30,000 Bananas Dumped Outside The National Gallery

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 05 October 2004
Shows a photo of a big pile of bananas in front of the stone pillars of the National Gallery.

It's not something you see everyday. Photo: Jon Pratty. © 24 Hour Museum.

Think Trafalgar Square. What have you got? Pigeons? Tourists? Nelson? What about 30,000 bananas?

No? Well for a few hours on October 5, that’s just what you would have seen had you wandered through one of London’s most visited landmarks.

At 09.00 artist Doug Fishbone unveiled his sculpture 30,000 Bananas in front of the National Gallery; a piece of work that can only be described as a heap of bananas.

Shows a photograph of thousands of bananas.

Photo: Jon Pratty. © 24 Hour Museum.

But this isn’t the first case of Doug depositing thousands of bananas in a public place. The Beck’s Futures winning artist installed an early version of his outdoor sculpture in New York in 2002, to considerable press coverage.

According to Doug, the plan for Trafalgar Square was to reach for the sky: "This time round we went for height," he told the 24 Hour Museum, "inside this shape is a wooden former to give it height."

This was Doug’s second attempt at creating his banana sculpture in London after he tried installing a smaller version (10,000 bananas) in the east-end earlier this year.

The property company that owns the land pulled out at the last minute, much to the disappointment of the Evening Standard newspaper which mourned the loss of a "cutting edge, fruit-based masterpiece".

Shows a photograph of four boys standing in front of a heap of thousands of bananas.

The event caused quite a stir among bemused tourists. Photo: Jon Pratty. © 24 Hour Museum.

Indeed, you might think that the custodian of Doug’s latest choice of site might have declined his offer to dump thousands of bananas on it, but the event had Ken’s full backing.

Martin Green, Cultural Programming Officer for the Mayor’s Office (that funded the event) explained how the sculpture brought a nice slice of variety into Londoner’s lives.

"I would say it’s about changing the nature of your relationship with the space you live in everyday," said Martin.

Shows a photograph of artist Doug Fishbone peeling a banana in front of a heap of bananas.

"This time round we went for height," - artist Doug Fishbone. Photo: Jon Pratty. © 24 Hour Museum.

Sadly, the sculpture is not a permanent fixture and visitors to the square were invited to take the fruit away from 15.00 onwards.

"By the end of the day, it will be gone," Martin explained. "We’ll give them all away, they’ll end up in people’s homes."

Doug’s ambitious creation is part of a wider project curated by Tom Morton and Catherine Patha. Man in the Holocene aims to explore the idea of the future through a unique sequence of inter-related exhibitions and events and runs for one year.

Tom Morton explained: "It’s about public sculptures – the grey, old bronzes we see around us in Trafalgar Square, rooted in the tradition of empire and old military campaigns."

Shows a photograph of a view across Trafalgar Square to the National Gallery. People are milling about in front of steps that lead up to the National Gallery, on top of which there is heap of bananas.

An appropriate addition to the hallowed steps leading up to the National Gallery. Photo: Jon Pratty. © 24 Hour Museum.

"It’s about the future, about what public sculpture could be about in the future. It’s a pure visual spectacle, in this place it’s a big surprise."

Fourth plinth anyone? Anyone?

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