Thursday, 11 September 2008

Public Art in Wigan - what do you think?

Wigan Council has received a planning application for the installation of a new piece of public art at The Wiend in Wigan town centre.

‘Vertical Face’ by Rick Kirby, a 5.5m high stainless steel sculpture of a face, was the clear favourite of Wigan shoppers, who left positive comments during consultation that took place in July last year.

Funding totalling almost £80,000 was provided by Modus Properties, the developers of the Grand Arcade, as part of an agreement with the council to fund a new major piece of public art.

Rick Kirby is an acclaimed English sculptor, best known for more than 25 striking pieces of public art, including ‘Continuum’ at Alexandra Park Lake in Hastings and ‘Cross the divide’ at South Bank in London.

Speaking of the work, he said: “The face is a play on the many portrait busts of the ‘good and the glorious’ that adorn the parks and centres of every town and city throughout Britain.

“The sculpted portrait is intended to represent not a single celebrity, but all of the inhabitants of the area, the very people of Wigan. These are the people who make that place what it is today, and indeed have the power to determine what will be its future.”

To the rear of the piece, the highly reflective surface of the stainless steel blocks, set at slightly different angles, will form a huge multi-split screen which will mirror fragments of people as well as the surrounding buildings and landscape.

The artist added: “The layered face and hi-tech blocks also represent the process of regeneration, building layer upon layer a more prosperous and positive future for the landscape, economy and ultimately, and most essentially, the people.”

Wigan town centre will be the first port of call for the sculpture, which will make a tour of the borough over the coming years. It is intended that the piece will spend up to 18 months in the town centre, before being moved to another location.

Plans for the proposal are currently being assessed by council planners and can be inspected at the Environmental Services Department in Civic Buildings, New Market Street or online at (application ref A/08/71883). All comments should be made by 28 September


Anonymous said...

Unusually for modern sculpture, I like it!
But at 5.5 metres high (plus plinth?) isn't it a bit too big. Just hope it manages not to be too overbearing in some of the locations it will visit on its tour, and that it doesn't fall victim of the graffiti imbeciles.

Anonymous said...

This is NOT art. This is what's referred to as 'ugly, meaningless art'. These so-called pieces of artwork are popping up all over the country as well as other places around Wigan, one which is a series of metal spikes seen besides the main road near Standishgate; what's that all about?. This artwork represents nothing about Wigan or any other town whatsoever. It is not only meaningless but souless and depressing to look at, which I think is its real purpose, to dumb us down and depress us.