Embarrassed or Proud ?

//Embarrassed or Proud ?

Embarrassed or Proud ?

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When I learned that Leading British artist Antony Gormley was to create a living monument by asking people to occupy Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth in London, I was intrigued. 24hours a day, for 100 days, people are to make the plinth their own, the people who applied are picked at random, to demonstrate, perform, or do absolutely nothing. I had to wonder; am I clueless or is he gormless? I don’t get it.

What on earth were 2400 different people going to do on a plinth for an hour? How will they make it appealing – or will it just be embarrassing? After all, this is supposed to be an image of themselves, and a representation of the whole of humanity, otherwise known as ‘the portrait of Britain.’
“Through elevation onto the plinth, and removal from the common ground, the body becomes a metaphor, a symbol… In the context of Trafalgar Square with its military, valedictory and male historical statues to specific individuals, this elevation of everyday life to the position formerly occupied by monumental art allows us to reflect on the diversity, vulnerability and particularity of the individual in contemporary society. It could be tragic but it could also be funny.”
Antony Gormley

He made it sound beautifully artistic and poetic, but to be honest – So far, I’d seen more art on a piece of cheese. Nonetheless, determined to appreciate this experience, I continued watching the real time footage provided by http://www.oneandother.co.uk/ who are supporting the event. I saw one plinther, a teacher – dressed in what looked like an Alice in Wonderland costume, passing on messages from her students, and all I could think of was how dreadful it was that everyone could see straight up her skirt! Another plinther I observed was a gentleman -dressed in a suit standing like a statue in the drizzle. Funnily enough you couldn’t help watching to see if he could stay like that for the whole hour, even the crowd seemed to be enjoying it, but I just wasn’t moved.

It was time for me to go to experience it for myself; I imagined it would be different in person –Eager for it to take me over like an all-consuming rock concert.

I was expecting to be suddenly hit by a thunderbolt of artistic awareness, but all I saw was a normal guy sitting on a deckchair, drinking a beer, reading the paper; which, I can assure you -didn’t awaken my inner soul at all. Despondently I trudged off to the National Gallery, until the next ‘performer’ was due; maybe this would stimulate my senses of sculpture and art.

A while later, after a few more depressing, dull plinthers, it was time to drown myself in a cup of tea, I still didn’t get it! The final straw followed my cultural break, the new plinther appeared to be reading a book! I clearly wasn’t going to find what I was looking for, so I promptly proceeded to the Tate Britain for some suitable artistic culture.

Obviously a glutton for punishment, I persevered with my watch on the 4th plinth. Astonishingly a few of the plinthers have entertained me, educated me, and indeed charmed me. I realised that I should be seeing this as a whole, for exactly what it is, a representation of the British public – that we are all slightly eccentric and completely bonkers, but above all we like to have fun.

By |2017-02-08T01:21:37+01:00August 6th, 2009|Categories: Uncategorized|2 Comments

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