Lifelike statues teeter at edge of New York rooftops

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Naked figures of human beings have appeared on rooftops and ledges around New York -- not in a sudden rash of suicide threats, but a daring new art installation.

(AFP) -

Naked figures of human beings have appeared on rooftops and ledges around New York - not in a sudden rash of suicide threats, but a daring new art installation.

The lifelike, full-sized figures created by British artist Antony Gormley are already catching the eyes of pedestrians in Manhattan.

The third went up Wednesday and a total of 31 are destined to be installed atop landmarks including the Empire State Building, the Flatiron Building and the New York Life Building.

Four figures will stand at ground level on Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue and other central addresses.

The statues, which are made of iron and fiberglass and modeled after Gormley himself, can look eerily like people contemplating suicide.

"I'm thrilled to be working with New York: people and place," Gormley said in a statement.

"I don't know what is going to happen, what it will look and feel like, but I want to play with the city and people's perceptions. My intention is to get the sculptures as close to the edge of the buildings as possible."

Sara Fitzmaurice, a spokeswoman for the project, said residents would not be alarmed.

"We're very confident that New Yorkers will understand this is an art project and there's also a lot of communication out there about it," she told AFP.

The project has a dedicated website: www.EventHorizonNewYork.org.

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