Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Priapus

Herma of Priapus, by Alexander Stoddart, Vincent Square, Pimlico, London
Herma of “Priapus” by Alexander Stoddart, 2007
Vincent Square, Pimlico
London, September 2014

“Stoddart's practice of encoding classical references in his sculpture is shown in the herm of Priapus that was installed in Vincent Square, London, last summer. Priapus, the Greek fertility god, is shown in rustic mode, ‘as though he was appearing on Gardeners' Question Time’. One hand carries a pair of shears, in acknowledgement of the nearby Royal Horticultural Society. There is a learned inscription about shepherds, the gist of which is that the modern world has gone to pot. Further evidence comes from a drawer in Stoddart's study. From it he produces a phallus. This should have been attached to the herm, as it would have been in the Classical era, but Stoddart, anticipating objections by the planners, did not think he could get away with it. ‘Girls go around half-naked, there is lewdness and innuendo everywhere, children dress like prostitutes to go to school,’ he fulminates, ‘but you can't show Priapus with a phallus.’” (Alexander Stoddart: talking statues, The Telegraph)


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