You know the story, The Emperor’s Clothes, in which two swindlers convince the Emperor that the robe they weave for him out of fresh air is in fact spun from thread so pure that only the most worthy can see it? The town go wild swooning over the quality of the fabulous robe while the Emperor struts around in his altogether like a bantam cock (oops) until one little boy pipes up that the Emperor has no clothes on.
In my humble opinion a lot of Emperor’s Clothes syndrome goes on in the art world. Some rich, powerful or insane art critic gives the nod to some ghastly piece of work and because of his or her stature everyone else falls over themselves to agree how wonderful the monstrosity is.
Take Tracey Emin’s My Bed for example. (Please take it somewhere far away. Then burn it). It is an ugly and depressing thing that detracts from its environment and blights the world. Who in their right mind would give it house room (Charles Saatchi, actually!) much less put it up as a contender in a major art competition?
Something just as ugly has sprung up in the middle of Costa del Silencio. As part of the general refurbishment of the town the council in all their wisdom have removed the totems that stood in front of El Chapparal for over thirty years. The residents were told that the old wooden structures had started to decay but replicas would be made and would soon replace the original carvings.
The totems had a meaning and a place in the heart of the town. They represented the combined community of the seven Canary Islands and yet as each totem was unique, they also represented the individuality of each of the islands. The totems also stood tall and proud, fulfilling a basic requirement of most landmarks. They could be seen from a distance.
Soon after the totems were taken down workers started construction on a large oval basin. Obviously some sort of fountain…
It seemed to have seven pipes and light fittings. Could this mean a dancing fountain of seven different coloured water spouts? That would be nice to sit and watch of a summer evening, eh?
Work went on and on. Much time was spent on the mosiac round the outside of the ‘fountain’. It was almost as if the workers did not want to get to the next step – installing the figures. I am not suprised.
God in Govan, who dreamt this horror up? And who rubber stamped it? If art is deemed successful if it inspires emotion then I must say this monstrosity is a runaway success because I hate it so much I am inspired to smash it to pieces with a baseball bat.
I am not alone. No-one in Costa Del Silencio likes the thing. The consensus of opinion is that the government is poking fun at the tourists. But what cruel fun. Look at these dumpy, gormless creatures!
Are these seven hefty bathers, staring slack-mouthed at the sky supposed to express the unity yet individuality of the seven Canary Islands? If so I wonder which one is represented by the men-things which have a bigger moob problem than Jack Nicholson.
The water that you see in the pictures really is that colour. If people in CDS start to succumb to swamp-borne disease you will know where to find the hot zone. I don’t think the council has ever turned on the pumps making this eyesore also an excellent nursery pond for mosquitos.
Many think that this street installation is an insult to the tourism and expatriate money that made Tenerife what it is today. To me it is a blot on the landscape and a dire waste of council money which could have been better spent renovating poor, neglected Damon Park. To one little boy, it is something of a mystery. “Couldn’t they do people good?” my son asked me in a puzzled tone.
It’s true. You would have thought that if someone’s bright idea of modern art was a stone bath full of metal transexuals in the centre of the town that they would have hired a half decent artist to make a proper go of it.
Still, you never know. Tenerife’s ‘Fountain of Fuglies’ may succeed where Tracey Emin failed and win the Turner Prize. If so, can we spend the prize money on Damon Park, donate the ugly thing to Charles Saatchi and have our totems back please.