Bob & Roberta Smith charm the Institute of Contemporary Arts with inspiring art talk
Bob & Roberta Smith is one of a kind, and as far as he’s concerned, we all are. The man who claims he has turned “into a mad politician” urges each of us to take control of our lives, telling the audience that each individual has power. Power to think, power to act, power to communicate.
“I’m keen on people thinking by themselves and not thinking what I think,” claims this British contemporary artist, best known for painting colourful humorous slogans on banners and discarded boards of wood. If you think you don’t know him, maybe the slogan “Make art, not war” may ring a bell; or perhaps you know him by his real name: Patrick Brill. Either way, taking an interest in this artist’s work is an essential act of citizenship, as he had campaigned for many years to keep art in the public space.
He is currently trying to reverse the Mayor of Tower Hamlets’s decision to put a Henry Moore sculpture up for auction. This artwork, the Old Flo, had resided in London’s East End for 35 years and is a symbol of peace and freedom. Realising that somebody has to say something but that actually nobody does, Brill decided to become that person, bringing attention to public art while questioning the protection offered to these works of art. Today, it is unlikely that a Banksy would be removed from a wall, as his art is now internationally famous. But what about other examples of public art?
There is no one looking at public oeuvres and saying that they should be catalogued in order to be protected. We should all be their guardians, and not forget that, as Patrick Brill says, “what is public is fantastic!” Through his art, this generous activist gives us wise advice: we don’t have to protest, but we have to express what we would like the world to be.
If you want to catch a glimpse of Bob & Roberta’s work, you have until 20th January 2013 to view the “empty” Northwest plinth in Trafalgar Square as part of The Fourth Plinth exhibition.
The Fourth Plinth exhibition is on until 20th January 2013. For more information, click here.