Friday, November 28, 2008

The Angel of the North

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The Angel of the North is a beautiful, impressive, huge contemporary sculpture erected in 1998 in Gateshead, close to Newcastle, in England. I've seen it in countless movies and music videos and even if I'm in general no fan whatsoever of modern art there are of course exception to some rules and I've always find this sculpture strangely fascinating in its unique blend of soft beauty and steel beast. And it's enormous size makes it one sculpture I don't find all that eerie...

It hasn't exactly been on my to-one-day-see-irl list, but when we drove past it last summer - two of those 90 000 people a day, 33 million per year who see it - it was of course, without a doubt a must see.

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I thought there would be swarms of visitors, but it was quite a serene place, a very unpretentious location kind of in the middle of a residential area. It was stunning, beautiful and majestic with a grand panoramic view over the nearby landscape. I could have there stayed forever contemplating life and trying to capture the perfect photo.

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But alas, due to the light that wasn't too cooperative - always a good excuse when you need one - and the fact that we had to get back on the road, I really did miss both the perfect photo op as well as getting a decent photo of the angel's superb behind. Because even if it's an angel with no real individual or gender features the backside of this 20 meters (65 ft) is really very human and sublime.

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I think the work behind - no pun intended - this angel is as intriguing and respect commanding as the sculpture itself - official site - and the thoughts behind the angel of steel and its location are well put like this by the sculptor, Antony Gormley -

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"The angel has three functions - firstly a historic one to remind us that below this site coal miners worked in the dark for two hundred years, secondly to grasp hold of the future, expressing our transition from the industrial to the information age, and lastly to be a focus for our hopes and fears - a sculpture is an evolving thing.

The hilltop site is important and has the feeling of being a megalithic mound. When you think of the mining that was done underneath the site, there is a poetic resonance. Men worked beneath the surface in the dark. Now in the light, there is a celebration of this industry. The effect of the piece is in the alertness, the awareness of space and the gesture of the wings - they are not flat, they're about 3.5 degrees forward and give a sense of embrace."

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2 comments:

Paz said...

I don't recall ever having seen this before, so thanks for sharing it with us.

Paz

Pia K said...

I think it's amazing, and such things I generally like to share:) Thanks for stopping by, Paz.

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