Saturday, May 24, 2008

Some of my favourite UK Public Art

Two pieces that are still on display, starting with Anthony Gormley's Angel of the North. It stands on a hill by the A1 road near Gateshead in Tyne and Wear. It is 66 feet high and has a wingspan of 175 feet. There is enough steel in the structure to make four Chieftain Tanks and it is wider than the Statue of Liberty is tall.

Serena de la Hay's Willow Man stands by the side of the M5 Motorway (between junctions 23 and 24) near Bridgwater in Somerset. It's 40 feet high and is made from 30 bundles of locally grown 7/8ft steamed black maul willow, woven around a steel skeletal frame. There are over 3 tonnes of steel in the framework.

This one isn't actually on display any more. It's Anish Kapoor's giant indoor sculpture Marsyas that was on display in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern on London's South Bank in 2002. I couldn't get enough of this massive piece and went back to photograph it several times.

Lastly, another sculpture that was on display in London's Trafalgar Square between 2005 and 2007. The statue is of a naked, pregnant woman with no arms and truncated legs. Titled Alison Lapper Pregnant, the figure is 12 feet high and made of marble. It is the work of sculptor Marc Quinn who asked his friend Alison to pose for him as he felt that disabled people were under-represented in art. Very powerful and the object of much discussion.


Tess Kincaid said...

Hi Stevyn,

Thanks for your knowledgeable tips on tea. I've got the kettle on now and I do happen to have a nice box of loose Earl Grey. Is it because I'm American that I've never heard of PG Tips? It sounds like a funny British name.

I'll have to say that "Willow Man" is my favorite of your wonderful art of today's post. The look of movement and texture are fabulous! I especially like the view from the back. He seems to be just trudging along the countryside. Love it!

Me said...

I have seen 3 of these in the flesh so as to speak and they are super. Kind regards. Me!

Stevyn Colgan said...

Ah PG Tips ... one of your other commenters mentioned it. It's about the cheapest 'branded' tea in the Uk and is drunk by the millions of gallons every year. Others in the same sort of league include Lipton's and Tetley's. The better stuff is made by Twinings but there are some other excellent brews out there.

As for the Willow Man ... he's my favourite too, partly for the form, but also because he signifies good times for me. I have to pass him every time I drive down to my native Cornwall. I was hugely impressed by the Alison Lapper statue though. Here is a women who has had to deal with serious disability, prejudice and motherhood and yet has emerged as a powerful and important artist in her own right, a terrific mother and a champion of disabled people's rights. She constantly challenges us able-bodied people to examine our own prejudices about disability and body image. Marc Quinn's statue of her was an amazing tribute and for it to be chosen to occupy the empty fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square was a brave and progressive move. Brilliant stuff.