One and Other

July 25, 2009

I have found myself being reeled into the web that is ‘One and Other’.
Antony Gormley’s project for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square is certainly one like no other.

Challenging, controversial: much of the surrounding debate is riveting; much is tedious. There is plenty of it about. To me the project speaks of an enormous act of faith – for all parties concerned. And particularly for the Artist.

To give space, relinquish control, renders an artist vulnerable. Antony Gormley has opened a chink, a fissure, a portal into the unknown. For people quick to judge, this has allowed space and breath for ridicule. But an aperture also allows oxygen – a life force for fresh possibility.

Dipping in to any single participant’s contribution, it’s all too easy to dismiss as boring, embarrassing, mundane, seen it… or wow, impressive, that’s cool, great idea… Because we are in real time, the plinth becomes elevated stage and we place ourselves in the role of audience expecting performance.

I am interested in the bigger picture. We are witnessing a work in progress. The first person to step onto the plinth was the first brush stroke of the artist’s canvas, the first chip of the chisel, a single pixel in an unknown image.

As the hours / days / weeks pass we can relax online to enjoy the construction of one then one then one… the rhythmic structure of the work gradually building. Each individual’s contribution shining in the wet paint of their single hour and then fading, settling into the emerging ordered texture that is One and Other.

In another dimension, I am enjoying the momentary images – the tableaux for a second paintings – that are fleetingly captured on film. Here a few screen snapshots collected over the past days.

One and Other

Trafalgar Square from the long distance camera.

The atmospheric, almost monochromatic images of Mike (7pm Monday July 13) barbecuing on his pedestal.

One and Other

Ian_W (4am Sunday July 19) made interesting by the resulting shadow blazoned across The National Gallery.

The multi coloured cloak: scores of hand felted squares made by school children and worn by their teacher Kevsmart007 (9pm Monday July 20).

To the panache and pure theatre of Velorose (10pm Thursday July 16) who peddled to generate electricity and music for the whole of his hour.

One and Other

Some have emanated great presence by just being.

Here beauty and serenity in Antoinette_B (8pm Wednesday July 15) dressed for the opera being performed in the Square that evening.

Chloe (5pm Wednesday 22 July) calm and pink in a gentle breeze.

And Anonymous (10am Wednesday 22 July) who stepped in at the last minute for someone unable to come. Fascinating, totally natural, giving of himself, this man painted the image with his voice. I now realise he is Mike Figgis, the filmmaker. He offered great insight into the process.

It will be interesting to see what emphasis sounds will be given in the final work.

Each of the 2400 participants has their own page to say who they are / why they want to be a part of the project. My daughter Katie is one of that number. She will take her place at 6am on Monday morning 27 July. At 16 she is the youngest participant to date. If you find yourself in Trafalgar Square at that time(!) say hello.

This is Katie’s page.

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