When I heard that they were going to be putting some Antony Gormley ‘men’ figures into the Water of Leith, I wasn’t too chuffed about the idea. Last year we went for a walk along the stretch of water from the back of the Modern Art Gallery in Edinburgh to Stockbridge.
It was the first time that we had ever taken that path and it was a great surprise to find a lovely rural and atmospheric spot in the middle of a city. I thought that any man made art work would really ruin the place and spoil the ambience.
So when we stretched our legs along that way again a few weeks ago I was quite relieved and impressed with what I saw. If anything the figures actually add to the atmosphere.
I think the statues are actually supposed to have a use, being a gauge to the level of the river but if you think about it the river would have been used by people thousands of years ago, long before Edinburgh was ever thought of. To me it’s a sort of reminder of this, there would have been people ‘guddling for fish’ and generally getting on with life with the help of the river.
I’m not so sure about the Gormley figures which have been placed atop high buildings in New York City though. They all look to me like they are about to take a suicidal dive off the edge.