Artists compete for the Angel of the South prize
PUBLISHED: 17:09 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 09:44 23 August 2010
A TURNER Prize winner is among four other world-renowned artists bidding to create an iconic landmark that will be seen by millions of people, writes Martin Sawden. Designs for a competition to create a 150ft sculpture near to Ebbsfleet Station have been
A TURNER Prize winner is among four other world-renowned artists bidding to create an iconic landmark that will be seen by millions of people, writes Martin Sawden.
Designs for a competition to create a 150ft sculpture near to Ebbsfleet Station have been unveiled at The Observatory in Southfleet Road, Swanscombe.
The £2million Ebbsfleet Landmark, dubbed the Angel of the South, will stand in Springhead Park at more than twice the height of Antony Gormley's iconic Angel of the North in Gateshead.
Mark Wallinger, 2007 Turner Prize winner, hopes he has the winning design with his iconic white horse structure.
Built 33 times larger than a real life horse, boat building technology would be used to construct it.
Mr Wallinger said: "The white horse is such an English symbol, tracing its roots back to Anglo-Saxon times.
"Man has plied his trade on horse back for centuries following the route of Watling Street. I like the bridle because it emphasises this beautiful collaboration.
"The extraordinary scale of this will act as a gateway from Kent to London.
"In terms of the construction it will be built like a ship, the superstructure will be lifted into place in sections then a steel skin welded to the outside. If the scale makes it uncanny, perhaps this is because it is also something quite plain and simple - a horse in a field."
Daniel Buren is proposing what he calls a 'signal', a tower of five stacked, hollow cubes through which a single laser beam shoots skywards.
At its base would be a multi-coloured cube with angled mirrors at its heart, giving approaching visitors an ever-changing reflection.
Buren said: "This is not only for people to look at as they pass through, but also for residents living here to visit.
"The treasure is at the centre, when you look up it feels like you can touch the cubes as they rise in decreasing diameter.
"Colours, sky, reflections will all combine so people will be the treasure."
Rachel Whiteread is famed for casting the interior of a Victorian house in 1993 for a temporary exhibition in East London.
Her latest design takes the same theme, with a white concrete house built on top of a craggy mountain built from recycled rock.
She said: "As you walk up to it the idea is that it becomes stranger, an inside out house.
"The light switches and door handles would be inverted, details that you would only see close up will become more obvious."
Christopher Le Brun has used imagery with strong Roman roots, a single wing emulating Mercury, the Roman god of travellers and commerce. A white disc behind it would emulate pagan themes acting as a sun dial and it would need the world's biggest slab lift to move it into place.
He said: "This would need a series of major engineering events to complete but more important, the reason for doing it was for it to be a beautiful and evocative presence rising directly out of the Kent soil."
Richard Deacon, a former Turner Prize winner, plans to use a stack of 26 differently shaped polyhedrons to create a skeletal framework. People will be able to walk up to it and view the changing landscape through a steel lattice.
He said: "I was excited that a sculpture was being commissioned at Ebbsfleet before the town was built and I feel honoured to be offered a chance to make an ambitious proposal.
"It is an area with a past and a future, of continuous redefinition, of addition and subtraction, settlement and passage, exploitation and veneration."
The artists' work will be transferred to the first ever contemporary art show at Bluewater in a specially constructed gallery, open 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
Five schools have been invited to 'adopt' an artist in a project Landmark Link, exploring all the facets of taking an art commission to the public.
They will be competing against each other and pitch to the judging panel in September before they decide on the winning artist. The winning school will get a £1000 bursary.
The judging panel will be made up of art directors and chiefs from sponsoring companies Land Securities, London and Continental Railways and Eurostar. Charged with heading up the Ebbsfleet Landmark project is Claire Foster of Futurecity.
She said: "It is important that children will become ambassadors for a landmark that will be part of their future.
"I have no doubt that the exhibits will trigger a lot of debate over the three months they are at Bluewater."
Participating schools are Swan Valley, Axton Chase, Northfleet Technology College, Northfleet School for Girls and St John's RC Comprehensive.
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