Alison Lapper Pregnant

By Rob Last edited 160 months ago
Alison Lapper Pregnant

There can't be many people left in the country, never mind London, who haven't seen the image of painter Alsion Lapper created by sculpture Marc Quinn.

Of course the statue takes pride of place on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square this week, but what has everyone got to say about it?

Well the Guardian starts off by giving us the statistics:

This is 11.5 tonnes of bright-white marble hewn from the Tuscan mountains; it took four Italian craftsmen 10 months to carve its shape. Quinn, the Britartist most famous for casting his head in nine pints of his own blood and then freezing it, is dwarfed by his creation. At 3.5m (11ft 6in) tall, the sculpture is more than three times bigger than the real Alison Lapper.

But what about the artistic element? In other words, is it any good?

"Even before it is unveiled, Alison Lapper Pregnant has been written off by some as too PC, kitsch, literal and reductive that it cannot aspire to the condition of art," says the Guardian, quoting Quinn himself as saying "My feeling is people will warm to it. But that could just be naive optimism."

Thee BBC has another quote from Quinn, explaining his choice of subject: "I felt the square needed some femininity, linking with Boudicca near the Houses of Parliament...Alison's statue could represent a new model of female heroism".

Meanwhile the Independent has a great article in today's edition which looks at the role Trafalgar Square itself plays in British life:

Trafalgar Square is not just a convenient open space in the middle of London. It is not simply the place from which all distances to the capital are measured. It is the symbolic heart of the nation.

Standing, as it does, at the intersection between, to the south, Whitehall and the Palace of Westminster, to the east, the City of London, and to the west, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square lies at the core of the United Kingdom's political, commercial and ceremonial seats of power.

The article also reminds us that the Square is no stranger to controversy, poiting out that Charles Dickens moaned about "the ridiculous insufficiency of [the] jets of water" from Charles Barry's fountains when they were first installed.

Last Updated 15 September 2005