Written in Soap, A Plinth Project will be a new public art commission by Korean artist Meekyoung Shin (b. 1967 in South Korea) lives and works in Seoul and London. She completed her BFA and MFA in Seoul National University and moved to London in 1995 to obtain her MFA at Slade School of Art. The work which goes on display in Cavendish Square incentral London for one year from 10 July 2012. The artwork recreates in soap the original equestrian that sat on a plinth in the square from 1770 to 1868 and was removed in the nineteenth century due to widespread disapproval of his actions at war. The new commission will make use of the Cavendish Square plinth for the first time in 144 years and bring focus to the passage of time as the sculpture weathers through the four seasons that follow.
As the sculpture erodes due to the effects or the weather, specifically rain and snow, the scented soap will disintegrate and release a
perfumed aroma. The details of the statue will soften and fade over time symbolizing the mutable meanings we attached to public
monuments and, in a wider sense, to all aspects of history.
Meekyoung Shin has exhibited internationally and is renowned for recreating replica versions of antiquities in household soap. Initially
trained in Korea in a classical tradition of European sculpture, Shin subsequently moved to London where she became drawn to the
many objects removed from their place of origin and placed in vitrines and on plinths in museums and other art institutions to act as
representatives of other cultures. She began to make copies of the artifacts in soap, an everyday material that has a close resemblance
to marble when moulded but disintegrates as it weathers rapidly, mirroring the effects over generations of time on the original and
ancient sculptures created in seemingly more durable materials.
Cavendish Square is situated north of Oxford Street in London’s busiest shopping district. The square was built in the early 18th century and the plinth in 1770.The original statue in Cavendish Square was The Duke of Cumberland, the third son of King George II. His statue was erected when he enjoyed a brief moment of popularity following his victory over Bonnie Prince Charles and the Jacobites at Culloden in 1746. However, he fell out of favour with the masses when his punitive measures against the uprisings in Scotland earned him the name of ‘Butcher’.
Written in Soap: A Plinth Project
10 July 2012 – 30 June 2013