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Cast-iron sculptures likened to ‘sex toys’ will be REMOVED from Suffolk beach

An application to keep four sculptures compared to ‘sex toys’ on an East Suffolk beach has been formally withdrawn following a complaint by the artist Sir Anthony Gormley saying they had been installed at the wrong angle.

Four cast-iron sculptures had been installed on Aldeburgh beach by local art collector Caroline Wiseman last August.

Locals had raised concerns that the 3ft pieces, titled Oval, Peg, Penis and Snowman, looked like sex toys, or even rabbit droppings.

Last week the artist Sir Anthony Gormley raised his own objections, saying they had been installed at the wrong angle and had been incorrectly named.

Ms Wiseman, who has sold the pieces, described Sir Antony’s intervention as ‘controlling’ and ‘small-minded’ 

A planning application to keep the four cast-iron sculptures, which have been compared to sex toys, was withdrawn last Friday

Mrs Wiseman did not think she needed planning consent when she had the sculptures hauled in place on the shingle near a tower on the beach called Southern Lookout, which she uses as a workspace for guest artists.

In February she submitted a retrospective planning application, which saw some supportive locals describe the installation as an ‘asset to the town’.

Following Sir Anthony’s comments last week, East Suffolk Council received notification that the application had been withdrawn.

Filing an objection on behalf of the sculptor, who created the Angel of the North, Bryony McLennan wrote: ‘The artist would like to point out that the Sculptures referred on the title page of the statement were conceived as bollards and commissioned as part of a regeneration project in Peckham, London in 1994. 

A representative for Sir Anthony Gormley, whose works include the Angel of the North, wrote to East Suffolk Council to complain about the installation, saying the pieces had been wrongly titled Quartet (Sleeping), when their actual names are Oval, Peg, Penis and Snowman

A representative for Sir Anthony Gormley, whose works include the Angel of the North, wrote to East Suffolk Council to complain about the installation, saying the pieces had been wrongly titled Quartet (Sleeping), when their actual names are Oval, Peg, Penis and Snowman

Caroline Wiseman, pictured with the four pieces of art that were installed at the wrong angle, has confirmed she will sell them for £5,000 apiece

Caroline Wiseman, pictured with the four pieces of art that were installed at the wrong angle, has confirmed she will sell them for £5,000 apiece

‘Intended as functional pieces of urban design, the bollards were sited on Bellenden Road where they remain to this day. A set of bollards also stands at the entrance to the pathway leading to the Angel of the North site in Gateshead.’

Ms McLennan also revealed that a plaque installed next to the pieces on Aldeburgh beach wrongly titles them Quartet (Sleeping).

She added: ‘The bollards are described as lying horizontally and partially buried within the beach shingle. 

‘In fact, the bollards are designed to stand upright and a ‘fixing root’ is cast into the base of each bollard which turn is installed directly into the ground to allow the work to stand safely. 

‘The change of orientation and configuration of the bollards completely compromises their purpose as a piece of street furniture and the artist’s original intention behind the work.’

SIR ANTHONY GORMLEY: SCULPTOR BEHIND ANGEL OF THE NORTH  

Yorkshire-born Sir Anthony Gormley, 70, has been creating artistic sculptures since the early 1980s, with his first exhibition coming in 1981.

Many of his pieces focus around the human body, and he has regularly used his own body to create metal casts for his work.

His pieces are often displayed on a huge scale. 

In 2006 his work Asian Field was displayed at the Sydney Biennale. The piece was an installation of 180,000 small clay figurines crafted by 350 Chinese villagers.

The following year 31 life-size and anatomically correct casts of his body were displayed around London’s South Bank in a piece he called Event Horizon.

Crosby Beach in Merseyside is home to Another Place – 100 cast iron naked figures modelled on Gormley’s own body. They have been on display since 2005.

His most well-known work is the Angel of the North in Gateshead. 

Standing at 66ft tall, it has a wingspan of 177ft and overlooks the A1 and A167.

Owner Caroline Wiseman has confirmed she will sell the works, weighing 200lb each, for £5,000 apiece. 

‘It’s going to be sad not having them on the beach,’ Ms Wiseman told the East Anglian Daily Times.

Ms Wiseman described Sir Antony’s intervention as ‘controlling’ and ‘small-minded’, adding: ‘If you buy a work of art you’re totally able to do what you want to do with that work of art.’

She has withdrawn her planning application, claiming that the local council would not give planning permission if the artist objected.

Ms Wiseman said that the works sold for a ‘good sum of money’ and said this will be used to refurbish and paint the Lookout tower gallery, which she runs.

‘I wanted them to be here for ever and ever, and I’m very sad that they’ve got to go,’ she said, adding: ‘Artists are going to be making some works on the beach, getting their creative juices going, and they’re going to make some works in retaliation.’

Yorkshire-born Sir Anthony Gormley, 70, has been creating artistic sculptures since the early 1980s, with his first exhibition coming in 1981.

Many of his pieces focus around the human body, and he has regularly used his own body to create metal casts for his work.

Crosby Beach in Merseyside is home to Another Place – 100 cast iron naked figures modelled on Gormley’s own body. They have been on display since 2005.

His most well-known work is the Angel of the North in Gateshead. 

Standing at 66ft tall, it has a wingspan of 177ft and overlooks the A1 and A167.


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