Thursday, May 11, 2006

Any Old Iron

Call me a philistine if you like, but I'm rather pissed off, at the moment, about York University's propensity to place ugly, twisted hulks of rust-coloured metal on otherwise attractive stretches of grassy, tree-covered land. These monstrosities are, apparently, sculptures. Now, I rather like to see artwork on display in public spaces and I'm certainly not the sort of person who thinks that only portraits, realist landscape paintings and busts of famous figures are properly considered works of art. I do, however, prefer to see patches of green, sub-woodland type land, without huge lumps of iron dumped in the middle of them. Call me old-fashioned.

On my way to my place of work today, I saw that a rather pleasant grassy, flower-covered little hill where the geese like to sit in the evenings is now covered in scaffolding poles and mechanical pulleys of some sort and I have an awful feeling that the university authorities have decided that what this pretty hill really needs is another sculpture resembling the innards of some kind of smashed-up, burnt-out, monster-truck.

My pet hate, at the moment, is a sculpture called 'Beyond and Within' which sits smack in the middle of a lawn outside one of the colleges. To call it 'imposing' would be something of an understatement. If you want to see pictures of it you can find some here (scroll down). It looks like a cross between a massive ear-trumpet and a jumbo jet engine - in fact, one could be forgiven for thinking, on approaching this college for the first time, that an overflying Boeing 747 must have shed one of its engines over the building, Donnie Darko style.

Forgive me if I sneer a little here, but the university describe the sculpture thus: 'It makes an excellent, and dramatic piece outside the main building, evoking movement, space and light'.

No it doesn't. It is a huge rust-coloured piece of scrap metal sitting on an otherwise pleasant little lawn. Why can't people just leave patches of greenery alone?

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