When it comes to art, there are different categories – good art, bad art, and then there’s the downright appalling art. The newly revealed Princess Diana bronze statue by Ian Rank-Broadley falls into the latter category. Displayed in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, the statue bears a resemblance to other artistic atrocities such as the Ronaldo bust by Emanuel Santos at Madeira airport or the George Best statue by Tony Currie outside Windsor Park in Belfast.
Rank-Broadleƴ’s sculpture of Diana fails to capture her essence, disregarding her elegance and beauty. Instead, she is depicted in a stiff, maternal pose shielding children, the third child remaining hidden, potentially out of shame. This representation does not do justice to Diana’s kindness, strength, and humanitarian spirit. Perhaps, if she were portrayed as the brave woman who walked through an active minefield in her fɩak jacket, her indomitable spirit would have been better captured. However, we will never know. The statue also raises questions about modern statues, lacking the pathos, sensuality, and beauty of classical statues. Is there a way to make these statues more useful for future generations? Pierre Huƴghe’s works may provide inspiration in this regard.
Huƴghe is an artist originally from Paris, now living in New York. He has gained recognition worldwide for his ability to create connections between the biological and technological realms, and for his immersive environments that are constantly evolving. One of his notable works is “Exomind” (deep water), a sculpture he created in 2017. This piece is an extension of another statue he designed for the 2012 Documenta 13 exhibition in Kassel. The original statue was inspired by Max Weber’s reclining female nude.
“Exomind” is a unique sculpture that depicts a woman crouching down with her head covered by a beehive. The inspiration for this sculpture came from the works of Tobari Kogan, a renowned Japanese sculptor who lived during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The beehive on the woman’s head is home to a colony of busy bees, adding an extra layer of fascination to the piece.
One of these sculptures has been permanently installed in a specially created garden environment at the Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine in Fukuoka, Japan. However, the artist has also created replicas of the sculpture for various exhibitions and events. Overall, “Exomind” is a captivating work of art that showcases the beauty and intricacy of nature, combined with the skill and creativity of human craftsmanship.
Until the conclusion of June, one instance is when “Exomind” was situated in the garden at the de Young museum located in San Francisco. This was an element of the display known as “Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI.”
The exhibition’s name was fitting for the statue that had an unsettling appearance. While it had a female body, the head was adorned with buzzing bees, making it appear extraterrestrial. Initially, it was hard to decipher the identity of this enigmatic being.
The artwork contains numerous metaphors that convey an important message about the preservation of our planet. By depicting bees in this manner, the artist emphasizes the significance of keeping them in mind. Additionally, the statue is a crucial component of a complex system that goes beyond its physical appearance.
The statue’s wild beehive atop its head has an ever-changing appearance, becoming a vibrant living mask that spreads pollen and alters the surrounding environment. Through their pollination efforts, the bees highlight the intricate neural connections found in biological brains and the importance of comprehending such networks within natural systems.
Lastly, bees play a crucial role in producing honey and wax which serves as a reminder of how ideas can manifest into tangible products like installations, objects, and items. While some may find the idea of covering disliked modern statues with beehives drastic and surreal, it could serve as a fun and educational way to highlight the significance of bees in the cycle of life. It would be especially poignant to cover Diana, who was remembered as a Princess but could be celebrated posthumously as a strong and determined queen bee.