Oneandother - but is it art?
The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, originally intended for an equestrian statue, has hosted a few different temporary works of art. Artist Anthony Gormley decided on a 100-day people art piece. For 100 days people are standing (or sitting or lying) on the plinth and doing whatever they want. See the weblink to see videos.
In my case it inspired a story....
By Anne deNize
“Hoy, master stonemason.”
I set down my chisel and mallet and took a step through the door. “Yur?” It was a bit surly perhaps, but don’t you expect stonemasons to be surly? This stonemason felt particularly surly, it was the fifth interruption to some very delicate work. Besides, the voice came with a truck. In my experience large, smelly, noisy trucks that puff greasy black smoke from their rear ends mean that someone wants to put something messy and inconvenient in my yard.
“Got a job for you.”
“Yur,” I said with only the faintest inflection of a question. You don’t get too enthusiastic about ‘got-a-job-for-you’ if you know what’s good for you. And this truck had a loading crane attached. Means big and heavy. When the feller pulled the canvas cover off the load it was big and heavy – a huge hunk of granite. It used to have smooth sides, I could see.
“Somebody messed with your granite? I don’t fix granite.” I don’t know anybody who can, actually. You can mess about with cement but that’s not fixing, it’s joining bits together.
“Not needed mate. Council just wants you to dig out that fossil.” He waved a hand at one side. “Vandals got at it, smashed it. Somebody noticed this fossil, and it’s going to the scientists. If you can dig it out of the stone that is.”
I examined the side so casually indicated. “You got the piece that came away from here?”
“Probably,” he replied. “All the bits we could gather are in the truck there. I was going to drop them into hard fill.”
“Leave it all there,” I said. More sweeping and tidying.
So he put it all there and took his smelly, noisy truck away, leaving me in peace. Might as well take a look. Yup, there it was. A finger.
It was a tricky job. If you have no idea what’s underneath you have to go very, very slowly. But I got there, after a few months. The council rang a couple of times but I told them ‘not yet’. I don’t think they were anxious. After all they were giving it away.
The figure that emerged from the granite crouched with hands up, warding something away from his face. Dressed in fur with the furry side outwards. Tied into the hairs of the fur were objects; pieces of crystal and milky and rose quartzes. They would have been shiny at the time.
I researched in my books. You didn’t think stonemasons could read? How do you think we do those fancy letters? But books go only as far as their authors know or can imagine. There was no reference at all to this granite. From the formation it had probably come from up north but there was nothing exact. And it did niggle a bit; how did the fellow get in there in the first place? Magic?
You could see how long fur robes with shiny pieces tied on would translate in later times to long robes with stars and moons sewn on. So maybe this was a magician? Well, he got something seriously wrong, then.
I never knew, I never found out. One thing is clear; it’s better being on a plinth than in it.