Saturday, August 3, 2013

Public Art in Sweden

Public art appears to be less subject to any constraints of quality or taste or return on taxpayers money than even in England. The place, the country, is dotted with abysmal creations that I am sure no one has paid for willingly. There are big display cases with pointless, as in having neither purpose nor anything to say, stuff in them, there is a poorly made figure of a pink giant urinating into the river. There was, in a nearby square, a great structure of wires strung with bathroom furniture and other objects in a meaningless parade of tat. Someone is laughing as they take the money. In front of the castle in the river there are three figures of businessmen standing in shopping trolleys. There is at least a touch of humour in this, probably Marxist humour of course.

It turns out that these piles ofuninspiring junk  are part of a festival called OpenArt. The woman in the tourist office encouraged us to do a tour of all the pieces. We shan't be doing that. What we have seen of it captures everything that is wrong with taxpayer-funded artists. It is lazy and dull. There is never more than a single idea, usually trite and poorly executed. There is no attempt at doing real work or conceiving a more complex idea, something worth expressing, and working on the best way to express it. For 'public' artists it is always and only about money. Other people's money. The art itself doesn't matter, as they are not communicating with anyone, not even themselves.

It was a pity to have to navigate all this stuff in order to see the simple beauty of the town.

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