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Helter-skelter and standing wave

Maquettes of the two sculptures shortlisted from seven internationally known artists’ works for Pelham Roundabout have been unveiled. HOT reporter Lauris Morgan-Griffiths went along to take a look.

The various artists for the project, which is sponsoredby the Fairlight Arts Trust, were suggested by the judges. There was no specific brief, only the request that the artists respond to Hastings and the roundabout location.

Standing Wave Saint Clair Cemin

Standing Wave by Saint Clair Cemin.

Brazilian-born Saint Clair Cemin has produced a standing wave that looks like a wave and a dolphin and is reminiscent of a sand sculpture. In the leaflet he explains: “In physics a standing wave is a wave that remains in a constant position, where two forces meet as equals and immobilise each other.” Saint Clair Cemin was not  present since his work is being exhibited at the International Armoury Show in New York.

Helter Skelter Henry Krokatsis

Helter Skelter Henry Krokatsis

Henry Krokatsis’ work is a helter-skelter cum lighthouse. His description is more prosaic. “The juxtaposition of an helter-skelter and a lighthouse echoes the area’s fairground and seafaring history. The unique surface will allow the constantly changing light to be reflected.” The work has a certain cheekiness and humour about it, and could look resplendent, an aluminium structure standing over 12 metres high, the upper section highly polished to reflect the light.

Henry has visited Hastings several times – his colleague Joe, who helps build his projects, lives here – and became really interested in the melting pot which is Hastings, and in particular in the America Ground – the storm that created it, the anarchy of its conception and its makeshift construction. So the aluminium structure will have a wooden imprint and will not look like a pristine, mechanically constructed-looking edifice but one that has evolved in the haphazard spirit of the America Ground.

The dreaded words  ‘health and safety’ were murmured at the press show about the height of the sculpture and the possibility of people climbing it.  It would be a shame if a decision was made on that basis rather than aesthetic sensibilities.

Artist and judge Gavin Turk, who attended the press launch, said that certain practicalities were involved in the judging – how it was going to work, how it would wear over time, what would be its legacy.  His preference seemed to be the helter-skelter. “I like the fact that it looks out of place, rather like the boat outside the station, it looks  as if it has just landed there.  I like that reference and I enjoy the humour of that.”

Jeremy Birch spoke about this project joining the cultural beacon that Hastings is becoming – with the Jerwood Gallery, this new sculpture, the – hopefully – reinvigorated St Mary-in-the-Castle, the reconstructed pier and on towards Bexhill’s De La Warr Pavilion.  With that in mind, he announced that the council was going to prepare a bid for the City of Culture 2017 – to demonstrate Hastings’ art aspirations.

Exhibitions will be held in the town on Friday 8 March at Pelham car park by the roundabout, on Saturday 9 March in the town centre and on Sunday 10 March at The Stade Open Space, Old Town. Locals can stamp their preferred entry onto a label and add their comments, giving them  an opportunity to win a meal for four at the Italian Way Restaurant which stands beside the roundabout.

The project is very much in line with David and Sarah Kowitz’s aims when they founded the Fairlight Arts Trust; their ambition is to raise the profile of Hastings as a centre for internationally acclaimed public art.

Posted 11:44 Wednesday, Mar 6, 2013 In: Arts News

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