My London travels: clean and cleaner

Walking was getting a bit tiring in London. I stopped for a little rest at Cavendish Square – one of many little green oases dotted around London’s centre.

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It was lovely! Among all the bustle and noise of the capital I found myself enjoying the sight of the green, green grass and huge old trees.

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Then I saw this  monument. Nothing special, I thought, just one of many undistinguished equestrian figures on London streets. It looked quite old, made of some kind of white stone (marble, perhaps) and badly cracked.

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The only funny detail was that half of one of his legs was missing.

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I went to have a closer look and… I was gobsmacked when I read this inscription! 

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Meekyoung Shin

Written in Soap
A Plinth Project

10 July 2012 – 30 June 2013

Written in Soap: A Plinth Project is a new public art commision by the Korean artist Meekyoung Shin.

This one-year project recreates in soap the original equestrian statue of the Duke of Cumberland that sat on this plinth in the square from 1770 to 1868, and which was removed in the nineteenth century due to the widespread disapproval of his actions in Scotland following his victory at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

The new work will make use of the Cavendish Square plinth for the first time in 144 years and bring focus to the passage of time as the sculpture weathers throughout the four seasons. As the sculpture erodes due to the effects of the weather, the scented soap will disintegrate and release a perfumed aroma. The detail of the statue will soften and fade over time, symbolising the mutable meanings we attached to public monuments and our history.

THIS SCULPTURE IS ACTUALLY MADE OF SOAP!

I mean… Is it wonderful or not?!

Could it be that the London  authorities decided to kill THREE birds with one stone – to re-create old statues, hint at the passing of time and make the city cleaner? 🙂

“The night rinses what the day has soaped.”

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