Monday, November 9, 2009

Nice Public Sculpture

The city of Nice has an interesting array of public sculpture old and new. The new sculpture seems concentrated on the area along the tramway from the Place Massena near the Promenade Anglais to the Acropolis Convention Centre and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMAC).

The Place Massenas has these seven figures on pillars by Spanish
artist Jaume Plensa which are said to represent dialogue between the seven continents (Above). They are most striking at night when they are illuminated by interior changing lights. Nothing in the figures themselves suggest the continents which is a change from the racial stereotyping common in such monuments.

They reminded me of the Stylites of the early church, those early saints who lived, fasting and praying, on high pillars. In his recent book of poetry The Dark Age, Irish poet James Harpur includes a poem spoken by the Syrian pillar hermit, Symeon Stylites, which voices the struggle of the artist seeking seclusion.

Then beside MAMAC is La Tete au Carre which was created by French sculptor and artist Sacha Sosno. This was designed for the Central Library of Nice. It stands 26 metres high, and is I think the administration building for the public library system in Nice. A bit like the library in Navan except that one has no neck. In fact wouldn't it be good if all such "square office blocks" had to have some kind of neck.

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