Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Controversial exhibition by Ramón Conde near the Cathedral of Santiago

Where's Galicia?
Isn't it somewhere south, south-west of Cornwall?

Well, yes... The wet, grey, overcast day continued, and the day turned to sight of the sun...all sound too familiar.

The umbrellas opened and closed, anoraks and raincoats, sombre and bright clashing wildly, travellers and pilgrims trudged and mingled on and around the squares encircling the Cathedral, and me, wishing for more flattering light for the camera.

On one of these squares, the Silversmith's Square, La Plaza de Las Platerías, La Praza das Praterías, it will come as quite a shock to the uninitiated when they looked up at the balconies opposite one of the sides of the Cathedral, just by the fountain of the horses.

A series of exaggeratingly large, grotesque even, naked-as-daylight statues stare down at them in the square. In a way they looked as though they could have come from all those centuries ago - one thinks of the deadly seven sins and of gluttony, in particular, but wait a minute. Some of these are not obese in the slightest. They're big and strong, but not fat.

And you start to think, no, there's something not quite right. They seem, erm, sort of out of place. But, surely, if they're here, the Church must have put them up?

Controversial statue by Ramon Conde in Silvermith's Square

Controversial statue by Ramon Conde in Silvermith's Square

Controversial statue by Ramon Conde in Silvermith's Square

Well, no, the Church didn't put them up here. In fact, they complained about them, but the local council decided not to take them down.

The statues are the work of a Galician sculptor, Ramón Conde, and his exhibition is called O Poder (Power). 15 statues, spread on the balconies around the squares of Platerias and Obradoiro, will be there until 28 September 2014, their underlying concept being that strength and improvement are two essential conditions for survival.

What do you think? Are grotesque naked statues of men an insult to the Cathedral and religious pilgrims?