Monday, May 09, 2011

Power to the people

Like many other countries, New Zealand has seen a recent rash of ‘realistic’ bronze sculptures of sports events and prominent sporting figures. The results, to say the least, are variable and that isn’t very surprising given that figurative sculpture hasn’t been taught in most art schools for around 50 years.

You'd think that the poor old public that has to trudge past these bizarre throw-backs on the way to pick up tickets or score a hotdog would once in a while rise up and cry, “We’re as mad as hell and we’re not going to take this anymore!” And yes, once in a while they do and in Southampton, back in 2007, they did.
When a statue of Ted Bates was unveiled outside the main entrance to St Mary's Stadium on 17 March 2007 there was a collective gasp from the assembled crowd. The statue received so much derisive criticism it was taken away and replaced a year later. By this time the crowds were obviously too dispirited to complain.

The Rugby World Cup is going to have at least two it’s-so-real-it-could-be-alive sculptures unveiled (1 and 2). Ladies and Gentlemen of the viewing public, start your engines.
Images: Bates in bronze before (left) after (right)