Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Sculpture may not be returned to walkway

A CONTROVERSIAL sculpture in Dún Laoghaire that was removed to accommodate upgrade work in the south Dublin harbour town may never return if some local councillors have their way.

The Gateway sculpture, by Wexford artist Michael Warren, was removed by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and put into storage to facilitate a new walkways scheme for the “metals” area, close to Dún Laoghaire Dart station.

The 20ft-tall, eight-tonne, Corten steel sculpture was installed in 2003 at the Pavilion Plaza, close to the Victoria Fountain and the county hall.

It was the subject of much debate in 2005 in the council chamber – and also in the letters page of The Irish Times – when councillors attempted to have it removed.

A motion to relocate the structure was shelved after Warren, an Aosdána member, visited the council chamber and explained the meaning behind the piece. But complaints about the art work rumbled on.

Provision has been made for the sculpture within the new walkway scheme, due to be completed next January, the council said, but its ultimate location will be a decision for the councillors.

Fine Gael councillor Mary Mitchell-O’Connor said there would be few tears shed for the loss of the sculpture.

“Given its prominence within a key public realm in Dún Laoghaire, the choice of Corten steel for the sculpture was a curious one, creating a sense of decay and contrasting sharply with the town’s rich Venetian architecture.”

Irish Times


1 comment:

B. B. said...

No loss. Your piece makes it sound as if it was only the Councillors who didn't like the artwork. It was almost universally despised and became a target for grafitti artists. Cleaning the sculpture costs a great deal considering it's special steel and has to be done over the course of days rather than hours. I think the sculpture gives the impression of contrived decay - there is little convincing about it's decrepitute and it just looks like another symptom of our profligacy in recent times.

High-brow public art must be accessible to individuals, who are the ultimate consumers of such art. Otherwise it will generate at best, apathy. A similiar controversy is brewing in Belfast with the impending Magic Jug sculpture. I can see the grafitti artists rubbing their hands.