“Circle of Friendship” & “Exuberance”

Most people don’t pay much attention to the statues they see. The commemorations are passed by and almost never read. Not for everyone though. I am constantly drawn to these works of art where ever I go and today was no exception. While visiting Barnet Park in Spartanburg I came across two very unusual pieces.

The first, called Exuberance, is one of the most disturbing I have ever seen. Not that it is inappropriate in any way or in poor taste. It is far more subtle and eerie in its nature. Exuberance is the state of being full of energy and cheerfulness. This can be easily seen in the statue from the gay nature of the subject. A young woman with arms flung wide running joyfully through life. The motion is reminiscent of The Fool, one of the Trump cards in the Major Arcana.

None of that is what I find so disturbing. It is the apparent contortionist way in which the body is positioned. Suggesting more seizure than ecstasy. If that isn’t enough, the facial expression given furthers my conviction. Something feels wrong. It is unnatural and I’m left uncertain as to the artist meaning. Perhaps Exuberance, supreme excitement, is to be out of control.

The Circle of Friendship is another work featured at the park that is almost equally as unsettling. It features children running in an incomplete circle. One of the children is missing. That child is you. You are not where you’re supposed to be, inside the circle of friendship. Of course, you can hold the statue’s hands and complete the circle. Many children do this and it makes for a somewhat creepy photograph.


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