Function of Public art


Public art by definition is a representation of art revealed in a social space; can be find in the urban structure of a cities. This movement has changed in the late 70’s when the cities starts to lose their urban identity and move away from the idea of the representative or celebratory monuments.

In this essay I will go to explore the public art and understand the different functions and the different meanings. In fact some of the oldest piece, have a memorial function.They may be artefacts that still exist so rich of stories from people who experienced them, or they can be there as local symbol. Recently forms of public art have lost their mnemonic functions and propel us forward straight to the future. To address this research I will use every means in order to understand the functions of these pieces of public art: so newspaper articles, visiting the places concerned and maybe do a little interview around the affected place then examine what remained in the hearts of the residents.

One of the richest cities in history and monuments is certainly Rome. The Italian capital is well known also as  “the eternal city” precisely because it boasts numerous historical archaeological finds. Walking through the streets of Rome is a pleasure to admire its history; it is like an open air museum. One of the greatest symbols of Rome is the Colosseum.  Following a competition organised by New Open World CorporationConsidered in 2007 one of the seven wonders of the world(NOWC). The Colosseum is the largest amphitheater in the world. It falls into the monuments category (from the Latin monumentum, “memory”) so a structure which was used from people more than 3000 years ago and has turned into an public art piece, accessible to everyone. Unfortunately the many cracks inside make it impracticable, but is still possible to visit it inside. It’s very suggestive to touch the foundations steeped in history. Its aspect is so impressive, its material and its placement at the heart of the world, makes the Colosseum a real institution rather than a local symbol.

To find examples of memorial arts, has been useful to go to the Imperial War museum, where you can find many artefacts of the war. In particular, an example is the Jeremy Deller’s piece called 5 March 2007. It is basically a vehicle mangled by a bomb attack in the heart of Baghdad. Everything took place in the heart of the Iraqi capital just in a cultural and historical street of the city, near Baghdad’s Al-Mutanabi book market. The bomb  caused more than 38 deaths and many more wounded. A real massacre. The website of the Imperial war museum confirmed that  before being delivered to the imperial museum the vehicle, has been shown in 25 of the united states.The author of the work considered his self  very proud to host his work in the Imperial war museum in the UK, along with other artefacts that date back to years ago.The museum hopes that the piece of Jeremy Deller help us to”not forget”  deadly impact of the war against civilians. A great example of an historical relic turned into public art piece.

Art is generated by any form of emotion. No matter what emotion ensues, no matter if it is generated by anger anguish anxiety or sense of revolt.Many artists in the past have found their inspirations passing by problems, difficulties and real art moments.

Unity is strength; when you cross the difficult moments sharing has a different taste: the taste of fraternity!  A really good example of public art actually generated from a long period of suffering is “the wall of hope” and we can find it right here in London, Peck-ham for the correctness. The people of Peck-ham are sadly reminiscent of the savagery suffered by the neighbourhood gang. Many shops were looted, people suffered inequities and even a pound-land was robbed, as if it were an expensive bank. One of the poorest zone of London was going to be ruined by the residents and the result was nothing short alarming. In the 2011 this wall was lift up inside the window of pound-land now burned, then it was reproduced as a piece of public art itself. The wall starts messages of solidarity with the police, “the police are human too, have respect for them.” Everything fits with the assassination of a black boy,Mark Duggan, by the police. Just in Peck ham where is concentrated a large part of the black community. This caused even more sense of revenge from the residents who find horrible racist abuses by police airiness to undergo of injustice. So there was a big desire to huddle together. This prompted the people of Peck-ham to tighten in a fraternal group raising “the Wall of Hope”.           This can be defined as a piece of public art created by the people in the past and continues over time. A sort of wall in continuous growth, the formation of a new united community. This work is useful not only to remember the past but is an important opportunity to not make the same mistake in the future. I would call a progressive piece of public art.


An artwork that is dedicated to the public does not always have a social function in an urban structure, but can satisfy also other purposes. One of these may be the aesthetic sense; a beautiful piece can give a different touch to the surrounding area. The “ArcelorMittal Orbit” sculpture is the highest in England (115 meters), created by Anish Kapoor in collaboration with the architect, engineer and designer Cecil Balmond. This sculpture was created in 2012 when London was the host country of the Olympic Games. Great efficiency in the realisation of the works, was made a big step in the urbanisation for many areas and specially Stratford suburb for London where the Olympics were held. Cecil Balmond  (Co-creator) is very pleased with the concept of the new structure which is passing  from the idea of an old-fashioned work which is able to fix the environment, moving toward something fluid but graceful, stable and that gives an new identity for the 21st century. Mackenzie emphasizes the importance of the commissioned works, that give more opportunity to the new artists to come up with new ideas. The ArcelorMittal Orbit is a futuristic piece of art. Indeed, the structure was generated by very ambitious scribblings, as hyperbole pointing to the moon.

An artwork can move forward and can bring you back in time. There are sentiments which must not be forgotten, others that exceed the infinite. Never stop ensure that not commit more errors. Because live together in this world is possible.





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