Picture of a woman with severe handicaps; softonon. An illness causing vital parts of the body not mature, the beauty of the person is not like we are used to and which many people are embarrassed.
White marble, perfectly smooth finish. So realistic that it seems as if she can move. Marc Quinn manages to portray lack and disease without the 'ugly' materials or shapes 'need' has.
Each year, a renowned artist is invited to create a work of art is exhibited in a central square in London.
The artwork is contradictory: a flawed body is performed in one of the finest materials, made a human deficit exhibited no single gene. It is logical that this evokes a fierce resistance in many people.
This artwork is a masterpiece by the perfect execution and lifelike expression and fundamental discussions it evokes.
Compared with other works
Wolfgang Matteuer's Jahrhunderschritt (Berlin, picture 1, more information
) depicts a person off which does not correspond to the ideal of beauty. This person makes an incredibly big step forward and is apparently incredibly strong. Wolfgang Matt Heuer knows Jahhundertschritt ('One Hundred Years Step', Berlin) to portray a convincing person without the use of perfect shapes, proportions and colors.
With Der Gestürzte Krieger by Markus Lüpertz (Berlin, picture 2, more information
)we witness the last moment of a brave man who has fought for a good cause. The materialization is shocking; the person already appears to defend.
It is so painful to walk through an intimate space of two lovers who are totally vulnerable meeting. Maybe the people of Wohin Gehst Du by Andreas Wegner (Berlin, picture 3, more information
), experience their last moments together.
Although Karl Bobek's Torso (Berlin, picture 4, more information
) of a man impersonates who is actively involved, the man also seems to perish. This man confronts effectively serious issues of life and mortality.
Nothing wrong; Europe Power Handstand. Ernst Leonhard's (Berlin, picture 5, more information
) work plays catchy way with a heavy body that adopts a onwaarschijlijke attitude.
Although Yolanda by Miriam Lenk (Berlin, picture 6, more information
) does not have the perfect buddies, she is so attractive that it's hilarious.
I expected to be writing about how much I disliked Alison Lapper Pregnant, the 12-ton, marble sculpture that now graces Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth. I had seen pictures of Marc Quinn's maquette of the piece and had thought the subject matter - Lapper was born with no arms and shortened legs - too deliberately controversial, too feebly didactic and, as a result, rather banal.
But I should have known better. When it comes to sculpture, never underestimate the move from maquette to finished work. In the case of Alison Lapper Pregnant, something wonderful has happened in the zoom from miniature to massive, and it is not only the sheer scale of the thing (the statue is 3.55 metre tall and manages to feel even bigger) that demands a certain respect. White and dazzling, Quinn's sculpture has set a grey corner of a grey space unexpectedly ablaze.
On Thursday, when the piece was unveiled, it was raining: driving, dirty rain of a kind that always feels singular to London. Beyond all the umbrellas, mayor Ken was droning on; I couldn't catch what he was saying. Alison Lapper Pregnant was swathed in stately purple cloth, like a giant competitor in a wet T-shirt competition. Most people, I think, just wanted Ken to get on with it, so they could race home, or back to their offices, and wrap themselves in a towel.
But then the cloth came off and it was as if someone had switched on a light. Against a sky the colour of old underwear, a circle of buildings that might as well be built of concrete for all the life and warmth their stony facades exude, Quinn's womanly but warrior-like Lapper in marble from Pietrasanta, Italy, glowed like a beacon. Around me, the damp crowd started to smile and to talk.
Quinn says his inspiration came from the fact that there was 'no positive representation of disability in the history of public art'. Lapper says that she hopes the sculpture will 'make a difference ... it's inspirational. It puts disability and femininity and motherhood on the map. It's time to challenge people's perceptions of these things. I'm hopeful it can make a difference'.
Looking at the statue, I wondered whether she might not be right about this. I hate overt messages in art, which is why my favourite of all the pieces that have graced the fourth plinth is still Rachel Whiteread's wonderfully sly and elusive Monument.
But what strikes you about Alison Lapper Pregnant are its elegant proportions, the implacable rightness of the way his subject sits there. It brings to mind the classical statues that grace our greatest museums, other sculptures from other times which also have, whether by accident or design, missing arms and legs.
Quinn's sculpture is very beautiful, and this is how it works on you, in insidious fashion. Lapper has written a book about her life, and knowing the details - that her mother periodically abandoned her; that she is now a feisty single mother - remind you of all that she has struggled against, of how vivid and extraordinary a person she must be.
But I don't think they come in to play as you gaze on her outsize image in Trafalgar Square, though as a fighter, she takes her rightful place alongside the soldiers on the other plinths, Charles Napier and Henry Havelock. No, by choosing to portray Lapper naked and pregnant, Quinn has given us an Everywoman. You look at her face, her breasts and her swollen belly, and only afterwards do you wonder about her limbs.
Alison Lapper Pregnant will be in situ for 18 months, when it will be replaced by Thomas Schutte's Hotel for the Birds. I hope this cycle of change continues for a very long time to come (the fourth plinth, designed by Charles Barry, was built in 1841; the funds to top it with an equestrian statue never materialised).
The arrival of Quinn's sculpture is an event, one that, through sheer verve and loveliness alone, seems to knock into a cocked hat the tired debate about what constitutes public art. This is public art, and let that be an end of it.
I would like to think that the plinth commissions will become a regular excitement, just like Tate Britain's magnificent Turbine Hall installations. It was great, watching Tate visitors 'sunbathe' beneath Olafur Eliasson's spectral Weather Project in 2003 and it will be good, too, when we see people eating their lunchtime sandwiches beside Alison Lapper Pregnant, occasionally glancing up at her determined jaw as they chew.