Monday, 29 August 2011
'FREDDIE ON THE PLINTH', UNOFFICIAL 4TH PLINTH PROPOSAL BY ALEKSANDRA MIR
Feddie Mercurie at the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London, a proposal by Aleksandra Mir
Freddie Mercury model at Irena Sedlecka's studio
Freddie Mercury models at Irena Sedlecka's studio
Freddie Mercury at current location in Montreaux
Freddie on the Plinth is a proposal by artist Aleksandra Mir to bring the statue of Freddie Mercury back to London on loan from Montreux for one year and to place it on the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar Square. Sign The Petition! http://www.freddieontheplinth.co.uk/petition/
For the last 9 months I have been working on documenting the life story of Irena Sedlecka, a now 82 year old Check sculptor who was a celebrated Socialist Realist superstar in Prague before she came to London in 1966. Here she initially supported herself and raised three children by making souvenir models for the shop at the British Museum, slowly returning to her trade in sculpture via 'Talking Heads' in marketing and eventually, twenty years later, landing the commission to create a monumental statue of Freddie Mercury in 1995. This is where Socialist Realism and Glam Rock truly meet.
It has been fascinating and incredibly humbling to learn from a true master, not only of sculpture, but of life itself. Read my interview with Irena here:
The statue itself has an equally fascinating fate. It currently lives in Montreux, where Freddie's rock star exuberant pose, once struck at Wembley stadium now faces the calm waters of lake Geneva. It is has become a popular pilgrim site for fans from all over the world who gather here on what would have been his Birthday, September 5th, yet it seems oddly misplaced.
To make use out of all of this, I have now also created an independent and unsolicited proposal to bring this masterpiece back on loan to London for one year, to return Freddie from his exile and to put him on the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square. But also, for our generation to take a good look at and experience 'Sculpture' again and maybe to shake up our investment in it a little.
If you like the idea, please read more and sign my petition. It would mean a lot to have my friends blessing before I unleash this on the Freddie Mercury fans!
PS. The project is - not - an invited or even official 4th plinth commission, so it really can use your support. Forward this mail and break free!
Freddie on the Plinth Proposal
Freddie on the Plinth is a tribute to two people with an unlikely but beautiful connection: the legendary rock star Freddie Mercury (b 1946 – d 1991) and a Czech sculptor called Irena Sedlecka (b 1928). As a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, Sedlecka was awarded the State Prize for excellence and thereafter created many socialist realist large-scale commissions before fleeing the Communist regime for England in 1966. It was in London, after Freddie’s death from AIDS in 1991, where she received the commission to create a larger-than-life memorial statue in bronze of the rock star.
At that time, 20 years ago, the remaining members of Queen and the executors of Freddie’s estate decided to commission the memorializing bronze statue as the whereabouts of Freddie’s ashes was a closely guarded secret. The statue depicts him at the height of his rock-star power performing at Wembley Stadium, his body in full-stretch rock exuberance, triumphantly gesturing towards an imaginary sea of mesmerized fans. Facing the statue, it is as if you can hear the crowds screaming, the band playing and Freddie’s heart beating – a living spirit captured in bronze by a sculptor at the height of her powers.
Despite the statue’s excellence, Freddie’s enormous contribution to music and the love of his many fans in the UK and worldwide, it was rejected by Westminster Council amidst rumours about homophobia, fear of AIDS and vandalism. Numerous attempts to place the statue on public view elsewhere in London failed and a permanent home for it was never found. Instead, the work was offered to the city of Montreux, Switzerland where the band kept a recording studio, where Freddie had found a retreat from the paparazzi and where the gift was welcomed with open arms. So the statue, with its bursting energy and urban soul was placed facing the quiet and calm waters of Lake Geneva. It has since become a site of pilgrimage for fans from all over the world who gather here every year to mark Freddie’s birthday.
Freddie on the Plinth is also an independent, unsolicited proposal to bring the statue of Freddie Mercury back to London, on loan from the city of Montreux for one year and to place it on the empty 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square: to honour both Freddie Mercury’s and Irena Sedlecka’s artistic legacies; as an exploration of the connections between socialist realism and glam rock; to contemplate the void created by all silences; and to channel love through the celebration and sheer expression of life.
Let's put Freddie on the Plinth
Sign the Petition!
Below are the links that you need to sign the petition, to read the amazing and fascinating interview with Irene herself, and see photographs of the statue as it was being made, and cast.
From Jackie, president of the official Queen fanclub:
"I am in Montreux this coming weekend, to sit with friends from all over the World, in the shadow of the great man - to have that fantastic and beautiful statue here in London, however briefly, would be a dream come true."
Freddie on the Plinth - Petition
Freddie on the Plinth - Proposal
Freddie on the Plinth - Interview
Freddie on the Plinth - Picture Show