If you read my previous blog you will know that I recently took a trip back to the UK and thought I would take an opportunity to take some photographs of something a little different! Unfortunately due to travel delays, a lack of a Tripod and typically depressing weather I did not spend much time taking photographs however I did stumble upon something that came as somewhat of a surprise.
The image at the top of the page is the sort of thing I had planned to photograph whilst I was in the North East and it is the glorious Infinity footbridge in Stockton on Tees, however the marvelous Temenos (above) by Anish Kapoor took my by complete surprise! I have to admit I had no idea what it was at the time and stumbled upon it, if it is possible to stumble upon something that is longer than a Jumbo Jet and taller than Nelsons column, whilst I was taking some photographs of the 100 year old Transporter Bridge in Middlesborough. I have to say I was captivated and took dozens of images of this piece of work it is huge and dominating but in its own way almost delicate in its appearance. Anish Kapoor may not exactly be a household name but he is a tremendous and well known Indian born British sculptor who is arguably most famous for the Chicago Cloud Gate or Chicago Bean (pictured Below).
Whilst I was processing my photographs it got me thinking about the role of public art,this piece, Temenos is the largest piece of public art in the UK (for the moment) and will form part of the worlds largest public art project once the other four installations are complete. Naturally something this big and costly is subject to a great deal of criticism, this for me is what Public Art really should be, there should be no ambivalence, there should be no way for it to be ignored. How many times do we amble around the towns and cities that we live in and not really notice what is around us, I guess it is just the “modern” way of being and things need to be loud, proud and brash to be noticed and this wonderful piece will certainly not be passed without you being forced to at least acknowledge its existence if not pass comment.
The only thing that is a real shame about this wonderful imposing piece is its location, sandwiched between the riverside Stadium, home of Middlesborough FC and the Transporter Bridge in an area of the city that would not make you feel warm and fuzzy after dark is a terribly shame. The area is apparently up for renewal and should look great eventually however this piece would look amazing perched in front of the town hall in Birmingham City Centre or spanning Trafalgar Square, but no it is hidden in a part of town that only gets visitors when a football match is on! I am sure many would disagree and prefer their “street art” to be a lovely statue of the good and the great of which ever particular town and city that it is positioned in, for me I find that sort of thing lazy it may very well be a fitting tribute but it certainly does nothing to challenge and engage the average passer by.
For me Temenos is beautifully proportioned, it fits right into its environment, it is surrounded by huge things like cooling towers, the Riverside Stadium and the wonderful Transporter bridge (below) and in its environment it is the thing that stands the proudest and shouts the loudest and I for one would love to see more of this and less of the lazy public art that swamps the towns and cities of the UK. Anish KapoorA has also been commissioned to produce a work that will dominate the London 2012 Olympic skyline that will no doubt draw more disapproving tuts from the naysayers and to Anish I say well done and more of the same please kind sir… I do however doubt that our little Hungarian backwater will be getting a Kapoor piece at any time in the future.