English artist Antony Gormley made iron castings of his body, placed them all about Stavanger. The work is an interactive set of sculptures that encourages viewers to reflect, think, and use their imagination to deal with the fact that it exists in this town. When one sees it, one is tempted to find out more about it, and contemplate not only the literal, but implied meaning of what a broken column represents. Often you see T-shirts with messages draped over the bodies, or crude magic marker scribblings as evidence that it caused someone to think for himself, within the limits of his cultural awareness.
I’ve never heard Gormley talk about his influences, but Frida Kahlo had a painting called "The Broken Column" from 1944 that suggested the following to one afficionado: "The Column itself, which is broken, shows one of the sources of her pain, the nails in her body show in a physical way the pain she was enduring, and the tears in Frida's eyes show that her pain was excruciating. Frida's face shows both courage, and resignation; Frida's nudity may suggest that she felt she could do little about her situation. But in spite of all her pain, Frida kept on expressing herself by making outstanding paintings..." (from http://www.fbuch.com/fridaby.htm). And in a way, this is something we all feel with the forces backed by trillions of dollars shaping our world, but yet finding our own individual way to thrive.
Money spent on projects like this adds to the cultural prosperity of the recipients. Art should serve the purpose of stimulating ideas, imagination and creativity in its viewers, paving the way toward interesting conversation and challenging sometimes repressive traditional assumptions. The level of funding for, and existence of public and private works devoted to this kind of art in a community can be perceived as a measure of the level of cultural sophistication of that community.
www.blacktshirts-stavanger.blogspot.com - my Stavanger Top 10 list and links.