People walking through Jubilee Park in Canary Wharf recently would have noticed an intriguing five-metre bronze addition to the environment.
What is it? What does it mean?
Here are a few answers, but the idea is that you supply your own too.
It is the latest creation by internationally-renowned sculptor Helaine Blumenfeld, originally from New York and called the “heir apparent to Moore and Hepworth”.
The sculpture is called Fortuna, named after and inspired by the Roman goddess of destiny, and its aim is to evoke the fullness and complexity of the human condition.
During a question and answer session at the unveiling ceremony, Helaine said: “There is a lot of scars, there’s energy within, there’s a lot of power and there’s also a lot of fragility about it. There’s a lot of fine edges, holes and spaces – secret spaces where light comes through.
“To me it’s about the positive and negative of our own situations, which within itself creates power. If it wasn’t for the fine edges showing the fragility, you wouldn’t feel the power either. If it wasn’t for the scarred areas within, it wouldn’t feel the same.
“So it’s about the contrast within the human condition. That’s how I see it and too many sculptures that are up and down and smooth don’t really leave enough for people to relate to or look at.
“This is a sculpture that will lead you into it and you’ll think about it and be affected by it. You’ll want to go back to it.”
Helaine, known for her work with the artisans of Pietrasanta in Italy, explained how the sculpture was consistent with her theme of “hard beauty”.
“We’re living in a time where images, like language, are becoming trivialised by overuse. You say something is beautiful and it instantly means banal,” she said.
“Beauty has lost its power and yet beauty has been the most important thing that artists have sought since the beginning of time. Why make something that isn’t about beauty?
“It’s only beauty that can really affect us and change us. You look at this sculpture and it affects you in a way that goes deeper than just the superficial.”
During the unveiling, Sir George Iacobescu, CEO of Canary Wharf Group, revealed he and Helaine were old friends and declared his admiration for her work before he removed the sheet covering Fortuna.
He said: “I have to declare a conflict of interest, I have been seduced by Helaine artistically and intellectually.
“We have known each other for a long time, we are very good friends and I am an admirer of her work. She’s one of the best sculptors in the UK and she’s acclaimed internationally.
“We couldn’t have anything better for this place other than a sculpture by Helaine. Every sculpture tells a story and, just like everything we do, you put part of your soul and life into it. There will always be a part of Helaine in Canary Wharf.”
The sculpture is currently planned to be in place at Jubilee Park for the next two years.
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