Mr Edifice
February 10, 2009 2:56 PM   Subscribe

A giant horse, by Turner Prize-winner Mark Wallinger, will soon tower over part of southern England. Previously.
posted by WPW (30 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
If they're going to rip off those chalk figures near Salisbury Plain, it would be much more memorable if he made a 164 foot version of the dude with the club and giant dong.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:00 PM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think horses tend to win in the dong size stakes...
posted by i_cola at 3:04 PM on February 10, 2009


An awful piece of kitsch that can be added to The Big Things flickr pool
posted by bhnyc at 3:07 PM on February 10, 2009


Is there a secret door for the Greeks to sneak out of in the middle of the night when we're all drunk at our victory celebration?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:08 PM on February 10, 2009


I really liked Ecce Homo, and totally love the Angel of the North. In fact, one of the few things the UK has managed to rock in the past ten years is public art*. I hope this horse lives up to that standard, but have that kinda weird feeling that it will turn into a white elephant.





*Excluding, of course, B of the Bang, which is awesome, but a little too worrisome at the same time.
posted by Sova at 3:16 PM on February 10, 2009


Well I just can't wait to hear what affectionate nickname he gets.
posted by longsleeves at 3:16 PM on February 10, 2009


Props to your headline, sir.
posted by randomination at 3:18 PM on February 10, 2009


MetaFilter: both ‘bear’ and simultaneously not ‘bear’.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:25 PM on February 10, 2009


Ever since they erected that glass pyramid in the middle of The Louvre, I've been in favor of them building a big ceramic monkey like this guy right next to it. Sure, different country and different animal, but this is cultural step in the right direction that the English should be proud to make. Now if they would just build one of these guys my life would be complete.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:30 PM on February 10, 2009


Wow, they still have money for art projects!
posted by Maias at 3:31 PM on February 10, 2009


Love the post title. Not sure about the horse. White horse=symbol of Kent, fine, but Kent is not the south of England, says this person from Sussex. And what does a white horse have to do with anything anyway? It's just a heraldic device. The modern version is meant to show what? How many rich kids with ponies there are? Kent isn't even a horse-racing area.

At least the Angel of the North is made from proper bashed metal to represent a proper metal-bashing history.

The only thing that might represent the people of north Kent would be a giant commuter.

So all in all, meh.
posted by athenian at 3:36 PM on February 10, 2009


First of all, there has never been a single winner of the Turner Prize that has been worth a damn. No, I am not an artist, but I am also not a filmmaker, and I still recognise You And Me And Everyone Else as a worthless heap of "quirky" trash.

Second of all, the thing that got him nominated for the prize was wandering around dressed up like a bear. You know who else wanders around dressed up like a bear? College students, ex-cons, and "honest" crack addicts. Generally they are holding up cardboard signs, pointing you towards parking or discount shoes.

Third of all, this is shit. A giant horse? Well colour me inspired. What is its significance? From the article:

"The landmark, which will be close to Eurostar's international station, is intended as an iconic symbol representing the regeneration of north-west Kent, and the eastwards growth of London."

This is meaningless. Closest thing Kent has to do with horses is it used to be home to several glue factories.

Fourth of all, he looks like the sort of lesbian who could beat me in an arm wrestle.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:46 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is meaningless. Closest thing Kent has to do with horses is it used to be home to several glue factories.

Er... not exactly meaningless.

... when you consider that the white horse has been the symbol of Kent since 449
posted by carbon at 4:03 PM on February 10, 2009


another giant horse for ya! Because of this thing / People think they are in hell / Instead of Denver :P
posted by kliuless at 4:04 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seems like it should really be a statue of a straight tusked elephant , seeing as they are actually endemic to the Ebbsfleet Basin.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:08 PM on February 10, 2009


My main feeling about this decision is relief. It could have been a lot worse. I wrote about this project at length before the shortlist was announced and even back then it seemed pretty clear that blatant symbolism was going to be the order of the day. Sadly I didn't guess horse:

[The way that public art is commissioned in the UK] may mean that the brief is impossible to fulfil without resorting to cliche in order to conceal the fact that the landmark marks the site of nothing and means nothing. The site is rich in Roman remains – why not a giant centurion? Or a giant oast house? A giant stick of chalk?

[Richard Wentworth says:] “We could do it as a parlour game, each of us could name something that has very emblematic qualities that would have to be crossed off your list: we’re not doing that, we’re not doing that.... We’re not doing ‘very sorry Kentish apples aren’t grown any more, have a big apple tree’, what I call French roundabout art, some lunatic folkloric reference writ large.”


Having trudged around the site, I can report that it's pretty spectacular in a JG Ballard sort of way and however one feels about Horsa, it's going to make the A2 an unforgettable experience, which is not something that can be said at presence.
posted by WPW at 4:16 PM on February 10, 2009


... not something that can be said at present.
posted by WPW at 4:17 PM on February 10, 2009


... when you consider that the white horse has been the symbol of Kent since 449

A MINOR DETAIL!
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:19 PM on February 10, 2009


Pathetic really. We've no actual ideas so lets make it fucking huge.
posted by fire&wings at 5:12 PM on February 10, 2009


But... but... but... it's not rampant!
posted by rusty at 5:14 PM on February 10, 2009


Why the long face?
posted by bunglin jones at 5:35 PM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


As equine art goes, I'm not sure this is quite up to Whistlejacket.
posted by thomas j wise at 5:45 PM on February 10, 2009


Saki wrote about this a long time ago, but I can't figure out what The Threat is intended to achieve in this case.
posted by winna at 5:50 PM on February 10, 2009


Must say I thought it looked pretty ridiculous at first blush and not a patch on the Angel - like some sort of reification of a reverse-Father-Ted moment; "Small - far away."
posted by Abiezer at 8:49 PM on February 10, 2009


Just stick a massive white elephant up there and have done with it.
Seriously though, I think even bad public art is a public good. At least it gets people engaged.
posted by fingerbang at 9:33 PM on February 10, 2009


Well, considering we get to hear the usual miserable, whining that greets anyone who even attempts to try anything in the UK, it should do just fine.Just like the Angel of the North which received the usual miserable, whining before it became universally loved.
posted by i_cola at 1:28 AM on February 11, 2009


But... but... but... it's not rampant!

Yeah, that was my first thought too. Shame.

We've no actual ideas so lets make it fucking huge.

Yeah, a fucking huge, rampant white horse. How cool would that have been? With wings! Man, I missed my calling. This public art shit's a doddle.
posted by carbon at 1:37 AM on February 11, 2009


What's with the bridle/halter/headcollar they've got on it? Why not have it be a free horse?
posted by fiercecupcake at 6:38 AM on February 11, 2009


As the Horse goes up, the Bang comes down...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:13 AM on February 11, 2009


From the commemorative plaque at its base:

"Like a train in the night / Like a train in the - hang on, I can get this - night"
posted by gompa at 1:02 PM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


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