It's perhaps hard to associate sculpture with Ordnance Survey maps before seeing an example of Simon English’s work.
He firmly believes that art is about communication, not merely ‘things.’ He also stated that ‘when people are young, they don’t think, they just do.’ These are two of the reasons this conceptual artist/sculptor began his 1971 project. He planned to take a journey, marking his route onto a map into the shape of the word ‘England’ – placing little flags in each pointed destination as he came to them.
Last year, he began the project ‘England Revisited,’ taking the same route and photographing himself in the same places he had done forty years ago. The scenery wasn’t the only thing to have changed very little; he revisited an address he’d been to on the original journey, to discover the same man living there. The man was now in his nineties and remembered Simon clearly.
As somebody who is awful with a paintbrush and has trouble even navigating the way to the local shops, I found myself quite in awe of the project, not least for the exciting journey described. It is an intriguing piece of conceptual art – the thought that a creative project could come to life after beginning as little marks on a map was fascinating to me.
Reviews and comment from the Demon Crew - creative writers at De Montfort University, Leicester.