Antony Gormley's hidden Berlin masterpiece

Installation by Antony Gormley, Berlin

Gravity-defying metal figures veer horizontally into space, and far below them, a ramp leads into the murky waters of a dramatically flooded courtyard.

The concrete jetty serves little obvious purpose, simply surrounded by the artificial lake and a claustrophobic canyon of windows and walls.

But those who venture onto it become part of the installation, isolated figures themselves overlooked by the jutting male forms.

'Stands and falls (Steht und fällt), a dramatic art work by British scupltor Antony Gormley, Berlin

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For those who know the work of acclaimed British sculptor Antony Gormley, the rusting cast-iron effigies are instantly recognisable. And the piece itself - a hypnotic juxtaposition of geometric and organic form as well as a beautifully conceived meditation on reflection (in every sense) - is arguably one of the artist's very best.

Astonishing, then, that's it's hidden almost entirely from view, rarely witnessed by anyone other than the politicians and functionaries whose offices overlook the interior courtyard.

'Stands and Falls' (or 'Steht und fällt' in German) is one of hundreds of contemporary artworks that were commissioned to adorn the various buildings that constitute the seat of German government in Berlin.

The majority are housed in the Reichstag, where they can be seen on Art and Architecture tours - a top tip for anyone contemplating a visit to the famous dome.

'Stands and Falls', however, is located in the far less well-known Jakob Kaiser Building, and although the imposing glass and steel edifice is likewise open for organised visits, few tourists pass through its doors.

A pity, since the extraordinary artwork it houses is one of Berlin's true hidden gems. Consider making a booking to see it.

See also:
Contemporary art in the Reichstag
Art for free in the Potsdamer Platz

Visit the Bundestag's website to download a guided tours brochure with current times and details. Tours are available in English. Bookings and more information via besucherdienst (at)

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