The case of the Frankenstein Nefertiti: it's time to revolt against ugly public art
As Egyptian protesters get a colossal – and colossally awful – sculpture of the ancient queen pulled down, we need to topple all the other art that’s an insult to our public spaces.Egypt has had a revolution, and we should emulate it. We need a revolution against bad public art.
Ugly sculpture is a global phenomenon. From a daft statue of Peter Falk in Budapest to the colossally kitsch couple at St Pancras Station in London, clumsily executed excuses for figurative art are insulting public spaces. And we put up with it. A few aesthetes may gripe, and online galleries have a laugh at all the unsightly art appearing everywhere, but most people passively accept the right of ignorant art-commissioning bodies and arrogant artists to impose their awful taste on the rest of us.
Not so in Egypt. Perhaps emboldened by their recent history of demonstrations and political change, Egyptians have protested against a ridiculous sculpture and got it removed. The “artwork” in question was supposed to be a replica of the great ancient Egyptian bust of Nefertiti that resides in Berlin’s Neues Museum. It was commissioned to stand at the entrance to the city of Samalut, three hours south of Cairo.
Nefertiti’s famous head, with her high hat, was replicated on a colossal scale. Or rather, it was not replicated. Her face, instead of being reddish, was greenish yellow. And instead of beautiful, it was elongated and strangely marked, with closed eyes. In fact, it bore little resemblance to the iconic image of Nefertiti’s beauty.Egyptian bloggers and Twitter users soon called it “Frankenstein” and denounced it as “an insult to Nefertiti and to every Egyptian”.
奈费尔提蒂著名的头部,与她高耸的帽子,被复制成一个巨大的规模。或者更确切地说,这并不单单是复制 。她的脸不是红色的,而是青黄色的 。这看起来并不美丽的,雕塑细长,刻有奇怪的标志,双眼合拢 。事实上,这与奈费尔提蒂的标志性形象美几乎没有任何相似之处 。埃及博客和推特用户很快就称之为“弗兰肯斯坦”,谴责这是“对奈费尔提蒂和每一个埃及人的侮辱” 。