Several steps further down I see that the girl has a twin, a sister who chose a more protected spot beneath a tree and who still has all her members. She has a hand over her eyes, looking out towards the trains that never arrive. How long have these girls been waiting here through cold winter days and nights, twisting and spinning and arched at painful angles?
We are used to seeing art in pristine condition, protected from heat and light and restored back to its original state, but should art not also have a natural lifespan? How can something be said to live if it cannot die? Here in a natural environment, these sculptures have gone from perfect, white sun-touched shapes in summer to ghostly almost lifeless forms in winter, but it is now that their true message can be understood.
Alongside, steel tracks are frozen into silence. These lines were put into place in 1854, a monumental effort that involved the digging out of long strips of cuttings and the construction of hundreds of metres of tunnels. This line, which is coiled around the city like the girls' hoops, was initially successful but was rapidly rendered obsolete by the arrival of the bus, the Metro and the motor car. In 1930 it was found to represent only 1% of all passenger transport in the city and was swiftly shut down.
The line remains in place, absurdly maintained and ready to resume service, but this would be an expensive solution and of use to nobody. The original stations have been sold, and today house upmarket bars and restaurants, whilst offices and hotels (the Mama Shelter, pictured above) use the decor as a backdrop of fashionable industrial bohemia.
The girls and the train track continue their silent spirals, waiting for the revolution that will take them back to the past. If both were restored back to their original condition, would either be as beautiful as they are today? Sometimes we should just let things die so that they can finally begin to live again.