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Tony Grist

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The Dream: St. Helens, Lancashire. [Jun. 30th, 2009|09:48 am]
Tony Grist








The Dream is a 66 ft sculpture by Catalan artist Jaume Plesna, which stands on the site of the former colliery- now a forest- at Sutton Manor, near St Helens. It was commissioned by former miners- as a monument to their now vanished industry- and was completed in April 2009.  

It has been compared to Anthony Gormley's iconic Angel of the North- but it's a very different experience. Where the Angel dominates its landscape, the Dream stands among trees- which by the time they are fully grown will all but hide it. You cannot drive up to it, but have to park at a distance and approach its clearing by foot-paths that curve around the hill. Unlike the Angel, which is assertive, masculine- built of girders- the Dream- made of a highly refelective mix of concrete and Spanish alabaster, seems hardly there- as if it had coalesced out of the clouds.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2009-06-30 09:22 am (UTC)
I like it! It goes well with the clouds.
The north west does seem to be doing big public art these days.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-30 09:55 am (UTC)
This I think is world-class. As is Gormley's installation of metal men on the beach at Formby.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2009-06-30 11:12 am (UTC)
That's an interesting, androgenous face. I first took it to be female, but when you said it was commissioned by the former miners, I realised that it could be male too.

I love that last photo of just the face against the clouds. It looks like a painting, not a photo of something real and solid.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-30 11:27 am (UTC)
I believe the model was a little girl- but you're right, the face is androgenous- as children's faces are.

I think it's an astonishing achievement to make something so ethereal out of concrete.
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-06-30 12:32 pm (UTC)
It almost looks superimposed on the photographs. That could be helped by it being squished. Very cool
Tom F
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-30 01:26 pm (UTC)
It's the strangest thing. Who'd have thought a 60ft statue could seem so insubstantial.
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[User Picture]From: internet_sampo
2009-06-30 12:55 pm (UTC)
http://mw1.m-w.com/dictionary/colliery

I learn something new from you almost every day!

This is wonderful art - I'll be googling it soon.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-30 01:29 pm (UTC)
Is "colliery" a Britishism, then? I didn't know that. :)
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2009-06-30 02:29 pm (UTC)
It *IS* arresting and ethereal at one time. It looks insubstantial, and like it totally belongs there. How VERY cool.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-30 08:34 pm (UTC)
You turn the corner and see it there in its clearing, full face for the first time- and you can hardly believe your eyes.
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From: sculptruth
2009-06-30 02:43 pm (UTC)
I love this piece! Wow! I'm really inspired by public art that uses nature and time as metaphors to develop, where we may not even live long enough to see the final result. That we will start to see the trees grow up around her is just beautiful.

This reminds me of Andy Goldsworthy's work, Garden of Stones at the Jewish Heritage Museum in Lower Manhattan. He envisioned what it might look like to persevere restraint in nature. He hollowed out giant boulders and planted saplings in them. Over time if they grow large enough, their roots will break the stones and grow around them.

Here's a great NY Times piece about it, and here are two really good photos of it.
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[User Picture]From: akirlu
2009-06-30 04:49 pm (UTC)
I'm perpetually fascinated by Andy Goldsworthy's work. If you haven't yet seen the documentary film Rivers and Tides you're in for a treat. Some fascinating stuff he does with entirely ephemeral effects, like filling a round hollow in a river boulder with yellow dandelion heads. Gorgeous.
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2009-06-30 02:59 pm (UTC)
That is amazing. I almost wish the trees wouldn't grow up around it as it forms such an integral part of the skyscape behind it. I wonder if Plesna has any major work in Spain...off to google.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-30 08:38 pm (UTC)
I must do some googling too. I need to find out what else he's done.
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[User Picture]From: akirlu
2009-06-30 04:44 pm (UTC)
Wow. With that weird, compressed aspect ratio, and the pallor of the stone against the sky, it doesn't seem quite real at all. More like a some sort of manipulated image that only exists on the screen. Interesting that you only took head-on shots -- I would be curious to see what the piece looks like in profile.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-30 08:40 pm (UTC)
I think it looks best from the front- and that's how you first see it. But I did take some pictures from the side. I'll post one.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2009-06-30 04:46 pm (UTC)
That's amazingly strange. It looks like something from a film by Cocteau, especially against the clouds—it looks like it's dreaming them.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-30 08:41 pm (UTC)
Yes!

It also makes me think of Magritte.
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[User Picture]From: qos
2009-06-30 04:53 pm (UTC)
Amazing! Thank you for sharing this.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-30 08:41 pm (UTC)
My pleasure. :)
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2009-07-01 04:15 am (UTC)
Wow, that's an amazing piece, and excellent photographs. Thank you!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-07-01 09:39 am (UTC)
You're very welcome.
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From: wokenbyart
2009-07-13 11:27 am (UTC)
I find the elongated, strange perspective a little worrying... if the people at the base of it weren't there for comparison, I would have said the pic was squashed!

Alabaster and concrete is a curious mix... I like the idea of a very reflective surface.
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