21 September 2016

Dream

Good art makes my heart skip a beat. It reminds me of what is best in humanity and lifts my spirits. I guess that the majority of people reading this post will feel exactly the same.

Last week, I shared some  pictures from our little trip to Lancashire. One of them was of an amazing sculpture near St Helens. It is called "Dream" and it was created by the Spanish artist Jaume Plensa.

It sits on top of a wooded hill that was once the site of Lancashire's most productive coal mine - Sutton Manor. When the colliery closed and land reclamation was advancing, former miners and the local council decided they would like to sponsor a significant art installation. They gained support from The Arts Council and Channel 4 and before too long they hooked up with Plensa whose work is known around the world. 

Often such sites will attract predictable  memorials to coal mining but at Sutton Manor the sponsors wanted something different - a symbol of hope perhaps, something beautiful that would send out a positive message to all who came to see it. Plensa was inspired by the project and later said, ""When I first came to the site I immediately thought something coming out of the earth was needed. I decided to do a head of a nine-year-old girl which is representing this idea of the future."

Completed in 2009, the elongated head stands sixty six feet (20 metres) tall and is estimated to weigh over five hundred tons. Its construction cost £1,9 million but personally I think it was worth every penny.

When we got up there, there was at first nobody else around. Just the serene dolomite and concrete head gazing hopefully southwards over the M62 motorway towards the Cheshire plains and the hills of Wales. As we left a family appeared from a different path, as you can see in the picture below. They are standing on the plinth.

Perhaps "Dream" says what you want her to say. But to me she says there's hope, something beyond the everyday if we only dare to dream. Hamlet's words come to mind:-
"To die, to sleep - 
To sleep, perchance to dream - ay, there's the rub,
For in this sleep of death what dreams may come..."

18 comments:

  1. The perspective, or proportion, is what's so interesting about this sculpture. The photos look like they've been stretched vertically -- which I imagine must be the same sense you get looking at the head in real life.

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    1. Yes. That elongation does challenge some fundamental preconceptions.

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  2. I love the sense that the dreamer's head is up among the clouds. How appropriate!

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    1. I hadn't thought of it that way Jennifer but now I pause to think I believe the artist intended this effect.

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  3. It is a beautiful piece. I am always interested in why a huge piece of art comes to be located in a particular place and who paid for the installation and how the artist was chosen. You have, as usual, answered all those questions for me.

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    1. Glad to have been of service ma'am.

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  4. That is most impressive, especially the last photo when the size becomes apparent. The first photo reminded me a little of a "sculpture" that we have in our garden…it is basically a breeze block that our youngest son carved into a head when at secondary school.

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    1. In the first two pictures you do not get a proper sense of the size of the girl's head - that's why I added the third picture. I wonder how your son carved the breeze block. It can't be an easy material to carve.

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  5. It is exquisite - I do agree about works of art YP. The Angel of the North is another example. When it was first raised many people thought it a waste of money but now everyone loves it and travels miles to see it.

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    1. Antony Gormley is brilliant isn't he? Good art should not be easy and comfortable. There has to be some challenge, some disturbance.

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  6. I've been reading your comments on Weaver of Grasses site for sometime now and thought I would drop over and visit you. What an amazing piece of art...thank you for showing it to us.

    Linda

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    1. Thanks for calling by Linda. I am glad you like "Dream" and can appreciate my own enthusiasm for it.

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  7. Before I read Jennifer's comment about the head being in the clouds, I was about to say the same thing. And Weaver's mention of the Angel of the North made me think of Steve. He told me about it many years ago and how much he would have liked to see it with me; it wasn't to be.

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    1. You have so many memories of him don't you Meike... and they echo down the years like music. Steve was your own angel of the north.

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  8. Another for my list. Along with the Kelpies, the angels of the north, those men on the sand....I'll be travelling far and wide. I love this type of art.

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    1. They are waiting for you and your bodyguard too... and don't forget the big water vole near Tideswell.

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  9. That's quite amazing, to say the least!

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  10. Dream seems to rest in herself, peaceful, forever. A very wonderful, magical and meditative place! Exactly what I need today, thank you!

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