How and why do they go and how are they replaced. People climbing on top and dragging down picture of a person is a performance in itself, still I wonder the effect and its suddenness, destruction wanted and hate towards the person and the structure made for people usually to stand below, look at and admire, think on achievements there, if there were any. Mostly thinking what and who are we looking at, what are we supposed to see and what not. Because in art it is a tradition not to tell all and silence those who tell inconvenient truths. It is so today, therefore it is important to ask, why do we have art in public spaces and what do we want it to be like? Art being untouchable until it comes alive and wakes the mob up which somehow wakens the statue up: it isn’t immortal and lasting but changing and we learning? What kind of systemic change will happen after this act of tearing down elements of power (historical), these objects that make us clearly feel strongly (nowadays for money spent on), feel more and remember history lessons? What have we learned then? Meaning of public art? Brutality and menace of man? Sure, there is lots of artistically bad art that should be taken down and it is quite newly made and only makes one feel nothing but ‘whatever’ or is this what we are given today, dear Lord. We don’t make sculpture as it was done a couple of hundred of years ago as does movies like the Square remind us and that is an issue we should pay attention to as there are things and methods of making to be preserved and learned. Something happened to the quality of public art during the modern man appeared? Yes. Something has also happened to the public space and architecture for which art is a mere filler and to the position of an artist is to be the star who makes something spectacular, supposedly. Artist marks the city. Artist gives his/her name which gives value. Statues before in history and who made them was not that important. Art as a habit to have seems to have impacted art to be just a surface, values there I do not know what do we want art to do other than bring monetary value and to think that solely is a good thing, is weird in terms of art, beauty and value, values and why pursue art as a career.
What happens to the statues pulled down and do they have artistic/historical value or what was their value to begin with and to whom? Sculpting is very much in the centre when monuments are desired for whatever reason in cities. Materials being still stone and metals, lasting and heavy, maybe today plastic. They are parts of centres, squares and parks, buildings like churches, parliament houses, power to remember and honor, that is also their problem: what does a statue do, sculpture say and represent and how do we look at them, do they beautify our environment, make us feel appreciation? Honouring happens in front of statues that are placed in graveyards, they are like tombs themselves for the killed. Mothers and fathers of countries do not appear to be appealing topics for bronze monuments anymore or bronze as a material. Topics chosen mustn’t irritate nor cause scandals. Boring.
The older they are the more they speak of skill and beauty as objects, thought carefully is every detail. Time and effort spent making maybe doesn’t come to mind, even those that commemorate and elevate bad people, which is also quite often the case, when it comes to statues of leaders and moneymen, who have taken part in building the cities we now inhabit. There are statues that are ugly and over-the-top grandiose, which crimes Socialist realism still today commits and makes one think of the position and work of an artist and the relation there between money, power, politics and art, aesthetics and do monuments stand their ground today as valid and important form of making art and why do politicians see art as a tool and artists do it for money for them gracefully? How much size matters and being part of making the city? What matters when public art is situated for citizens? Who matters? What is the relation there between architecture and monuments and why do we consider monuments worthy of having as objects in place? Art being seen as an expensive expenditure makes art less an everyday object and more something to look up to, to be able to make. Public art today seems to fill a void, in a manner of there is a nice empty spot, and here is someone who deserves a monument and artist is chosen via competition or by reputation. Size matters still, maybe even more today than before. There is a huge difference between why and how we build now and why and how things were done before and it is a constant cry for me mostly aesthetically: decisions and thinking do seem out of date, the system of thinking what is art for, why and how is broken and played in a loop of this what art is, this is art, this is how we look at art, this is whom it honours. We do not have time and good things take time to build as does learning the art of sculpting, tradition of it which is long, options there, how to make are limitless. In today’s world sculpting is a separate part of a building, not like it used to be an organic part of making a house, a square etc.
Power, achievement and wealth being the most important showcases attached to sculpture in near history, one does wonder the state of the art today, we probably do think more broadly of why something is done and there can be a whole structure of thought behind, still the outcome is often more flat, as modern tends to be. We do not want the personal there. Also when statues are the first to go, are they the easiest target and what does it tell of, of our impotence and fear of the real scumbags of today? What kinds of reasons there are to build monuments today is an interesting topic. The reasons aren’t as plainly political and narcissistic as they used to be perhaps, but same issues are there at play. Now we try to honour the collective memory, common feelings and vision of goodlooking and with art brighten the places where people move? Unfortunately to brighten places where people live, is not what urban planning often does, (art and urban planning reject each other), not with sculpture as it is city centres where sculpture mostly is situated, although options how to put up a sculpture change a dull environment and are pretty infinite, maybe all it takes is a fountain. I do still like sculpture more than sprayed tags and slogans, slow processes instead of instant and quick.