What’s great about the Christmas season, is that I get to go home! Back up North to Newcastle! I love it here. I mean I do love being back in London, mostly because there is so much to see and to do, but back home is brilliant. Today we went off to south shields. And boy was it bracing. Blooming freezing! But it was lovely to be there and spend some quality time promenading along the sea front and taking some pictures of the wibbly wobbly people!
Otherwise known as Conversation Piece (1996) by Juan Muñoz. I believe this to be an absolutely outstanding sculpture; it is in such a stunning setting and it allows the viewer to interact with the sculpture and the environment around about. Also there is no pomp and circumstance about it, you just stumble across the sculpture, interact and then go about your business, mostly at this time of the year dog walkers and mad fools like myself who head out to the beach whatever the weather. Also South Shields is a breathtaking beach in the winter.
Conversation Piece involves 22 bronze sculptures positioned in different poses. Some appear to be deep in conversation, whilst others look out towards the sea, one is even checking the time his/hers/its watch.
The Spanish artist Juan Muñoz (1953-2001) sculptures are well known for placing the human form in specific architectural environments. He had an immense power to create tension between the illusory and the real, the contrasting acts of looking and receiving, and the poignant isolation of the individual amongst a crowd (source Tate Modern A Retrospective). This is very apparent in South Shields. When some of the figures huddle together, today especially it seemed like they were huddling together to combat the cold, whereas other figures were isolated from the group, looking out to the foreboding sea. Great stuff!