Sunday, 23 September 2018

Uri Geller's sculpture for Sonning missing

A SCULPTURE marking Uri Geller?s time in Sonning has vanished.

A SCULPTURE marking Uri Geller?s time in Sonning has vanished.

The bright red artwork bearing his name was unveiled on the Thames towpath on Monday, October 5 by the illusionist, who has lived in the village for 35 years.

But it has now disappeared and it is not clear who has taken it down, or why. It is yet another twist in the saga over the sculpture, which was vandalised last weekend, and didn't have planning permission.

The offenders wrote on the steel artwork with a black marker pen, adding the letters ?n? and ?e? after his name.

Along with other scrawlings it had read: ?Taking the Urine Geller?. A bag of dog faeces was also tied to it along with a note saying: ?Just another pile of crap left on the Thames towpath.?

Geller, 68, hit back on Facebook writing: "To the person who decided to put this note on the spoon sculpture, this message is for you.

?The sign is great!! Thank you. It is hand written, which makes it personal, it's humorous, and anything which makes people laugh, or wonder, or question is brilliant in my opinion, I love it!

"Do I mind that you're calling my gift to Sonning a pile of crap? No, it made me laugh, and besides it is your opinion and you're entitled to it, and I feel honoured that you have taken the time to add to the sculpture in this way. I hope the note hasn't been removed, as the sculpture has now evolved as a result of this note, so I hope it stays for some time, and then is removed and put in the bin rather than littering the towpath.

?What I do not like however, is that you felt it a good idea to hang a bag of dog faeces to the sculpture.

?This is not only disgusting, it is irresponsible and dangerous. Do you not realise how dangerous dog faeces is? If the bag rips, it falls on the floor and a child comes along and happens to touch it. I'm sure that as an intelligent adult, you understand the danger of this?

?And I wanted to use this as a message to all of the dog owners of Sonning (and of the world, for that matter), for that very tiny percentage who feel it is a good idea to put your dogs faeces in a plastic bag and then drop it on the floor or chuck it in the bushes - please don't, it's awful.

?If other people want to put notes on the spoon, do it, and post it on my Facebook page. If it's a positive note, fantastic, but even if it's not you won't offend me!?

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 was created by artist blacksmith Paul Wells from 6mm forged steel, had been riveted to a tree stump near Sonning Lock.

In a statement before it was removed 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 he 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.?

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

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.?

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