This Public Art Smells
Tiffany Jow

The bronze sculpture of the Duke of Cumberland, once mounted in London’s tranquil Cavendish Square, is returning to its plinth—except this time it’s made out of soap. Curator Kyung An commissioned artist Meekyoung Shin to render the piece, which will soften, froth, and slowly disintegrate in the rain and snow over the year it’ll be on view. Titled Written in Soap, A Plinth Project, the work aims to lure visitors from the shopping bustle of Oxford Street with its fragrant aroma, which the equestrian statue will emit when in contact with water.

South Korea-born Shin has made a name for herself by carving replicas of antiques from household soap. Her ongoing Translation project, which she began in 1996 upon relocating to London, consists of vases, buddahs, even casts of her own body, all rendered in soap. Fragile and malleable, her works offer a transient take on images of changelessness.

Meekyoung Shin’s Written in Soap, A Plinth Project will be on view from July 10.