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I am highly ambivalent (to say the very least) about the majority of free-standing public sculpture but this humble beauty just catches the attention and makes you ponder. It is unusually powerful stuff in a city where the majority of public art thoroughly deserves its site.
Rag and Bone (Hemlös Räv) is a sculpture in Stockholm by English artist Laura Ford. After consultation with the people of Stockholm it was decided to place this exquisite little bronze right next to the government buildings. Can you imagine such a thing in Downing Street or Capitol Hill? It is a constant reminder to the Swedish people in power that their work is incomplete. Begging was historically a rare sight in Sweden but sadly it becoming more common today.
This is a classic piece of public sculpture we came across walking through the cold winter streets of Gothenburg, one of many casts around the world and one of ten in Sweden. It is called Non-Violence by Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd and has become a famous symbol of the peace movement. Apparently Carl was deeply affected by the murders of John Lennon and the drummer Bob Crane. I can testify that as a tender young person I was deeply disturbed by the premature death of Lennon and took the day of school because I was too depressed to go in. Since then I have sometimes wondered if he was just too much of an irritant to the global establishment. An even more depressing thought...
"Go to the ant, thou sluggard, see how she's doing and be wise" Proverbs 6: 6
Again, I can't say I am ordinarily fond of giant sculptures of animals but these ants by Torgny Larsson are exceptional in concept and execution.
This from the artist:
"I wanted to not only remove the company logo to a three-dimensionally portrayed little story but also pull up the ants' world to the human scale and bring the design to the scientific careful studies of the red forest ant, Formica rufa.
In the preface to the book "ants life," published in 1910, the author wrote Gottfrid Adlerz about "Many fanciful stories can be written about the ants but none are as stunning as the real study of the ants 'life'."
I love this local sculpture only when it is in a state of refurbishment. It's very interesting to see the poor tree-guy trapped inside a secure tent and trying to poke a hole in the roof with his branch arms. Much less interesting when he isn't. Maybe they should leave it like this permanently. No chance of that I suppose... The council would never recognise accidental great art when they see it.
You may find quite a few images of 'exploded planes' on here. I think it has been an obsessive fascination of mine for a long time. But that is hardly surprising when you consider that two of the most significant news events in my lifetime have involved dramatic crashes. I refer to Lockerbie in 1988 and 9/11 in 2001. What links them and keeps them ever present in my mind is the enormous injustice attached to these tragedies. Whatever picture you may have formed of the causes and background to them there is absolutely no denying that there has been great obfuscation on the part of the authorities. Which can only lead to the conclusion that there are things to hide.
Lockerbie was on my doorstep as a young art student in Dundee and with a family home in Glasgow. I recall a journalist friend, Sandy Bell, coming back and telling us over Christmas of his horrendous experience at the site.
9/11 found me at home in London. I had been a frequent visitor to New York as part of 1990s art scene. I think this is the inspiration for my tendency to deform and shatter architectural 3D models. Downloaded free building models are imported and broken up into abstracted fragments which provide and endless source of fascination in the way the individual parts fall, catch the light and create gorgeous shadows. There has been much made of certain artists' (Hirst and Stockhausen) reaction to the event but I think they merely state what we all must feel; the spectacle is unprecedented and darkly aesthetic. It is artists who dare to say what we all secretly feel and there is no point in punishing them for it.
I am interested in another type of 'exploded plane', namely the broken symmetry of the 2D surface. It is just a little pun, not really intended.
This park bench in the small Swedish town Falköping is like a work of public art just because the seat is missing. It would perfectly belong in any British Sculpture exhibition in the early 70s. There is an optical-illusory quality to the frame when viewed from particular angles. It is now art because I say it is (just kidding)!
Glasgow street art can be very intriguing and slightly odd. This artist recurs in various locations always featuring the pixellated head and enigmatic phrases.
"What piece of work is a man. How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an Angel, in apprehension how like a god, the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals – and yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me – nor Woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.” (Hamlet, Act II Scene ii)
There is a melancholic aspect to the design and the quote, taken out of context, has a wonderfully confusing aspect.
A very bold stencil of a panda which I thought was applied by a highly skilled Chinese artist appeared one day in a Glasgow back street. It turns out to be the work of the celebrated local artist Klingatron. I love the scale and technique, large areas of even colour with incredible detail are layered with the top coat in white which is risky since it would need to block out lots of dark grey below. It's an ambitious job which leaves me wondering how the stencils were created and held in place.
I love this poster from the Gunnersbury area in London. It really messes with my head but I guess it helps if you are old enough to know who the pictures represent. I suppose it is also necessary to know the ridiculous new artists named in the text. The whole thing then becomes a value comparison for the generations. Which is worse, text or image?
Lennon and Streisand obviously don't fit because of their huge artistic integrity!