Monday, 17 May 2010

2010:365:137 An Open Mind

"Chiumbo" wasn't the first choice for today's 365Project photograph.  When you see what I'd intended to submit you may agree that the Maasai child looks better.  I took a few pictures, some in the garden where he stood, all seven and a half inches of him, on a tray balanced on top of the wheelie bin!
The yellow duster is still beside the laptop so I had another go with a plain background and some of those turned out okay as well.
For this little statue, given to me nearly ten years ago, I didn't need to keep an open mind.  I love it and the companion one.  They sit almost always on the mantelpiece and remind me of Kenya and the various friends that I have there.
So why the "open mind" of the title?
It is required for a modern sculpture/installation.  One of Belfast's most recent pieces - unveiled in September 2009.
Normally I'm willing to look at modern sculpture with an unbiased eye and allow it to speak.  For this piece, I'd heard so much negative that I was determined to be different and like it!  You could say that I really didn't have an open mind as I made my way along one of Belfast's side streets.  I hadn't even read up about the installation beforehand so as to allow the creation speak for itself.  After all, the "Monument to the Woman Worker" was such a dramatic statement that it hardly needed an explanation.
Well.... it was my first time to go to Arthur Square (when did the name change from "Cornmarket") since the "Spirit of Belfast" had been put on the plinth.  Incidentally, it is known as "The Onion Rings" by locals!
And well.... right!
Seven foot high.  Seven foot wide.  Seven and a half tons of steel.
That about describes it in its totality!
From any angle it is a piece made up from four twenty metre long stainless steel bars...
The artist is a New Yorker, Dan George, who has written a somewhat vague comment about the work.  "It is a timepiece... with the textural beauty and lightness of linen moulded to the structural power and curvilinear grace of an ocean liner."
Yeah.  Right!
Apparently it draws pedestrians into the circular flow of Arthur Square.... it breathes in and out like the ebb and flow of the Lagan...
Like I said: Yeah.  Right!  You can read the rest of his waffle if you Google him!
I'm really not impressed.  The more prosaic of the passers by suggest that it needs a good polish.  The health and safety conscious reckon that you could become impaled on it.  The generous say... it is okay.
Today's viewing wasn't helped by a lone singer - not photographed - who was rendering various songs from the sixties in an off key, off hand sort of way!  He looked thoroughly fed up and was doing nothing to create a vibrant atmosphere that a sunny day demanded.  The artist had just unpacked and maybe would have made an interesting mark.... or maybe not!
As a city sculpture.... enough said, I think!  The Onion Rings don't do it for me.... what about you?

Thou art the peace of all things calm.
Thou art the place to hide from harm.
Thou art the light that shines in dark.
Thou art the heart's eternal spark.
Thou art the door that's open wide.
Thou art the guest who waits inside.
Thou art the stranger at the door.
Thou art the calling of the poor.
Thou art my Lord and with me still.
Thou art my love, keep me from ill.
Thou art the light, the truth, the way.
Thou art my saviour this very day.

by David Adam.


berlois said...

Ha! Ha! Onions rings! Very aptly describes these. they do look like could do with a "spit n polish" as they say.
Probably cost a fortune.
I really wonder sometimes about some of the "Art" that is purchased by local councils, it's all a bit of a laugh sometimes :D
About your beautiful statues, I can see how they would hold great memories for you Elizabeth, they have a presence about them.

Rev Elizabeth said...

£200,000 sterling! Quite a budget. If you Google "Spirit of Belfast" you'll find lots of opinions!! Over here we name all of our statues... and some of the titles are very clever.... not always what the artist intended.
The funniest, in my opinion, is in Dublin. A statue of a Anna Livia lying in a stream.... called "The floozie in the jacuzzi!!
(aka - the whore in the sewer - the two words rhyme!)