Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Star Of Caledonia

Gretna landmark design graphic

Three artists were given the opportunity to design a landmark which would be positioned on the A74 at Gretna, on the border between England and Scotland.

The artists were Chris Wilkinson of Wilkinson Eyre Architects, the American Ned Khan and Cecil Balmond whose design was the preference of the panel of judges for the Gretna Landmark Trust.

Mr Balmond's design, 180ft high and 131ft wide, will now be further developed before a planning application is submitted.  It's hoped to have it in place before the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

What do you think about the sculpture greeting visitors entering and visiting Scotland?  I've set up a wee poll in the right-hand column but if I've missed your opinion do feel free to comment below, as always.

34 comments:

Woodsy42 said...

Celebrating the era of the high security fence?

The Filthy Engineer said...

I suspect ther will be a lot of wrecked cars on the A74.

subrosa said...

Good one Woodsy.

subrosa said...

Can't quite decide if you mean because drivers will be overcome by such a vision of wonder or the opposite FE.

Hamish said...

I'll copy the comment I left on the poll:
"Difficult to judge from one photograph, but I think it is superb. I would have liked to see the other two proposals which were short-listed.
The artist who could have created a brilliant work is George Wyllie, but I guess at 80 George is entitled to put his feet up."

I will add, I don't think it is jingoist to wish that an emblematic image welcoming visitors to Scotland would be produced by a Scottish artist or an artist working in Scotland.
Apart from George Wyllie, I immediately think of Andy Goldsworthy and David Mach.

cynicalHighlander said...

An expensive lightning conductor!

JRB said...

This is the “Emperors New Clothes” yet again…

It is time several individuals within Gretna, Dumfries & Galloway, and Creative Scotland took a reality check.
For them to describe it as a “scintillating piece of calligraphy seen against the sky", is delusional nonsense.

This is nothing more than a piece of pretentious claptrap.

RMcGeddon said...

As Scotland switches to windmills for our electricity the 'Star of Caledonia' will slowly fade until finally going out. A truly symbolic piece of sculpture.

Billy said...

I saw a telephone box with the door hanging off it in Barrhead the other day but now your post has got me doubting that it was a telephone box and maybe it was a piece of modern art or sculpture instead.

Sandy said...

Estimated 1.4 million cost ?

Funded by , as far as i can gather, Nuclear decomissioning Authority, Scottish Enterprise, European regional development and the Scottish Government.

Might as well set fire to a pile of money in a field for all the good it will do.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

What's with all this symbolism -is it a substitute for quality of life?

Demetrius said...

A crown of thorns?

Edward Spalton said...

There is something rather sinister about these large public sculptures and their motivation. I have always thought that the "Angel of the North" was reminiscent of the public sculpture of the fascist era and those monuments of Franco, Salazar and Mussolini which remain.

It was, of course, set up to create a sense of identity for the North East of England, reinforcing Prescott's regionalisation programme. The voters of the North East were supposed to celebrate their identity, look enviously at the delights of Holyrood and say "me too" - but they didn't.

The happily soon-to-be-defunct English Regional Assemblies were once producing entirely phoney "Regional Identity Kits" so that we might get to know who we were! The East Midlands Regional Assembly was proposing a large triumphal arch over the M1 to "celebrate " being happy East Midlanders and Europeans. I normally abhor violence but I would at least have raised my glass the "bold boy" who might have blown the damned thing up - if it had ever been built.

I think this construction is out of the same stable.

Derek said...

Grandiose structures that fill a need, and supply a service such as a bridge or viaduct are fine. The dome of a cathedral or a spire likewise though any 'service' is only in locating the structure. But emblems intended to convey a message are oft derided, confused, and mostly a waste of money. Such a device as depicted will be in need of maintenance, be a perch for avians, a curiosity at best, and likely ridiculed in wonderment of what it might mean.

Physically many points yet having none at all. Is it a prickly stick to thrash us sassenachs with as we cross the threshold? Some might like that (not me).

Apogee said...

I wonder if you put a generator on its base so the thing would turn in the wind, would it generate power like the windmills, it resembles some experimental vertical windmills that would generate regardless of wind direction?

Joe Public said...

My entry would have cost taxpayers only about £150, but was rejected.

It was a simple sign, that on the south side read "Restless Natives ahead".

Brian said...

Do they have poor Freeview reception in the area?

subrosa said...

It was called an 'international' competition Hamish. So I believe.

subrosa said...

Figures between £3m and £10m have been mooted CH. Expensive right enough.

subrosa said...

Not impressed then John? ;)

subrosa said...

It will look nothing like the model when it's installed RM. You're right, it'll be symbolic.

subrosa said...

Sandy, I tried to find out who was paying for it although the quotes I saw were higher. Well done you.

subrosa said...

Billy, we're out of date. Anything is art these days.

subrosa said...

There's a thought Crinkly.

subrosa said...

You're the third person to say that today Demetrius.

subrosa said...

My brother thinks in a similar vein Edward. He feels the symbolism 'cause and effect' amounts to control.

subrosa said...

Abstract works of 'art' impress me little Derek. I feel they're more of an egotistic creation rather than realistic.

subrosa said...

I think it would require a mighty large generator Apogee. :)

subrosa said...

Cheap at twice the price Joe!

subrosa said...

Brian, I think that area was the last to change over to digital so maybe. :)

strapworld said...

Edward Spalton is right. It is very tribal. Like the White Horse on the Oxfordshire hills, The Great Giant in Dorset and so many other tribal signs and structures. We are now adorning the once great UNITED Kingdom with craven images.

What is wrong, if you really want something, with a giant THISTLE lit up in lovely fairy lights? That would have far more significance, surely?

subrosa said...

I don't think the above is as much a craven image as a large profit-maker for those who are involved in the design and production strapworld.

Now that would be something to look forward to - but only if the lights flashed WELCOME. :)

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Spectacular, but what does it have to do with Scotland?

It appears (from this photo at least) to be a completely abstract design.

It could anything and anywhere.

subrosa said...

Weekend Yachtsman, I briefly saw an interview with the designer and it reflect entrepreneurship, hope, culture - everything about Scotland. Unfortunately his translation is not mine.

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