The Meeting Place (detail) by Paul Day
POV shot by Stephen Alexander
Whilst I wouldn't say I'm a fan, I certainly admire much of Antony Gormley's sculptural work and share many of his criticisms and concerns to do with public art.
I think he's right, for example, to argue that many pieces unimaginatively plonked down in our airports, stations, and city centres lack ambition or challenge and fail to address the question of what role statues might play in the 21st century.
However, I'm disappointed to discover that he seems to particularly despise Paul Day's giant brass figure of two lovers embracing at St Pancras International Station, as I quite like it. The Meeting Place might be crude and ill-proportioned - might, in a word used by Gormley, even be described as crap - but it can still excite fetishistically, even if it fails aesthetically.
For not only does the female figure have very lovely calves and ankles, given emphasis by her high-heeled shoes and tip-toe posture, but she also invites an upskirt peek (although, alas, there's nothing to see).
And then there's the fact that she's thirty-feet tall, which surely brings out the macrophile in many a man. I don't know why it is that giant women - or, more precisely, the thought of being crushed beneath their feet - is so ingrained within the pornographic imagination, but so it is and Day's sculpture obscenely exploits this fact (whether or not he consciously intended to do so).
So, to conclude, we might say this: that whilst The Angel of the North artistically intrigues as an erection, it doesn't solicit an erection; it makes one wonder, but it doesn't make one want to perv.