New Chichester sculpture causes a stir

The sculpture being installed outside Chichester Cathedral
The sculpture being installed outside Chichester Cathedral

A NEW art installation outside Chichester Cathedral has caused a stir among Cicestrians who feel it is spoiling the views of the city’s landmark.

The sculpture is part of an initiative to boost visitor numbers by making the city centre more attractive, and interesting.

But its presence on a plinth in West Street had shoppers stopping in their tracks when the privately-funded piece was lifted into place on Monday morning.

Concerns were raised it was spoiling the view of the cathedral, and some simply did not understand it.

Greg Maynard said: “The aesthetic value of the cathedral has been lowered by the addition of this ‘statue’.

“I find it hard to believe there was not a more suitable solution that was more in keeping with the area, for example a tree, or a statue that would be more relevant to the area or the history of the cathedral.

“I personally think a statue of this design would be more suited to a children’s playground, not outside an important local landmark.”

The sculpture, called Lo and Behold, is the work of Giles Penny and will be in place for three months.

It was brought about by the Chichester City Centre Partnership.

The partnership is behind the Business Improvement District (BID) campaign which would involve businesses paying a small fee each year to be pooled together to fund improvements in the city centre like art installations.

Chairman of the City Centre Partnership Andrew Finnamore said: “The sculpture represents a spirit of partnership.”

Mr Penny was happy to see his work put in place.

“The installation can be a bit of a worry, but once it’s all done and the lorries are gone, the sculpture exists in its own right,” he said.

Tom Robinson was not keen on the idea.

“I’m not an artist, but I can’t see much art about that,” he said.

Aliza Rose likes it, but does not think it is in the right place.

“Usually I’m not crazy about modern sculpture, but when I saw this I thought it was okay,” she said.

“I have seen worse, but it’s not the right place for it.”

Joyce Wright was firmly against it. “I don’t think it’s in keeping with the cathedral,” she said. “I don’t regard that as art.”

A second sculpture is set to go up in the city next month, and this time it will be inside the cathedral.

An artist from America has been working on a huge sculptural work which is set to go on exhibition in October.

Carrie Fertig’s massive 25ft flame-worked glass dove wings are expected to be come a star attraction for several months in the building’s North Transept.

The artist in residence’s highly-unusual work consists of around 300 glass feathers which are set to prove a centrepiece attraction for the cathedral.