It looks like an art installation. 1,600 papier mâché pandas milling about at the foot of Eiffel Tower. Some staring up at the tower, curious. Others with an eye out for a bit of bamboo. Herded in the long Autumn sunshine. It has the uniformity of pop art. Reminiscent of Antony Gormleys Field.
It should be art, but it isnt. Or is it?
It first appears that there are loads of them. Black and white with pot bellies. Until you realize that what you see in one glance represents the entire population of giant pandas living wild in the world. Its as if the village where I live were it for the human species (a worrying thought). The rest of the earth empty.
The display is a publicity campaign by the French wing of the World Wide Fund For Nature. They set up the pandas with each appearing in Paris in place of a living panda from the wild. Its impressive. Both aesthetically and as a message. Consequently as art it succeeds for me where My Bed by Tracey Emin and avant garde charlatan Damien Hirsts preserved Tiger Shark failed dismally.
I recently adopted a tiger. Malu Pothi. Im not sure how far my £3 a month goes towards Malus upkeep, but Ill give it a go. Looking at that dwindling mob in Paris, I think I need to help out a panda as well.