Visit: Public Art: ‘Ritual’ by Antanas Brazdys 1969.

The visit for this section is actually a choice of two (or both if I get time). I thought I’d go for the a piece of public art choice first. I’ve walked past this sculpture on occasion for many years and never really know why it was there so I thought this would be a good opportunity to find out something about my local environs.

My intension for this visit (since its local and out in the open), was to visit it first knowing nothing about it and record my reactions to it, then do a bit of research and perhaps have another visit to see if I see anything new about it.

So initial visit:

This sculpture is tucked into a corner next to a building, Woolgate Exchange which is basically a little annex of Coleman Street, City of London, EC2R. As you see there is a little bench behind it, so I had to wonder is the ‘front’ facing out towards the street or the bench for viewing, or is the bench just in a convenient out of the way spot behind it. There are no other benches in the area. After walking around the sculpture, I’ve concluded the latter and that the front faces onto the street.

There is a plaque at the base of the sculpture (see last photo) it’s a bit faded but you can still make out: ‘Ritual’ by Antanas Brazdys 1969. Prize winning sculpture in a competition for British scultpors under 35 years of age. And it lists the sponsors and judges etc.

Before reading the inscription I would have said this might represent a woman or a mother, with a flared skirt, tiny waist and big arms coming in for a giant hug. It still might be female related, depending on what Ritual (if any specific)  the artist is referring too. I guess I’ll find out when I research this a bit. As you move around the sculpture, even fractionally, the distorted reflections on every surface change and swirl. You can see the sky and the surrounding buildings in the ‘arms’ and the middle tube. The cube reflects more flatly without the warping of the building frontage and the ‘skirt’ relects a very warped upward view of the buildings. I was wearing a bright red top and looked for myself in the reflections and I was harder to pinpoint than you’d think given how reflective the surface is. I’m in there, my legs in the skirt, as a tiny button in the middle of the tube and in three places on the arms, facing forwards in the centre, and facing away to each side on the side of the arms. It’s like this all the way around, cleverly almost masking the viewer or changing their direction. This makes me ponder the surroundings in this little officey square more than I would have if I’d just been walking past, or even if I’d been sitting on the bench.

 

todo: write about this I found one link so far: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1431375

edit: todo:

could this be anything to do with the Ritual of Absinthe prep? see the image on this page: http://www.absinthespoon.com/rituel.php

theres a strong tradition of portrying Absinthe in art from Edgar Degas, Van Gogh to Picasso :

https://www.moma.org/collection/works/81307

http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/collections/works-in-focus/search/commentaire/commentaire_id/dans-un-cafe-167.html

http://blog.vangoghgallery.com/index.php/en/2015/01/06/van-goghs-relationship-with-alcohol/

References:
Historic England. (2016) Ritual sculpture At: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1431375
(Accessed on 30 June 17)

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