Monday, 24 April 2017

We've Eaten In Eaton, And Wondered if Gormley Is Gormless

After Church yesterday, we drove in into Norwich. We had a lovely stroll through beautiful Eaton Park , getting on for a hundred years old now, but still bringing joy to Norwich families. In the centre is an amazing rotunda with a circular bandstand.
I stood in the centre and took photos in four directions [including one of Bob photographing me!]
In one of the four sections is a café. It is very hipster. Last year the Council put the running of the cafe out to tender and the Bicycle Shop in St Benedicts won the contract [nb the Bicycle Shop is also a café, doesnt sell bikes] We both opted for the Swannington Hot Dog with Mustard Mayo and Red Onion Jam.
Outside the café, there's a lilypond, and boating lake [for model boats] and further along, playing fields, a skate park, playgrounds, and other facilities. It is brilliant.  
We decided that the café staff were all students from Univeristy Of East Anglia. UEA is just around the corner and was our next destination.
I wanted to see the Anthony Gormley Statues about which there has been A Lot Of Fuss. They were officially unveiled last Friday.
UEA asked Sir A if he had any sculptures they could borrow. He happened to have 3 leftover from his piece "Another Time". You may recall he put up 100 figures on Crosby Beach, Merseyside [Another Place]
and then made 100 identical figures, most of which have been dispersed around the world, and together are entitled Another Time.
One of the UEA chaps, lifesize, is at the end of the walkway outside the library

We didn't see the third man, on the ziggurat residential block - but we did see the larger-than-life fellow on top of the Library.
This is the one people are upset about. Gormley says he is reflecting on life, staring at the distant horizon, and that's what University life is about - others have said he is deeply disturbing. He looks as if he is about to jump - clearly you don't want students stressed about exams and dissertations to be troubled by suicidal images.
I can understand their concerns - and when the Young Royals are busy working hard to raise awareness about Mental Health Issues, this does seem a little ill-advised.
UEA is a tribute to 1960s architecture, but the maturing trees have improved its appearance since the early days.
If you came round the corner and were confronted with this sight, what would you think ? "Oh, its modern art" or "Oh help, there's someone in despair" ??
The Bishop of Norwich has given a thoughtful response, but I suspect that in the end, UEA will bow to pressure and relocate the sculptures to somewhere a little less sensitive.


  1. I'd be very worried and would probably ring 999.

  2. Good morning. I too think the figure on the roof is not a good thing, it looks very like someone about to jump especially from a distance. I live in Bexhill and a few years ago we had a work of Sir A G's called Critical Mass, which comprised of a lot of life size figures placed on the roof of the De La Warr Pavilion. It did not have the same worrying impact as the solitary figure you feature close to the edge of the building's roof with no rail around. At the DLWP there is a high barrier all the way round the roof and the installation got a positive reaction. Personally I think it would be better if the figure was moved somewhere else. Your lunch photograph made my husband very envious, he loves hot dogs, I hope you enjoyed your meal. Regards Sue H

  3. It is a little insensitive to place it in such a prominent situation, given the high rate of student suicides but then again, wouldn't it be a reminder to those in despair to try and get help before things got so bad. Hard to do though, when you're in the midst of deep depression. That fella at the end of the walkway is very spooky. Imagine seeing him on a very dark night when there's no-one else around! Did you make a mess in Eaton?

  4. ElizabethD, that shows what a caring person you are.
    Susan, I love the refurbishment of the DLWP, I remember it in the 60s when it was sorely neglected. Your husband would have enjoyed the hotdogs with the excellent sausages and delicious Mustard and Red Onion Jam
    Nana Gogo, yes I agree, the walkway guy would be spooky at night. I enjoyed your Eton Mess Pun!!

  5. I am a big fan of the AG figures but that one does make you jump when you see it

  6. Oh my, I do think I'd find it unnerving to see that figure on the roof. Because I've never had thoughts like that, it is hard to imagine seeing that propelling someone to imitate the deed in their time of crisis but I know depression does do terrible things to minds!


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