Monday, 10 September 2012

Awilda in Rio

The Paralympic flag being handed over to the mayor of Rio de Janeiro yesterday reminded me of this photo of Awilda, the latest sculpture from Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, rising from the waters of Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro. It's part of the public art exhibition Other Ideas for Rio (OIR). She gets around, this girl. She first appeared on an old Merseyside slag heap as The Dream (CLICK), then cropped up in Yorkshire Sculpture Park amid other elongated girls' heads (CLICK). As Echo, she rose above Madison Square Park in New York City (CLICK). Now here she is in Guanabara Bay.


At 10/9/12, Anonymous Kris said...

Why do so many modern sculptors seem to keep endlessly reproducing minimal variations on one idea? Where's the challenge of an original design gone? Is it just economics - or are the buyers lacking imagination and just saying "I'll have one like that please".

The stained glass artist who created my panels refuses to allow her commissions to be reproduced elsewhere, even under licence. Every customer gets a one-off designed to suit their location.

At 11/9/12, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Hi, Kris

You raise an interesting point. Economics is certainly one aspect. Damien Hirst, our richest artist, has a factory producing all his works. There's a limit to what one artist can produce by himself. Even the old masters had apprentices producing copies of their most popular paintings.

Artists crave critical approval and public acclaim. If they win approval for some work, the temptation is to produce it again and again. Antony Gorley's nude self keeps popping up all over the place. Then there's that mad March hare I wrote about recently.

To be fair to Jaume Plensa, he did win the international competition to design the War Reporters Memorial for the BBC.

Sir Arther Conan Doyle got sick of Sherlock Holmes and killed him off, but was forced to resurrect him by public demand. So it's the same for authors as for artists. A series is much easier to sell than a one-off novel. Even when the author is sick of his creation, he must keep going. He's holding a tiger by the tail.

Lovely stained glass, but I'm sure the artist won't ever become a millionnairess.

At 12/9/12, Anonymous Kris said...

There is usually a conflict in everyone's life between doing what pleases them - and what pays the bills. Labours of love are usually not cost effective - even if they happen to receive public acclaim. Many great sculptors died in poverty.

That stained glass artist gave up a professional career to do stained glass full time. She literally cut up the gold credit cards.

At 12/9/12, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Hi again, Kris

Yes, the person who can make a living out of doing his or her own thing is very fortunate. Most of us have to make the choice between a regular wage packet and pleasing ourselves with what we do.

Michelangelo didn't want to paint the Sistine Chapel, but the Pope made him an offer he couldn't refuse!

Gold credit cards, eh. She must have made enough money to finance herself doing her own thing. Good luck to her.

At 12/9/12, Anonymous Kris said...

Ah - no - the credit cards were part of the job. She had decided what she needed was the luxury of time rather than income.

It is said that a true artist will choose to spend their last penny on materials rather than food.

At 13/9/12, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Not a banker? Let's hope she sticks with the stained glass and takes on an apprentice.

As for the true artist choosing art materials over baked beans, that sounds like obsessive compulsive neurosis to me, rather than true love of art. Every artist needs the occasional pizza to stop his hand from trembling.


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