Monday, May 11, 2009

Dun Laoghaire Sculpture

Public sculpture, especially if it is not a "statue" is sure to upset a number of people. Thankfully we have seen a great increase in the number of public sculpture around the country many, also thankfully, the causes of controversy. If no-one objects then there must be something wrong - public art should be controversial.

The Gateway sculpture in steel by Michael Warren at Dun Laoghaire has been removed at least for a time. There are those who would not like it returned. Anyone who attended the Dun Laoghaire Poetry Now Festival has seen the work and Poetry Ireland used it on the cover of their recent issue which featured some of the Dun Laoghaire poetry performers.


Padhraig Nolan said...

It's a shame it came down to removal, but I think the piece never really had a chance. I see it as a victim of planning processes where required culture elements are treated as necessary evils by developers, becoming compromised as commercial aspects of developments are given increased priority. Example being the Bodega bar and restaurant (formerly the Forty Foot) at the same location - now closed due to the Thomas Read Group's recessionary woes. Originally pitched as the hospitality area of the adjoining public theatre complex, then developed as a seperate commercial enterprise - the result was to hobble both the viability of the theatre and, it now turns out, the bar and restaurant too.

Similarly, the Warren piece always felt 'squeezed' within a civic development prioritising private investment?

Hopefully it will be relocated to a more open and complementary environment -perhaps Newtownsmith? There it would be in the fine company of Rachel Joynt's 'shell' sculpture. If it were to replace the ill-proportioned 'archer' there, I'd consider that a double whammy!

Failing that, perhaps a suitable site could be identified at either Cabinteely or Marley park or the park by Monkstown station - where the local architecture displays appropriate characteristics, but with the advantage of scale and space. It would be a shame if it winds up under a tarp in some council depot.

BTW, thanks for the recent steer to Naughton's bookshop. I've passed it many times, a bit intimidated by it's 'antiquarian' rep (not having an antiquarian-book-friendly budget). I popped in recently and it's my new favourite find!

Peter Goulding said...

In Lanzarote, they have public sculptures on many roundabouts and its really fantastic to see.
The problem is that if you try that here, they'll soon become daubed with "IRA" or "Man U are scum"

Rossa Hurley said...

As a local person and graduate of art history feel that the removal of Gateway leaves a terrible void at the Pavillion. As the sculpture was part of the overall development surely it was approved by the powers that be. As to those who do not care for the piece, well they are entitled to do so. That said however if everyone were to take such an approach society was rapidly decline into a chaotic status. Given the fact that the man objection is coming from one of those in power, perhaps they should rethink their decision in reflection of this. The fact that we dont all have our own way in life an imporatnt lesson, as is the abilty to engage with public art and assess it by our own aesthetics not that of others.