Internationally renowned artist Olaf Breuning was commissioned to produce a public work for St Paul’s Park and undertook a site visit in 2009. Wishing to be respectful to the park with its history as a deconsecrated cemetery, whilst also bringing his own humorous take on contemporary art, Breuning has produced two marble sculptures and a major new photograph.
The two white marble sculptures loosely resemble the human form in height and shape, with echoes of some kind of memorial or gravestone. They are situated close together to give the impression they are in conversation.
From the side, the sculptures are roughly carved, resembling standing stones. The front of the sculptures is flat and polished with writing ‘embossed’ onto the surface. In fact, these words are carved from the marble block in a font that is cartoon-like. This adds to the idea that the sculptures are in conversation, acting almost like speech bubbles. These words and phrases were chosen by the artist following submissions at a community event in the park. ‘It had better be good’ and One Day It Will, One Day it Will’ offer both an optimistic and realistic take on the future.
These works represent a move forward for Breuning, in that they are permanent and invite collaboration with the public. The sculptures act as both guardians of the park and also as active audience for other events and activities. The sculptures will be ‘in conversation’, not only with themselves but with visitors to the park.
As part of the commission, the artist produced a photo work of including local residents and visitors to the park, bent down clutching over 400 coloured balloons. Olaf Breuning is well known for these large scale photo works that incorporate the public, often in a light hearted, humorous manner. This was donated to the Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery.