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Ars longa, vita brevis

The Guardian reports, “Sculptor Antony Gormley plans Brexit giants off the French coast”:

Now, on the eve of Britain’s potential departure from Europe, Gormley is planning a new and dramatic intervention on the beaches of northern France. He wants to erect a group of seven huge sculptures, made from iron slabs, on the coast of Brittany. They will look towards Britain, the lost island of Europe.

There is something in that image that can appeal to both sides. I think Mr Gormley might make better art than his predictable opinions might lead one to suppose:

Gormley describes Brexit as “a stupid moment of collective fibrillation” and argues that such an imposed separation from the rest of Europe will be damaging and false. “We belong to Europe, geologically as much as anything else. We were only separated five thousand years ago. The whole idea that somehow we can go it alone by making greater relationships with the former Commonwealth and with our friends and cousins in America is just ridiculous,” he tells Wilson.

Mind you, it will take about thirty seconds flat for some wag to call these figures standing on the coast of France as they wistfully look towards Albion “the illegal immigrants”.

24 comments to Ars longa, vita brevis

  • Sam Duncan

    What on Earth is “the former Commonwealth” supposed to mean? Antony Gormless, more like.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Heh. :>)!

    Hm. Symbolism is awesome, don’tcha think?

    Perhaps these figures could be described as “Looking covetously toward Britain.”

    Or maybe it’s just my overheated imagination.

  • Eric

    The whole idea that somehow we can go it alone by making greater relationships with the former Commonwealth and with our friends and cousins in America is just ridiculous,” he tells Wilson.

    Eh… why? Is it so hard to imagine trading with other countries without being de facto colonies of those countries? Britain spent most of its history at war with one European power after another and during that time became the first global superpower.

  • RNB

    Instead of blank iron slabs, possibly faces could be engraved on them. Napoleon’s… Hitler’s…

  • bobby b

    ” . . . seven huge sculptures, made from iron slabs, on the coast of Brittany.”

    Sounds very derivative. We’re erecting similar large chunks of metal along our own southern border. Perhaps Gormley’s a Trump fan?

  • Lee Moore

    My own artistic muse is inspired by Brexit too. In homage to the performative wing of modern (and postmodern) art, my composition, or perhaps decomposition, involves the Channel Tunnel and quite a lot of high explosive.

    I am content to leave the business of land connections to the next turn of the geological wheel.

  • Roué le Jour

    Two can play at that game.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Roué, don’tcha just hate being alone. 😀 Very good!

  • Mr Ecks

    Do we still have any Channel crossing range naval guns? The EU-sucking ironmongery would make fantastic target practice.

  • Who needs naval guns? Rust will do the job, and almost as fast as Brexit. 😎

  • pete

    Mr Gormley is entitled to his entirely predictable opinions.

    I’m entitled to say that Crosby beach looked better when his statues were not there.

    I realise he wasn’t to blame for allowing them to disfigure a lovely natural landscape which needed no improvement.

  • My first thought on reading this was: are we paying for this? Reading the Grauniad article reassured me: it looks like the French taxpayer will be shelling out for these statues, not us, though (both typically and revealingly) the question is never even asked and the answer has to be guessed.

    Of course, a sculptor who specialises in such commissions knows as well as any Hollywood actor that certain politics are required if they are to have a career. The EU resists learning from experience. It’s admirers, too?

    A similar sculptural form was used by Gormley on a beach at Kimmeridge bay in Dorset until waves felled it

    🙂

  • david morris

    “Now, on the eve of Britain’s potential departure from Europe”

    FFS

    These people never learn. (probably a given, as it’s coming from the Graun)

    Europe is not the EU & the EU is not Europe

  • Peter Melia

    The fact that Gormley ekes a living by welding together bits of rusty steel and calling it “art” does not qualify him as a pundit on Brexit, on this topic he’s just another Joe like everyone else. I too earned my keep messing about with bits of rusty steel, and I don’t feel the least bit of an expert on Brexit. If we really need an opinion, other than our own, we should try and consult our ancestors, of 200 years ago. They spent the best part of 20 years sitting offshore, looking at a monolithic Europe, which was sometimes friendly to us, sometimes not so. The result of that was in the end, for Britain, quite gratifying, and as bonus, we gave the world 100 years of peace into the bargain.

  • Bruce

    “Mind you, it will take about thirty seconds flat for some wag……..”

    ……to recycle them for their scrap value.

    There was a previous deposition of a prodigious amount of metal on the French coastline, back in 1944.

    In retrospect………….

  • Perhaps someone could hang signs on them that read ‘Please, where is welfare office?’

  • John B

    ‘We belong to Europe, geologically as much as anything else.‘

    Geographically is the only way Britain ‘belongs’ to Europe, and nothing else.

    Europe is not a Nation, has no Body Politic, no demos, no monoculture, no common language or tradition, no common set of values or outlook, and a fundamentally different legal and political system.

    Britain has far more in common with the English speaking Nations and members of the Commonwealth.

  • Rob

    “We belong to Europe, geologically as much as anything else. We were only separated five thousand years ago.”

    This is a remarkably stupid argument for being in a political union, and it is very strange that the Left consider what happened 5,000 years ago to be relevant but what happened 70 years ago isn’t.

    Five thousand years ago there were no European nation-states, no political union. 250 years ago significant parts of Italy were part of the Hapsburg Empire. Therefore northern Italy ‘belongs’ to Austria. A century ago the Irish Republic was part of the UK, and had been for centuries, Therefore…you get the picture.

  • Runcie Balspune

    It’ll be hilarious if this was refused due to it breaking some obscure EU environmental compliance.

  • Mark

    Of course, these “statues” should have yellow vests and be looking towards mecca.

  • Seven slabs: Julius Caesar, Sveyn Forkbeard, Louis XIV, Hitler, Stalin, Franco, Mussolini?

  • Paul Marks

    Britain was an independent country for centuries – but Mr Gormley (and his Guardian pals) think that independence (freedom) is “stupid”.

    Mr Gormley is going to France – excellent, he should stay there.

  • DP

    Dear Miss Solent

    “We were only separated five thousand years ago.”

    Some good comes from rising sea levels after all.

    DP

  • Surellin

    I’m American, and I suppose I only “separated” from Europe when my ancestors emigrated in the eighteenth century. Does the EU therefore believe that I owe it something? By comparison, Britain’s separation from Europe 5000 years ago is, ahem, ancient history.

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