• Her

    Ben Long: Lion Scaffolding Sculpture (detail)

Art

Ben Long's brilliant scaffolding lion is mane attraction in London park

Posted by Rob Alderson,

For a country whose most dangerous animal is a big squirrel, the UK has long had a place in its heart for the lion. Part of our heraldic history, it has continued to capture our imaginations and one of the most impressive Cultural Olympiad commissions was surely Shauna Richardson’s massive crochet lions that toured the land. More static but equally as eye-catching is Ben Long’s new scaffold lion for the grounds of Bruce Castle in Tottenham, north east London.

Standing over ten metres tall it’s a feat of fusion, between art and engineering, robust material and surprisingly delicate overall effect and it’s the eight in this ongoing series of works.

“I’ve always loved Landseer’s lions in Trafalgar Square but I suppose what I am offering is an alternative to stone or bronze monuments – Scaffolding Sculptures reflect the change and evolution that the urban environment is constantly subjected to,” Ben said.

“Scaffolding is a modular and adaptable system, and so too are my sculptures. If you view each sculpture that I have made chronologically, you can see the progression and how with each stage I get a little better at mastering this unconventional medium. This is an important idea to me – that the value of continual development is more crucial than any one complete artwork."

  • Ben_long_lion_scaffolding_sculpture

    Ben Long: Lion Scaffolding Sculpture

Ben explains the process has two distinct phases, and that the success or otherwise of the final piece all comes down to preparation.

“Planning for each Scaffolding Sculpture takes about six months. I start by creating scale models in the studio and then I work with a structural engineer who helps me make adjustments and improvements to the design.

“The model for the lion was five months in development, yet it took only three weeks for me and my team of two to construct at full scale. The project is really all about preparation and planning and there are very few creative decisions made at the construction stage. All that has been taken care of in the studio. The final few weeks are just about pure scaffolding and hard graft."

The sculpture is part of Haringey’s PARK ART project commissioned by Up Projects
and alongside the work on display there will be a series of events, including a talk by Ben on September 5.

  • Ben_long_lion_scaffolding_sculpture_int1

    Ben Long: Lion Scaffolding Sculpture

  • Ben_long_lion_scaffolding_sculpture_int_image2

    Ben Long: Lion Scaffolding Sculpture

  • Ben_long_lion_scaffolding_sculpture_int2

    Ben Long: Lion Scaffolding Sculpture

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. List

    Head down to Southwark Street just south of the River Thames, and you’ll find Alex Chinneck’s large-scale project, A pound of flesh for 50p. Starting as a life-size two-storey house made out of 8,000 wax bricks, the sculpture will eventually be a mess of rooftop and melted wax come mid-November.

  2. List

    Several artists have attempted to respond to the nude photo scandal, in which private photographs of a number of celebrities were hacked from Apple’s iCloud software and leaked on sites like 4chan and Reddit earlier this year, but few have had any success in harnessing the sense of shock and the eery echo of “have you seen them?” which rippled through the internet in the aftermath.

  3. List-willy

    Writing is rarely a chore. However, sometimes you find yourself working on a piece that reaffirms why internships spent schlepping round Covent Garden in the pissing rain on breakfast compote runs, and hours practising writing “multi-storey carpark” in shorthand are more than worth the irritation.

  4. List

    I don’t care how nice the wallpaper or the lampshades may be, there’s something creepy about the stereotypical American motel featured in films, novels and plays. As if expressly to prove my point, artist Airco Caravan created a series called Crime Scene in which she paints the rooms that have previously played host to murders, suicides and accidental deaths.

  5. List

    Swedish creative Henrik Franklin is a designer, illustrator and animator with two of the world’s leading design schools (Konstfack in Sweden and Rhode Island School of Design) sparkling on his CV. Invited to showcase his considerable talents in Anna Lidberg’s Gallery 1:10 – “the miniature gallery for contemporary art” – Henrik produced a table of tiny tomes and the attention-to-detail on each cover design is really impressive.

  6. Main

    Victoria Siddall has worked at Frieze for just over a decade and two years ago was made Director of Frieze Masters. Excitingly, just a few weeks ago she was appointed Director of Frieze Masters, Frieze New York and Frieze London. As well as being one of the most powerful women in the art world, Victoria is also my sister, so I was curious to find out how she’s feeling on the dawn of her new career.

  7. List

    The Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern has an incredible presence when it’s void of installations, which is what’s so wonderful about the huge enclosed space. As much as I admire the vast emptiness though, it’s even more exciting when a piece of work is placed in the hall and interrupts the vacuum. Opening today, American sculptor Richard Tuttle is the latest commissioned artist to show his work in the space and his 24ft sculpture certainly makes an impact.

  8. Main2

    I came across the work of Matthias Geisler over on Booooooom the other day and was reminded that we hadn’t posted something like this in a while. Matthias’ work is a swirling blend of spirits and creatures that are created with meticulous use of pencil crayons and water-colours. Is it me or are watercolours real in at the moment? All the cool kids seem to be using them.

  9. 8

    A kind of magic happens when Seth Armstrong puts brush to canvas. Having only been familiar with his work for the Mr Porter Journal, I became instantly bewitched by his paintings when clicking through his website.

  10. List

    Whatever the some naysayers may claim there is an art to collage and not everyone can do it, despite how good you think your teenage collages of cut-out red lips, Leonardo DiCaprio and puppies were. Anthony Zinonos is the perfect example of this, having featured on the site previously he’s updated his portfolio with some really cool bits and bobs.

  11. List

    There’s something very fun and raw about Jessica Hans’ vases and her approach to ceramics in general. Based in Philadelphia, she’s had a longstanding interest in foraging and raw materials since university; this has carried over into her ceramics work, which in the past has seen her driving to clay sites, digging her materials out of the ground and then firing them in their original state to see what would happen.

  12. Listt

    “To be an artist and for anyone to care vaguely about what you do is a great thing,” says street artist Moose in this fascinating new Nissan campaign, but his work is more important than most. As the inventor of reverse graffiti – whereby he uses a high-powered pressure washer to stencil imagery in the dirt that accumulates in our cities – Moose’s work asks questions about our attitudes to pollution in a very creative way.

  13. List

    To stare into a Danny Fox painting is like waking up in a world written by Charles Bukowski on a particularly heavy bender. There’s sex and drinking and guns, plus boxers and strippers and cowboys; here a horse, there a tiger. It’s intense and unnerving and exciting, but although there’s something very contemporary about Danny’s paintings, his rise to prominence owes a great deal to the support of a more well-established artist (an age-old route for up-and-coming artistic stars).