Can I put you on a pedestal?
In praise of the humble plinth, I now see a number of modern magazines and websites running stories with plush photos about how the plinth is enjoying a resurgence.
It feels strange for an artist who has been putting the world on a plinth for so long, to suddenly find that it’s having its moment. Another moment, rather. The point of the plinth is that it works perfectly with the bathos of pop art. In other words, you have something like a torn old MAD magazine preserved for all time in plastic crystal, sitting on top of marble, looking like the bee’s knees. The confusion in your mind comes when you perceive something of an inferior material sitting on top of something deemed quite precious.
Historical, male world leaders are supposed to be cast in bronze and stand on plinths. Plinths were not even made for statues of women. If you did put a bronze statue of an old housewife on top of an extraordinarily rare piece of marble, you’d have to answer for yourself.
You’d have to answer the question you had set in people’s minds: who is to decide what, and who, is important? Luckily, it is the artist who decides when it comes to placing personalities on plinths.
What we memorialise is the things that are important to us as people, first, and then as artists. I guess, as a member of the audience you can decide whether you like us by the quality of what we pop on a box.