Since early August people passing by the moat at the Tower of London will have been able to watch the progress of the planting of a giant poppy field and as we approach Armistace Day on 11 November the 888,246th poppy will be ‘planted’ – one for each British life lost during the Great War.
It is certainly a spectacular sight, the whole moat filled with the brightest red sparkling in the sunlight. Each of the ceramic poppies has been sold for £25 with the profits going to Service charities. The artists responsible for this remarkable installation Paul Cummins and Tom Piper intended the work to illustrate the frailty of human life lost in the war and with this in mind the exhibition will be deinstalled from 11 November.
A real crowd puller, the poppies are currently attracting thousands of visitors daily to walk around the viewing area above the moat and so it was inevitable that the politicians would jump on the bandwagon sooner or later.
The Mayor of London is lobbying Historic Royal Palaces to keep the exhibition open longer to enable as many people as possible to see it – not to mention spend their money in London! My view is that while it is spectacular and worth seeing, it is only an artwork, the whole point of which is it’s transient nature; to keep it for longer flies in the face of the original intention behind the piece. There have been several reviews of this piece in the media recently including this piece by Johnathan Jones of The Guardian which kind of says it all. http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2014/oct/28/tower-of-london-poppies-ukip-remembrance-day
The view from The Shard