Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Geller accused of bending the rules

A SPOON sculpture marking Uri Geller?s time in Sonning may have to be removed because it doesn?t have planning permission

A SPOON sculpture marking Uri Geller?s time in Sonning may have to be removed because it doesn?t have planning permission.

The bright red artwork bearing his name was unveiled on the Thames towpath on Monday by the illusionist, who has lived in the village for 35 years.

Now Geller has been told to submit a planning application or face having to remove the piece made by artist Paul Wells.

Councillor John Kaiser, executive member for planning at Wokingham Borough Council, said: ?The statue needs planning permission to be erected and we haven?t yet received an application for it.

?We will be writing to him, inviting him to submit an application as soon as possible.?

The sculpture, which is made from 6mm forged steel, has been riveted to a tree stump near Sonning Lock.

In a statement, Geller said: ?My understanding is that all the proper permission was granted.

?This is a totally one-of-a-kind piece of art which has been created for the village of Sonning. It would seem a great shame if the red spoon should be removed due to red tape.?

He added: ?You can take my spoon but you?ll never be able to bend my creative freedom.?

At the unveiling the 68-year-old said he hoped actor George Clooney and his wife Amal Alamuddin would be able to enjoy the view of it from their home, which is opposite.

He said the gift was his ?token of appreciation? towards the village as he returns to his native Israel.

?I really do feel sad,? said Geller. ?The people of Sonning were amazing throughout these incredible years. I wanted the sculpture to remind people that Uri Geller used to walk on this towpath.

?Thirty-five years is a long time. My kids grew up here and I kind of wanted to be remembered.

?I think it?s a beautiful piece of modern art. Red is an assertive, positive colour. There?s nothing like this anywhere in the world.?

About 20 people attended the unveiling of the sculpture on Monday.

Geller bent and then signed spoons for fans and even snapped a golf club in half using his skills.

He said he would miss the ?people, the atmosphere, the energy, the purity, the spirituality, the cows, the meadows and the smells?.

?This is the nicest village in the world,? he said, adding that he would return to visit his mother?s grave at St Andrew?s Church.

Geller and his wife Hanna will now live in an apartment in Old Jaffa, Tel Aviv.

However, he refused to speculate about the sale of his riverside home despite reports that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are reportedly house-hunting in Sonning. He joked: ?I hear that Taylor Swift wants to buy my house ? where is she? If Brad Pitt loves the house and really wants to move next door to George Clooney then this is the house for him. This is the best area in the world, I would say.?

Mr Wells spent more than 50 hours over three days creating the sculpture, which has Geller?s name cut out of it with a laser.

He said: ?It represents Uri for what he?s well known for and the hole in the bowl of the spoon represents his absence from Sonning and the community. I?ve made other work for him before ? sculptures and decorative pieces.

?He didn?t want anything too large because I?d made very large pieces for him before. I went for a size that wouldn?t be overwhelming for people because it?s a public space and I kept it quite simple. At first sight it looks glossy and smooth but on closer inspection there?s handmade detail on it. You can see the hammer marks.

?My normal work is more organic and more nature-inspired but I like a challenge and Uri wanted something industrial and clean and not too fussy. Normally I would have included maybe flowers and vine-work because that?s kind of my trademark but I purposely went for very clean, sharp lines because that?s what he asked for.?

• Geller revealed that he may help and advise in peace negotiations in the Middle East. He said: ?I?ve known Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for decades. Maybe I will be asked by certain government officials to provide my talents in negotiations which I?ve done in the past. I?m very much looking forward to working for peaceful purposes.?

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