Surreal or stupid? Public artwork divides opinion in Sydney

  • AFP
  • Updated: Aug 04, 2014 17:59 IST

A giant Japanese-designed public artwork that will straddle Sydney's main street was recently unveiled, dividing opinion, with supporters saying it will boost the city's reputation, and critics calling it 'stupid'. The steel Cloud Arch, designed by Tokyo-based Junya Ishigami, will tower up to 50 metres above busy George Street as part of the city's plan to spruce up its central business district, lanes and parks.

Acclaimed British artist Tracey Emin was also given the nod to create a corridor of bronze bird installations in another area of the city as part of the $8.7 million plan. Not everyone agreed with the Cloud Arch design, constructed of steel plates tapered and curved in two directions and variously described as resembling a roller coaster, dental floss, or a piece of spaghetti.

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"The new city centreartwork looks stupid. That’s the best Sydney could find or pick?" says one Twitter user, while another took exception to the pavilion, saying, "The 'milk crate' artwork looks absolutely ridiculous."

But the ambitious plan also won support. "At last something interesting and engaging in a city that is becoming so ugly due to all the greedy developers," one reader said on the Telegraph website, while another added, "I think it is brilliant. Well done Clover Moore, love your work." The Mayor Clover is of the view that the artworks will put the international spotlight on Sydney.

"The artworks and installations selected by our expert evaluation panel will cement Sydney’s reputation as a capital of culture and creativity," Moore says. The designs were chosen from nearly 700 entries from 25 countries, and the installations are expected to be unveiled in 2017.

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