The Sculpture ‘Marmite’ Question:

What do you love?

Richard Wilson, A Slice of Reality
Richard Wilson, A Slice of Reality, 2000, h. 9 m., Greenwich Peninsula, London (photo: Creative Commons).

What do you hate?

Anish Kapoor, The Arcelormittal Orbit
Designed by Sir Anish Kapoor, engineered by Cecil Balmond, The ArcelorMittal Orbit, 2012, recycled steel, h. 114.5cm., Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford (photo: © PMSA).

Holly Hendry replies:

My studio is in Woolwich, which is still quite an industrial area, it feels gritty and real with empty open spaces and the murky Thames running alongside – I love it there. Further down the river, standing on the foreshore, is Richard Wilson’s A Slice of Reality, which I also love, a sand dredger vessel sliced vertically so you can see its innards, exposing some of the living quarters, and parts where you can see through it to the river beyond. The river runs right through the vessel at high tide, and I imagine it filtering fragments of objects and bodies and bits from past and present – like a form of industrial, ambivalent mudlarker.

Nearby, but closer to the millennium village with all its hasty redevelopments, Kapoor’s ArcelorMittal Orbit rather leers from the skyline. I’m not sure whether it is sculpture or architecture or neither or both, it seems to fail at being anything – but I am sure that I find it ugly. For me, it embodies the architectural ambitions and failures of the government vanity projects of London, specifically in this area, where you see empty Emirates Airline, High Line type, cable car carriages pass back and forward through the skyline. I see it a lot, but I never look at the ArcelorMittal Orbit properly, it feels like a corporate totem for the ubiquitous architectural developments shooting up around the area.