The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - 17

AUTHENTICITY

Edvard Eriksen, the sculptor of The Little Mermaid, had the advantage of representing a strong story in the very location that it (mythically) took place. The connection
between the statue, the site and Denmark in general is unbreakable and is the main
reason that the tiny statue is to Copenhagen what the Statue of Liberty is to New York
and the Eiffel Tower is to Paris
Alexander Moyle, who crafted the Toronto sculptures, had no such advantage, expectations nor literary head start. There is a river nearby (the Humber) and the sound of
passing traffic is reminiscent of the sounds of a flowing river.
EXPERIENCE

Like an old-fashioned commemorative statue, the Little Mermaid instantly evokes a
sense of national pride and achievement. For many, there is a sense of nostalgia,
for bedtime stories of youth (or early movie experiences). The statue's human scale
makes it both personal and universal at the same time. It conveys a sense of magic,
continuing cultural relevance, history and mythology. It also has a sense of indestructible permanence.2
But, for me, the most compelling argument for public art, and one that helps with my
personal dilemma, is best demonstrated by the Bloor Street statues. Without being
handed a timeless story on a world-famous site, as Eriksen was, Moyle was asked
to create an experience from scratch, to occupy a restricted out-of-the-way site that
most people will never visit. In this regard, he has succeeded beyond expectation. By
evoking water-nymph stories, he has emotionally connected his site to the constantly
flowing Humber River, even though we can't see it. On three tiny pieces of land, he
reminds us that rivers have their own mythology. The spaces themselves are static,
but the sculptures are fluid and dynamic, creating strong narrative lines against the
rigid descriptive lines of the architecture.
The important thing is that public art should expand the idea of its site, whether
it's an international destination or a neighbourhood street corner, adding meaning,
impact, engagement and a degree of thoughtfulness. Who knew that mermaids could
do that?
GORDON S. GRICE is Editor of The Right Angle Journal.

REFERENCES
1. See: www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/3prnlw/statue_of_lenin_converted_into_darth_vader_in/ Statue of
Lenin converted into Darth Vader in Odessa, Ukraine as a part of decommunization process that outlaws
Communist symbols.
2. The Little Mermaid statue has its own story. Because it is such a cultural icon, it has suffered at the
hands of political activists over the years, having been decapitated twice, blown up once and covered in
paint several times.

Tto HourAspoNnsoKrs wYhoOmakUe
this publication possible.

579651_Valcoustics.indd 1

The Right Angle | Spring 2018
| 17
30/03/12 12:36 PM


http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/3prnlw/statue_of_lenin_converted_into_darth_vader_in/ http://www.valcoustics.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018

Message from the Board
Art & Architecture
UX and Architecture
Index to Advertisers
Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - Intro
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - cover1
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - cover2
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - 3
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - 4
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - 5
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - Message from the Board
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - Art & Architecture
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - 8
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - 9
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - 10
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - 11
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - 12
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - 13
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - 14
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - 15
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - 16
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - 17
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - UX and Architecture
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - 19
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - Index to Advertisers
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - 21
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - cover3
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2018 - cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0320
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0220
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0120
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0419
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0319
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0219
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0119
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0418
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0318
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0218
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0118
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0417
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0317
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com