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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 September 2006, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
Artist lies down in city street
Mark McGowan's Dead Soldier
Mark McGowan will lie in the street for 10-hour stretches
An artist is preparing to lie down for a week in the middle of a high street in Birmingham dressed as a soldier in a piece of public art about conflict.

The piece called Dead Solider will see Mark McGowan lie curled up in a ball in New Street for 10 hours each day, dressed in full army uniform.

The artist, from Peckham, south London, said the work aimed to raise questions about the horrific nature of conflict.

The performance and an exhibition has gained 4,000 of public funding.

Earlier the artist put on an hour-long preview of the piece before the performance from 14-20 November.

Horrific conflict

In the piece of so-called endurance art, he will lie still in the pedestrianised street, in the centre of Birmingham's shopping area, for 10-hour stretches each day, not taking any breaks for food or water.

"It's a comment on things that are happening in the world at the moment. It's not anti-war or pro-military but my response to things that are happening as an artist.

"It's about the reality of the soldier, we see an image of them on TV but the reality is that it's horrific sometimes.

"Hopefully the performance will make people think, they'll come in and out of offices and shops and I'll still be there."

Value for money

The piece is in conjunction with a month-long retrospective of his work at the International Project Space (IPS) at the Bournville campus of the University of Central England, which has been given 4,000 of funding from the university and the Arts Council.

Mr McGowan's previous work includes rolling on his side for four miles in central London in December 2002 to ask people to be "nice" at Christmas.

Curator of the IPS, Andrew Hunt, who commissioned the work, said: "I think it is worth spending public money to prompt people to think about these issues.

"It's very good value for money for a month-long exhibition and the new performance and we'll get a lot of visitors both locally and nationally."




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