Thumbs Up!

Fourths plinth on Trafalgar Square is a real phenomenon – for those who do not know a bit of history would help. Trafalgar Square is the heart of London and major tourist attraction. There is a huge 52 meters height monument commemorating Admiral Harario Nelson standing in the centre of the square. There are four lion statues placed at the bottom of the column, children love climbing them! Two beautiful fountains also decorate the square. On the perimeter of the square there are four plinths, three out four display 19th century statues however the forth one remained empty. The funds run out before the last statue was completed.

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Since 2005 the plinth has been occupied by contemporary art sculptures selected by the Mayor of London’s Culture Team. There are many proposals submitted each year and only six are selected for the next stage. The mini-versions are presented to the public and then the committee decides which one of the six is going to be commissioned.

This years artist who gets to display his work in such special place is David Shrigley, British visual artist. His sculpture is called “Really Good” and it is a 7 meters tall bronze fist with thumbs up sign. Shrigley hopes that this sculpture will make a world a better place and “thumbs up” will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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Mayor of London was present during opening few days ago and he spoke very highly about it, he said that: “What it represents is so important – optimism, positivity, the best of us. This sculpture is so important showing Londoners…tourists…that London is open”

It is definitely a shift from a downtrodden horse by stock market to a massive thumbs up! I am very excited about a new piece of art on public display and I surely hope that it will make people smile and will indeed become self-fulfilling prophecy.

New Tate’s Modern Switch House

Today was unofficial new wing opening at Tate Modern – Switch House. Everyone in the neighbourhood was invited to be the first visitors, which is a really nice touch, since we were experiencing the construction firsthand.

New building is in a shape of conus and 10 floors high. Only 4 floors are exhibition spaces, other floors are for entertainment – shop, restaurant, members room and events hall. Connections to the old building are on the first and forth floors.

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There is a viewing level on the top floor with 360-view on London. The views are amazing, you can see London’s beautiful skyline. There is a printed guide available describing every significant building you can see from the viewing terrace.

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The building itself is executed in cutting edge industrial style. Some people said that the design “captured the essence of the building”, however, for my taste it is a bit over the edge. It look like a space before renovation, there were some leakages, some lamps were not working, sign “restaurant” was missing three letters. Brick structure was a bit disturbing in some places, especially in the cafe when you have tables right across from it.

Art-wise… A lot of video installations, large scale artworks, many interactive artworks where you can go inside or walk over it. I am not the one to judge, so I’d rather not comment on the art itself. However, there was one installation that was particularly disturbing – Tropicália, Penetrables PN 2 ‘Purity is a myth’ and PN 3 ‘Imagetical’ by Hélio Oiticica. The installation is a cage with two large African parrots inside. I think that is completely inappropriate to trap wild birds in a small room with one window for three months (parrots are changed every three months). 

Overall impression from todays visit is that building still needs a lot of work. Right now it is a bit sloppy and unfinished.. It is still not THE opening, so maybe some things like lighting will be changed and signs repaired. A great three days celebration is about to begin with a lot of special events and plenty of fun! So you should join and see for yourself, the admission is free.