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Ilfracombe. Angel of the West? - Public Art

(58 Posts)
isthisallthereis Tue 16-Oct-12 14:04:56


I had no idea this was going up in Ilfracombe! Anyone live there or know it?

It's worked for me, I might actually go there now next time I'm in the West Country (and buy a cup of tea, a fish & chips or hotel accom ie put some money into the local economy), and it'd be for the first time. Even though the place seems more than a bit rough in the BBC report. I love the woman saying "We've got enough pregnant women in this town already". It all reads like an episode of Shameless, with fish!

btw I think Hirst is an appalling artist and it's a very poor sculpture**. But that's not the point. It's not permanent, it can always be removed, it's only a loan anyway. I went to Damien Hirst's exhibition recently at Tate Modern and it was garbage, imo. I couldn't wait to get out. He's a brilliant self-publicist, hence the absurd diamond-encrusted skull (made by Hatton Garden craftsmen, he can't actually make any of this stuff!) No doubt this giant figure is more self-publicity. You can always shut your eyes as you walk past it if you don't like it.

But should the Council have given it planning permission? I say a big Yes.

** of course it would be great if all public sculpture was of the standard of Michelangelo's David or of Barbara Hepworth or Alexander Calder. But this is the real world. And there was an article (in the Guardian?) about why all recent public art in this country is cr@p and always will be. Dancing to too many irreconcilable tunes. Prompted by the cancellation of Mark Wallinger's White Horse project in Ebbsfleet, Kent.

** many thanks, Professor Google, here's the Wallinger article:

Now that would indeed have been a superb piece, imo. His work I saw recently at the Baltic in Newcastle was thrilling, wonderful, bliss!

Here are some of the public sculptures we have/have to endure round here (a-f) for any of your thoughts or comments and four from London, all of which I adore, especially (j). I'll say now that (a) in Loughborough is massively popular with everyone I hear speak about it, so that must rate it a success ..... mustn't it? Humour seems to help. The Oadby one, (d), has always been a total mystery to me. What it is and even why it is! I think it's something to do with the local textile industry and it's supposed to help give Oadby some identity, heehee ... it's not worked on that score then:











jeni Tue 16-Oct-12 14:26:22

I rather like it! It's much better than his usual efforts!

Lilygran Tue 16-Oct-12 14:44:20

Pregnant woman, yes. Physiological model, yes. Art? No.

crimson Tue 16-Oct-12 15:01:56

I'm afraid I don't like it.

Greatnan Tue 16-Oct-12 15:19:22

Thanks for the links, isthisall. I did find The Angel of the North strangely impressive. I agree most modern art makes me want to sing 'The King is in the altogether.....'
My daughters visited a chapel near St. Paul de Vence when they were in their mid-teens. It had been decorated by Matisse. It was full of Americans being very respectful.. One of my girls said very loudly 'What vandal did this graffiti?' and a lot of the other visitors burst out laughing.

isthisallthereis Tue 16-Oct-12 15:42:14

Ouch greatnan! I loved my visit to that Matisse chapel. Though I wouldn't call it public art really, I think it was a commission for a religious order of Dominican nuns. He called it his "masterpiece".

It's healthy to laugh at works of art. But if you then remember them (as you've clearly done in this case), they've worked!

numberplease Tue 16-Oct-12 15:51:17

I think it`s horrible, should be in an art gallery, not on the quayside in lovely old Ilfracombe.

crimson Tue 16-Oct-12 15:53:48

No one will ever better The Angel of the North. No matter how many times I see it, I still feel it welcome me as I travel oop north. It works on so many different levels and represents so many different things. I didn't like the Oadby one,and the Anish Kapoor looked like a satellite dish, but it seems to change with the light so I'd quite like to see it. The boy with the dolphin was beautiful, but I did want to put a loin cloth on him [the boy that is]. Not for decencies sake but because he looked painfully vulnerable confused in an 'ouch' sort of way.

feetlebaum Tue 16-Oct-12 15:59:06

That 'Angel of the North' is weird... reminiscent of a pre-war Meccano kit for making aeroplane models.

I'm staying in the South, I think.

Greatnan Tue 16-Oct-12 15:59:58

I have had some disappointments with famous works of art. Mona Lisa simpers, Sunflowers is over-rated and the Mannikin Pis is insignificant.

HildaW Tue 16-Oct-12 16:03:10

I like the 'Angel of the North' it is so cleverly designed. Its open to so many interpretations. This thing they are imposing on Ilfracombe looks horrible, its ugly and looks more like a giant teaching aid.

crimson Tue 16-Oct-12 16:03:44

feetlebaum; have you see 'The Angel' in the flesh [as it were]? Mona Lisa is a tiny bit..tiny.

moomin Tue 16-Oct-12 16:27:28

I'm naturally loyal to the "Angel of the North" living in the area and driving past it on many occasions, I'm afraid I can't agree with feetlebaum but maybe that's because I'm a Northerner!!

"It is one of the most viewed pieces of art in the world - seen by more than one person every second, 90,000 every day or 33 million every year" according to Gateshead Council.

I'm all in favour of public art, the more art is accessible and not tucked away in galleries and museums the better.

crimson Tue 16-Oct-12 16:37:03

I think it's in the perfect position as just sort of go round a bend and there it is, towering over you. I feel all protected by it and lose that protection when I venture south again. It was also many years before I actually saw it and was overwhelmed when I did. I think, with a work of art, that stays with you. I'd also read about his little clay figures [I had a newspaper cutting of them on my notice board on which I'd written 'bad hair day'] so I was interested in the artist already.

numberplease Tue 16-Oct-12 16:54:07

Sorry to be a dissenter, but I don`t like the Angel of the North either, and, yes, I have seen it "in the flesh", several times. Now, if the Boy David was up there.............!

JessM Tue 16-Oct-12 17:40:52

Bit grisly. I am not averse to Gormley (see the photo on my profile on GN) but am unconvinced by Hirst.

crimson Tue 16-Oct-12 17:47:30

Yes, I've seen that grin. Art has to be natural. I always feel that Hirst is 'trying' to be whatever he is. And not succeeding [except financially].

POGS Tue 16-Oct-12 17:50:04

I don't like it but I can't really say why. confused

I think it might be because it is too big for the setting. Which I don't get either. I don't dislike the subject matter but I think it would appeal to me more if it was life sized.

Mind you I am not very much of an expert. blush

crimson Tue 16-Oct-12 17:56:23

On reflection it's like an extension of his 'stuff in formaldehyde' [with it showing the inside of her body, I mean]. There's something of the laboratory about it. But I wouldn't like it if it was fully skinned either; oh that means the opposite of what I mean. And what's with the sword? POGS; you are talking about the pregnant lady not the Angel?

merlotgran Tue 16-Oct-12 19:45:48

The best remark about the pregnant woman statue in Ilfracombe came from a man who was interviewed on the news....'What happens when her waters break?'

I think it's awful.

crimson Tue 16-Oct-12 19:52:30


POGS Tue 16-Oct-12 20:12:16


Sorry, yes the pregnant woman.

crimson Tue 16-Oct-12 20:18:07

I was imagining a very very very tiny Angel of the North! Possibly standing next to the sign for Shilbottle on the A1 [y'know the one that someone keeps putting a 't' in the middle of].

crimson Tue 16-Oct-12 20:20:55

Oh, and as I'm totally putting off doing anything tonight; talking of iconic monuments does anyone remember the wonderful camel on the right hand side of the motorway going down to Cornwall? It was joined by a Sphinx one year. Now that WAS wonderful. Hope it's still there. Better than anything the Hirst guy has ever done.

isthisallthereis Tue 16-Oct-12 21:36:51

Next to the M5 heading for Cornwall, on the Somerset levels, there was a glorious woven Wicker Man. Made of living willow strands. Dumpy and memorable.

What sort of country do we live in?? Some vandals burnt it down! How they set fire to living willow I don't know. Maybe they doused it in petrol. sad

I understand that it's now been remade. With a protective moat around it. I'm sure someone who lives near there will gently correct my version. Please do!