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My hour as a sculpture

10 August 2009 by Sam

Nelson's Column and fountains in Trafalgar Square

My view of Trafalgar Square from the Fourth Plinth

It’s my first day back in work after a short break today, and I feel that I’ve returned with a whole new level of understanding of the works of art that I promote on the blog and website. For while I was off I did more than just DIY and sunbathing. I actually experienced what it feels like to be a work of art myself when I spent an hour on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square as part of Antony Gormley’s One and Other project. One hour, one plinth, one Sam.

I’ve spent many hours amongst the crowds in Trafalgar Square but have never had those crowds watching and photographing me before. One man asked if I was going to do anything, which is a bit of a strange thing to ask a sculpture. I’ve never heard anyone ask any of the figures in the Walker’s sculpture gallery if they were going to do anything, our visitors seem quite content to appreciate the sculptures as they are with no expectations of entertainment.

I did do something on the plinth though – I took lots of photos (which you can see in my Fourth Plinth Flickr set), I talked to people, I chased a very persistent pigeon and I waved at a lot of people on open top tour buses. That’s something that I miss now that I’ve returned to ground level – I still wave at the tour buses that go past in Liverpool but nobody on them is remotely interested in waving back to me any more now that I’m just a regular person again.

With so many distractions the hour passed very quickly. I really enjoyed my time on the plinth but don’t think I could handle that level of attention and public scrutiny every day. I’ll try to be kinder and less critical of any sculptures I see in the future, now that I know the kind of pressures they face being viewed each day, some of them patiently sitting outside in all weathers for the public’s enjoyment.

As usual, when I was down in the capital I caught up with a few familiar faces, in this case ‘Echo and Narcissus‘, who appear in the Walker Art Gallery painting that is currently on loan to the Waterhouse exhibition at the Royal Academy. It’s a fantastic exhibition which also features ‘The Decameron’ from the Lady Lever Art Gallery.

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