Page 3 Profile: Paul Cummins, artist

 

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The Independent Online

Seeing red over something?

The artist behind the celebrated Tower of London poppy memorial has indicated that snobbery within the art world will prevent it from being nominated for the Turner Prize. Paul Cummins created the major art installation, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of the Red, along with designer Tom Piper. The project saw 888,246 ceramic poppies planted in the Tower’s moat in the lead up to 11 November. Each poppy represented a British or colonial soldier who died during the conflict.

It certainly won widespread praise…

Sir Peter Bazalgette, chairman of Arts Council England, said the work would be remembered for another 100 years and some have argued it deserves to be nominated for the Turner Prize, the UK’s most publicised art award.

But the artists aren’t holding their breath?

“It is not going to happen,” Mr Cummins said in an interview with The Guardian. “Probably if it had been someone else, yes.” Mr Piper added: “Paul’s ‘a Derby-based artist’ and I’m a theatre designer and ‘not an artist’, although I beg to differ.”

What about the unanimous acclaim?

It was not entirely unanimous, after all. In October, the former Turner Prize judge Jonathan Jones attacked the memorial plans. “War is not noble. A meaningful mass memorial to this horror would not be dignified or pretty…The moat of the Tower should be filled with barbed wire and bones. That would mean something,” the Guardian art critic wrote on his blog. “It would have ended up looking like The Rocky Horror Show if we’d have done what he wanted us to do,” Mr Cummins retorted.

Not the most fitting tribute.

I think I like the one we had.

The duo undoubtedly put their heart and soul into the project. The artistic establishment might turn their noses up but it is predicted both men will feature in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list. An estimated £10m has been raised for charity from the sale of the poppies since the installation was dismantled.

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