Monday, 22 October 2007

Statue For St Pancras

Paul Day - The Meeting PlaceSt Pancras International - what used to be St Pancras Station - today saw it's new 30ft-high statue hoisted into position: The Meeting Place by Paul Day. It "reflects the romance that train travel used to have," the artist explained. Spot on. Nowadays we tend to associate rail travel with suffocating crushes, muggings, people smuggling and mad Muslim bombers. How sad. Day's statue puts the finishing touch to that costly redevelopment which St Pancras has undergone for its new role as Eurostar terminus. The service starts running on 14 November.


At 24/10/07, Blogger Chris at Eurostar said...

I agree, it's a lovely statue - I particularly the emotional intensity of the stare between the two couples - we're quite proud of having it in St Pancras and hope it helps bring rail travel back where it belongs in the national psyche.

Incidentally it's not the only art in St Pancras, there is also a wonderful tribute to John Betjeman, looking up in awe of the Barlow shed's arch, by Martin Jennings. And there might be some more art-related announcements for the station in the near future...

At 24/10/07, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Hi, Chris

Thanks for your comment. The statue has a nostalgic 1940s look to it, reflecting old movies. It especially reminds me of a Hollywood film The Big Clock.

Please let me know if any more works of art turn up.

At 14/11/07, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am really confused. We live in a time of extraordinary contemporary artist. People who's creativity reflect the fact that we live in 2007. And Britain has some of the most amazing contemporary artist in the world today. SOmething to be proud of? Hell yes, even if you cannot bear contemporary art.

Why is it then that we revert back to installing public sculpture that has little or no meaning. I understand the two lovers at a train station. Romantic, but also tacky. What about the romance of travelling alone? Does it reflect the fact that we live in a civil liberal society? What about two men, or two women, Father and Child, Mother and sister, two friends? WHy not have something that reflects the fact the St Pancras building survived being demolished in the 60's? Or the new and exciting eurostar terminal will mean for that part of London?

The statue fails as a work of art. Art is powerful and REPRESENTS an idea/situation. This way everyone can find unique, individual and personal meaning with something, and therefore can associate with it.

We live in new and exciting times, and installations like this is a waste of time and money.

Embrace 2007, not 1955.

At 14/11/07, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

The man to thank for St Pancras not being demolished in the 1960s is Sir John Betjeman, which is the reason his statue was commissioned for the station.

The statue you object to does reflect the golden age of rail travel, which isn't today I'm afraid. We used to lead the world in rail transport, but we've slipped way beind Germany, France and Japan.

It is a nostalgic statue, and people like nostalgia. We also like romance when we can get it! And it is contemporary, because it was made recently. If you look at the big picture in visual art (sorry about the pun) you'll find that so-called "contemporary" art is the least of the UK's art output, but it grabs all the headlines because most people enjoy sneering at it. Forget Damien Hirst and think Nick Parks, who is arguably our most successful contemporary artist and is bang up to date.

Compare The Meeting with that ghastly piece of tripe that now glares on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square: Design For A Hotel. Okay, it's German tripe, not British, but it shows how meaningless a lump of "contemporary" art can be when dumped in an inappropriate place.

At 11/12/07, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will they be using a picture of the lovers sculpture on St Pancras souvenir chocolate boxes?
The John Betjeman statue is great!

At 12/12/07, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Glad you like the Betjeman statue.

Is The Meeting chocolate-boxy enough for a chocolate box cover? is the big question. Might not be, because it isn't colourful. But I'll bet somebody sells a good few post cards of it. I can't think of a more romantic picture to send to the nearest and dearest while visiting London (assuming the n & d aren't travelling with one).

At 15/12/07, Blogger Russell said...

But isn't it in a ra
ther strange place. It's in a part of the station which used to be the main concourse but now is very much out of the way.

Surely a better place would have been where they've put the champagne bar, and to take it across both the ground floor and the undercroft.

At 16/12/07, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Hi, Russell

I haven't visited St Pancras to see the statue in situ, so I'll take your word it's a bit out of place. In fact I haven't seen one good photo of it in situ. The only full length photo I saw on the news was taken when the stature was hoisted into place and had ropes round it! If you find a good, full-length, digital photo of The Meeting, please send me a copy.


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