Sat. Apr 13th, 2024
alert-–-controversial-19,500-publicly-funded-golden-cone-art-installation-once-likened-to-‘madonna’s-bra’-takes-dark-turn-after-entire-exhibit-turns-black-from-the-bad-weatherAlert – Controversial £19,500 publicly funded golden cone art installation once likened to ‘Madonna’s bra’ takes dark turn after entire exhibit turns black from the bad weather

Locals have slammed a £19,500 publicly funded art installation of spinning golden cones after they all turned black less than a year after being unveiled as it is revealed the council didn’t have planning permission for them in the first place.

When first unveiled in the market town of Farnham, Surrey, in April last year the sculptures baffled locals who likened them to ‘Madonna’s bra’, a ‘Dalek scrapyard’ and ‘giant dunce hats’.

The project, which involved Farnham Town Council, the University for the Creative Arts, the Farnham Maltings arts centre and the Farnham Public Art Trust, was conceived in 2020.

The university-funded 8ft tall ‘kinetic’ sculptures were said to symbolise ‘the enduring role of hands in craft for thousands of years’ and were introduced as as a ‘sensory, tactile, and interactive sculptural installation’.

'A Hand's Turn' when it was first revealed in April last year
'A Hand's Turn' almost a year later after the brass has discoloured
Slide me

The art installation – entitled ‘A Hand’s Turn’ – when it was first unveiled in April last year compared to how it looks now

The interactive spinning golden cones were designed by artists Natalie Bradwell and Livia Spinolo who say that discolouring was 'totally deliberate'

The interactive spinning golden cones were designed by artists Natalie Bradwell and Livia Spinolo who say that discolouring was ‘totally deliberate’ 

Ms Bradwell said she hoped that they would age and develop a patina over time as people played with them and that this was part of their pitch

Ms Bradwell said she hoped that they would age and develop a patina over time as people played with them and that this was part of their pitch

A plaque alongside the cones encourages viewers to ‘touch me, spin me, enjoy me, but do not climb me’.

But now residents are complaining that they have burned people’s hands in hot weather, created a ‘thunderous cacophony of sound’ for neighbours and now turned ‘grey and ugly’.

The once shiny brass artwork has weathered over the last year meaning they now resemble ‘black dented cones’.

Although according to the artists, Natalie Bradwell and Livia Spinolo, this effect was ‘totally deliberate’ but locals think the tarnishing has made them an ‘eyesore’ that has ruined a beautiful green space.

A row erupted after it emerged that, despite being a council-approved project, the artwork – entitled ‘A Hand’s Turn’ – did not have planning permission.

Earlier this month, Farnham Town Clerk Iain Lynch applied for retrospective planning permission for the ‘sculptures on grassed area’.

But angry locals are appalled that permission for the ‘ugly’ cones was not sought before their installation, branding them ‘undemocratic’ and calling for them to be ‘chucked in the bin’.

Residents have unfavourably compared the sculptures to a famous bra designed by Jean Paul Gaultier and worn by pop icon Madonna

Residents have unfavourably compared the sculptures to a famous bra designed by Jean Paul Gaultier and worn by pop icon Madonna

Some said they thought it looked like giant dunce caps (pictured)

Others said it reminded them of Daleks (pictured) from Doctor Who

Others have compared them to dunce caps worn by naughty children (left) and Doctor Who villains the Daleks (right)

Writing an objection on the Waverley Borough Council website, resident Penny Marshall said: ‘It is appalling that planning permission was not sought by the organisers before installation.

‘No consideration was given to neighbouring residents who have to look at this eyesore every day, not just when passing by like the rest of us.

‘They have ruined what was a pretty green area with flower beds, they have attracted vandals and are now damaged, they have caused noise for neighbours by people banging them, people were encouraged to interact with them and have burnt their hands in hot weather and the cones are now grey, dull and even more ugly than they already were.

‘Such a waste of £19,500.’

Another local, Haydn Owens, objected to the permission and said the sculpture ‘looks terrible’.

He added: ‘I absolutely hated seeing this “art” when it was installed.

‘It was never installed under public consultation and I believe, like so many others, that it was a huge waste of public money or something that the public didn’t want or need.

‘This area would look so much better if it were removed and returned back to the wild flowers.

‘Perhaps move them to Farnham Park or chuck them in the bin.’

Christi Daugherty, a bestselling author who lives in the area, also wrote an objection.

The novelist said: ‘It has been in place for a year or so now, and it has already decayed to an extraordinary degree.

‘The gilding has washed away, and various pieces are battered and damaged. The installation has not been maintained, and there’s no indication that it will be maintained.

‘The art has had the unintended effect of making the area less attractive.’

Another neighbour, Jenny Barratt, said: ‘People of all ages regularly bang the cones creating a thunderous cacophony of sound that emanates as they bang one after another, and another, and another.’

One of the artists behind the controversial cones Natalie Bradwell, 39, said she ‘didn’t know’ the council hadn’t applied for permission, adding: ‘I assumed it had planning.’

The university-funded 8ft tall 'kinetic' sculptures were said to symbolise 'the enduring role of hands in craft for thousands of years'

The university-funded 8ft tall ‘kinetic’ sculptures were said to symbolise ‘the enduring role of hands in craft for thousands of years’

They were introduced in April last year as as a 'sensory, tactile, and interactive sculptural installation'

They were introduced in April last year as as a ‘sensory, tactile, and interactive sculptural installation’

The once shiny brass artwork has weathered over the last year meaning they now resemble 'black dented cones'

The once shiny brass artwork has weathered over the last year meaning they now resemble ‘black dented cones’

Ms Bradwell said the cones were made of an internal steel structure and covered in sheets of brass.

Discussing the change of colour, she said she expected them to darken in colour and it ‘was totally deliberate’.

She added: ‘That was a big part of the process when I pitched the idea. I said as time goes on, they are going to get a patina, so they aged.

‘It’s the best option, to allow the metal to do its thing.

‘One thing that we were hoping would happen is where people play with the cones, that over time that would also show.’

The artist added: ‘They are dismantle-able.

‘Very, very, worst case scenario… if they have to come out then they have to come out. I said to a resident, worst case scenario then they can come out.’

But, not all locals are opposed to the artwork.

Jenny James said: ‘I like this art installation. My children enjoy interacting with it whenever they walk past.’

Georgeen Hamming from Colchester, Essex, visited Farnham for a ‘short break’ with her husband and said she thought the sculptures were ‘a bit of fun’ and ‘something that catches your eye’.

The 72 year old said: ‘I think it’s quite an interesting thing to have there.

‘I think it sort of fits in with the area, the maltings is quite modern and there’s quite a lot going on there.

‘I’m not local so for me, it’s just a bit of fun but I can understand why people who live locally may be a bit fed up with it.’

It is expected that a decision will be made on the cones in May of this year.

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