Being in Trafalgar Square

Being in Trafalgar Square: 10 paintings by James Bones

"A space is something that has been made room for, namely, within a boundary. A boundary is not that at which something stops, but the boundary is that from which something begins, its essential unfolding – comes into presence. Space is the essence for which room has been made, that which is let into its bounds”
Martin Heidegger, Building, Dwelling, Thinking (1951)
Trafalgar Square, although not a square, offers the boundary to the space within which something magical can begin. As the square unfolds itself, offers its unique space, people are transformed. They become new kinds of bodies, new kinds of Beings, let’s say Trafalgar Square Beings. Within the vast metropolis, the square offers itself as a haven, a place other than the city, yet sited at the magnetic centre of the great city, a place in which, above all, you can be yourself, WHERE YOU CAN REVIVIFY YOUR BEING.

The furnishings offer cool relaxing vistas, the fountains sparkle, the azure blue and viridians green of water, contrast with the ochres and naples yellow of the stone work. Strange exotic sea creature spew out foams which stir up the surface of the pool. Great men of the past, and some not so great, stare down from their pedestals at the great opera taking place below. Traffic spins around the periphery, but is denied entry.  The lions lase about just watching the people as the people watch them. It is, of course, a paradise for artists. All the ingredients are there, the water, the smooth stones surrounding the fountains, the imposing National Gallery (how can you not feel a picture coming on), the vast skies, and above all the light. – to be able to combine all the ingredients and on a hot summers day, in August, in a picture, or in a photo, is irresistible. It what cameras were made for, what oil paint yearns to portray.

But there is something even more magical than the furnishings and that’s THE PEOPLE. Whether rushing around children, or super cool youths and laughing girls or tourists enchanted by it all, all expressing their unique identity in their unique encounter with the square which only the square can provide. Their bodies are as grand as anything in baroque painting, arms flailing, running, leaping, or just soaking up the sun. And the sun has an especial liking for the square and blesses it as only the sun can.

This openness to the possibilities of space in the square, and how human beings morph into new kinds of being there, is what never fails to inspire me, and this is the ground of my exhibition.