So Ilfracome now has the verity statue, a fine work of art to compete with the Angel of the North. I think it's meant to represent all the single mums down there, I understand the locals have already christened it The Slut of the South. So what is it with councils and their desire to mar our beautiful country with giant works of 'art'? As I write this I feel a little confused…It all started a few evenings ago when fed up with watching the X Files, I looked around for something a little more cerebrally challenging. Then I spotted it, an old recording of a series called Big Art. Now ever since Alwyn went off the air, apart from the occasional appearance by Rolf, decent art programs are about as common as hen’s teeth.
The program opened with the presenter having his Gee Wiz car remodelled by a famous artist/sculptor (never heard of him). By some piece of convoluted logic the presenter then deduced that his car was now a work of art. I wonder if the artist had cooked him breakfast, he would have eaten it or framed it! My understanding of what makes a work of art is something that has no practical purpose other than to elicit an emotional response from the viewer. So I suppose wind turbines would fall into this category and hence why they allow them to be built!
The idea of the show was to follow a community in its efforts to erect a large work of art. The residents were interviewed and one said how nice it would be to have a large monument somewhere (cut to Angel of the North). Monument? I thought that was a memorial! Somewhere along the line a potential contributing artist was mentioned and quoted as being someone who’s art was so radical he didn’t get a degree (must remember that excuse…I wonder if he was doing representational stuff!).
The residents were whisked off to Germany to view a depressing piece of ‘big art’. It wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Stanley Kubrick oddessy with monkeys throwing bones at it. Some local monkeys had tried to brighten it up by spraying their ‘tags’ all over the base which had improved it somewhat. Though I couldn't see Robbo's or Banksey's tag...
By now I was bored and switched back to the X-Files…
I’m not sure about big art, I like Anthony Gormley’s work, though I think Crosby beach was a better place without his cast iron contribution there. I just worry that communities and councils are jumping on a giant Angel of the North bandwagon and despoiling our beautiful countryside with these arrogant erections. Not all art produced by artists is good. If you want to sell a larger piece of work to hang over the mantelpiece instead of a small one in the toilet, the choice of subject and the content of the painting has to be carefully considered. I just wonder if some of the big art accepted by communities is toilet rather than mantelpiece work. And don’t get me started on safety, what with the problems of inflatable versions blowing away and rusting spiky things giving a Damoclesian threat to passers by.
So I say let’s not put up another big white horse or chalk maiden in the countryside and just enjoy nature’s natural beauty.