Ever since seeing Cathy’s post about Rachel Whiteread’s, I was looking forward to seeing it. Cathy’s post sparked off a lively and forthright debate about what her readers thought of it and whether it is indeed ‘Art’, if you follow the link you can go to the comments and see what we all had to say about it.
It’s not easy to sum up why I relate to her work, but I think it is about the way she gives the small, seemingly trivial aspects of human activity, construction and development a monumental quality. She uses real objects that show the marks of time and use and sets them in a monotone, permanent structure that gives us a chance to explore the details in a new way, and think about the hands that created the original structure and all that it connects to.
To me this is a war memorial that does not speak of the military, hierarchy or grand gestures, this commemorates Peter Nissen, the man who designed a pracitcal solution to a required need, during the First World War. The sculpture remembers the men who constructed it and lived in it and it connects us to those who constructed other Nissen huts over decades and all the different uses they have been put to. This one also commemorates the men who worked for the forestry and planted the forest it sits within. It commemorates time passing with the flaws and evidence of decay. It is the only permanent public piece in Britain of this, our most successful living female sculptor, it relates to all her other works throughout the world.
Making art is not only about making something that looks nice. If it causes one to think about things in a different way it has done its job. Without knowing the story of this sculpture it would be difficult to appreciate what on earth it is doing in the forest.
That is the same for most art – if we don’t want to discover more about it, we can just walk on by, but taking time to discover the story is, for me, an enriching, thought provoking and sometimes emotional experience.
an article about the sculptor’s family connection, her grandfather was a conscientious objector.
Not everyone will see it in the same way and all views are valid. Some of the locals were very much against it. I’d love to know what you think.
So that is the ‘deep and meaningful’ bit – now for a bit of silliness
In Cathy’s original post she wondered if the Nissen Hut would attract graffitti, and Tialys’s comment prompted this quickly scrawled temporary bit of graffitti.
and you can see a few more pics on this post of Cathy’s.
As we left it was getting dark and the sculpture took on a quiet ghostly glow through the trees