Mercurial by Alexander Stoddart

Mercurial by Alexander Stoddart
Mercurial by Alexander Stoddart

On a recent return trip to the fascinating city of Glasgow, I was disappointed to find the historic Merchant City area defiled by this particularly egregious example of public art. The subject of public art has been a personal bugbear of mine ever since I discovered its hit and miss existence. Unfortunately, there seems to be a preponderance of very bad art situated in places where people can’t feasibly avoid it.

I had no idea what this was, who the artist was and why it had been dumped there. It turns out to be the ‘work’ of an Alexander Stoddart, a trenchant proponent of classical-type sculpture who is audacious enough to force his appalling models on an unsuspecting public. Apparently, Edinburgh paid £120,000 for a bronze of David Hume which now desecrates their beautiful city centre. So he must be regarded by some in authority. Anyway, there are a few of his figures dotted around in Glasgow by way of some thematic connection to the local Italian Centre.

Apart from the dubiety of working in a steadfastly classical manner at the turn of the 21st century the obvious problem with this piece is how badly it has aged. The thing was completed in 1989 and already it is looking terrible. What irks me the most is the idea of going to the trouble of making something in metal and then coating it in plastic. The skin is peeling off, no doubt assisted by some of the more disgruntled locals. They have also further expressed their disapproval by attaching stickers.

But what really perplexes and upsets me most is why they welded a little yellow metal penis onto a different type of metal body!

Mercurial by Alexander Stoddart (detail)
Mercurial by Alexander Stoddart (detail)

I would provide a link to www.alexanderstoddart.com but it only takes you to some Chinese holding page.