Posts Tagged ‘modern sculpture’

London — By Andrea Kirkby on August 27, 2009 at 10:57 am
Filed under: elisabeth frink, london sculptures, modern sculpture

Elisabeth Frink sculptures

I adore Elisabeth Frink’s work. Not that I can afford to have one of her sculptures in my house, any more than I can afford an original Picasso. But fortunately, there are a couple of her works in public spaces around London.

There are a lot of statues in London that I can just walk past and not notice. But something about Elisabeth Frink’s sculptures – those blank, impassive stares, the dark eyes, the spareness of the techique – disconcerts me, as if they’re looking back at me. It gets me, every time.

The “man on a horse” (Frink wasn’t one for arty names) in Dover Street (map), on the corner with Piccadilly, dates from 1974, when it was commissioned by Trafalgar House, the property investment company, to stand outside its office.

Frink was obsessed by the male form and it accounts for nearly all her work. Horses and men express a subtle sensuality, but they’re also about power. I think the sculpture’s power to disturb comes from that blend of qualities. There’s a certain menace, a certain danger, in these statues. (Don’t think so? Try looking at this one very late on a dark, rainy night, or very early on a misty London morning.)

Paternoster is a quite different composition, a man driving a flock of sheep, in Paternoster Square (map). It’s a little bit unassuming – probably the least powerful of her public works – but I find it quietly assertive none the less. The sheep are delightful, each one alert and alive. The commission was made by the Church of England, not the developers – its spiritual theme reflects the fact that it stands so close to London’s cathedral.

Photo by Morgaine on flickr

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