Penelope (1)
Wolstenholme Square, Liverpool L1

Picture by Pat Neill
 
Another view
 
Sculptor: Jorge Pardo
 

Wolstenholme Square was once a most fashionable address. It is typical of Liverpool's nineteenth century development that the elegance was swept away by a utilitarian tide of warehousing. The undistinguished buildings of Victorian and later times have now been decaying and disappearing for seventy years. Times are changing for this square though, on every side regeneration is closing in. Approached through Tunnage Square (effectively an alley, recently punched through from Duke Street), the enormity of Penelope challenges the viewer with its size, colour and reach.

The Cuban-born sculptor created this piece for the 2006 Biennial and it is arguably the largest piece of public art in the city centre. In Homer’s Odyssey Penelope was Ulysses’ wife. Penelope faithfully awaited her husband’s return from the Trojan war. She put off numerous suitors by saying she had to finish weaving a robe, unravelling her day’s work each night to maintain her fidelity. The stalks are references to both Penelope’s weaving and to the local history of rope-making. The Tate Director of 2006 said “Penelope is monumental without being domineering or overpowering. It is a work that is bold, dynamic and exhilarating while directly referencing the history of the city and its immediate architectural situation”. Pardo was born in Cuba in 1963 but was taken to Los Angeles at the age of six.

Sources:
Tate.org,uk 
360Spin.co.uk
The-Artists.org

Alan Maycock 2008

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