Statue moves!
24th March 2014
... Comments

The City of Bath College's gain is our loss. Workmen are busy installing this Bath stone plinth-based statue by sculpture Ben Dearnsley at its new home in front of their Macaulay Building in James Street West.

I am not happy and neither is the artist who made it to be sited in what he had hoped would be a prominent position as a  lasting legacy to the fantastic celebrations we saw throughout the UK during the London-based Olympics.

Ben liked the spot at the entrance to Southgate because people could walk all around the torso to 'read' the work. The front part - a take on the classical fragments of early Greek Olympian sculptures - which faced the old part of the city and the Roman Baths.

The rear faced the modern city and is hollowed out like a cave to illustrate the focus an athlete must have to become the best in the world.

Natural sunlight in that position - said Ben - illuminated the swimmer in a 'watery glow'.

Great in theory but seems temporary planning permission has more than expired and the torso has been re-located to the City of Bath College whose stone mason students had made its plinth.

B&NES were arguing the artwork would still be highly visible  but l could not agree when taking a picture of its new position. Apart from anything else there is now a wall between the puiblic and the art!

Public art is what Bath has very little of. The torso was a humanising focal point for those going shopping at Southgate. The buskers loved playng in its shadow and l wonder how many  romantic meetings were arranged beneath that muscular chest!

On a more serious note. Southgate is clean and efficiently run but it is barren of anything other than commercial cliffs of Bath stone and names over shop windows.

A couple of trees have taken root but most of the public space is occupied by shoppers or people flogging cars or newspapers.

The torso was a step in the right direction in terms of  bringing art to the streets. We want more and prominently placed too! Let's see if the private company operating Southgate can produce something special from the bag. 

This city of water could do with more fountains. There is room for one in the middle of this many aisled shopping cathedral. Come on Bath. You can do better.


About the Author

richard w

Member since: 4th February 2014

Ex television and radio presenter and now Director of The Virtual Museum of Bath - - an on-line daily record embracing all developments in the history and heritage of the city...

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