormley (Ian West/PA)

Antony, who is famed for his large-scale artworks focusing on the human figure, attended the installation of the work, titled Object, 1999, on Wednesday.

Visitors to the Ondaatje Wing main hall at the gallery in London will be greeted by the cast-iron sculpture hanging in the air.

The figure is part of Antony Gormley - Object, the artist's first display at the National Portrait Gallery.

Antony Gormley and his sculpture
Antony Gormley and his sculpture (David Mirzoeff/PA)

It will be accompanied from October 5 by the exhibition of Fall, 1999 - a selection of drawings that will be shown in the Balcony Gallery.

Exhibition curator Paul Moorhouse said it was important to display the sculpture in a "void".

He said: "The central preoccupation of Antony Gormley's art is to explore the experience of occupying a human body, and to probe its mysterious relationship with the external world.

Object,1999 (David Mirzoeff/PA)

"By situating a figure standing in a void, this extraordinary installation presents that body-space relationship with great intensity and an affecting poignancy, and is a remarkable exploration of a shared human condition."

Object, 1999, was previously displayed in the Lutherkirche in Hanover, Germany, and now becomes the first artwork to be suspended from the ceiling of the National Portrait Gallery's main hall.

The life-size sculpture on display
The life-size sculpture on display (David Mirzoeff/PA)

National Portrait Gallery director Dr Nicholas Cullinan said: "I am delighted that the National Portrait Gallery will be displaying for the first time in Britain these remarkable works by Antony Gormley.

"We look forward to the gallery's visitors experiencing from many vantage points his powerful engagement with the human figure."

The exhibition Antony Gormley - Object ends on May 21 2017.