Object Details

Murmurations

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Location

Street:Brighton Road
Town:Worthing
Parish:Worthing
Council:Adur District Council
County:West Sussex
Postcode:BN11
Location on Google Map
Object setting:Public Park
Access is:Public
Location note:Stood at the south west corner of Beach House Park (Removed 2007)
In the AZ book:West Sussex
Page:171
Grid reference:J2
The A-Z books used are A-Z East Sussex and A-Z West Sussex (Editions 1A 2005). Geographers' A-Z Map Company Ltd. Sevenoaks.
Previous location:A27 roundabout, Arundel, during the Arundel Arts Festival

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Makers

Name : Chris Blade
     Role:Sculptor

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General Information

Commissioned by: Worthing Borough Council and Worthing Museum & Art Gallery
Commissioned also by: Arundel Arts Festival organisers
Construction period:2005
Installation date:2005
Work is:Lost
Owner custodian:Chris Blade, Sculptor
Object listing:Not listed
Description:A series of twelve stainless steel seagulls atop twelve 6metre high poles. The birds move and react to the environment, whether wind, the light from cloud, sun and sky.
Iconographical description:”Although seagulls have some bad press locally they are at their most beautiful and graceful when flying free and soaring. Masters of their environment, the seagull sculpture presents a contrast to the commuters who are static and earthbound'' (Artist)

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Classification

Categories:Free Standing, Animal, Sculptural
Object type1:Sculpture
Subject type1:Figurative

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Object Parts

Part 1:Seagulls
     Material:Stainless steel
Part 2:Poles
     Material:None
     Height (cm):600

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Object Condition

Overall condition:Poor
Risk assessment:Immediate risk
Condition 1 of type:Vandalism
     Condition 1: Structural damage
     More details:Two birds were stolen by vandals and a further two were uprooted. The sculpture was subsequently removed from the park.
Date of on-site inspection:19/06/2008

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History

History:‘Public Art Comes To Worthing
A major sculpture by a Sussex artist will be spending the winter in Worthing’s Beach House Park. Artist Chris Blade sketched the initial idea for ‘Murmurations’, an eye catching sculpture, on the back of an envelope two years ago. After exhibiting the piece on an A27 roundabout during the Arundel Arts Festival, Chris approached Sussex arts group RAG to see if they could help find a suitable temporary location for the work. ‘Murmurations’ features polished stainless steel seagulls mounted on poles 6 metres high, so RAG’s Dan Thompson enlisted the help of Worthing Borough Council’s parks team and curators at Worthing Museum & Art Gallery to locate the sculpture at the southern end of Beach House Park. The birds move and react to the environment, whether wind, the light from cloud, sun and sky. Obsessed with flight and a keen paraglider pilot, Chris has created a sculpture which gets as close to flying as is possible. “This is a striking contemporary sculpture in a stunning location,” says Dan Thompson, “and, with bringing public art to Worthing high on RAG’s agenda for 2006, ‘Murmurations’ should encourage some lively debate. Already, plans are afoot to move the sculpture to another Worthing location in the spring, and Chris is also looking for further beautiful and prestigious public spaces to display the sculpture either temporarily or permanently’

As an interesting aside - the 'G A' on the iron gates of Beach House Park were originally the memorial to Gertrude Ashworth (1870-1950), headmistress of the Warren School in the town.

(http://www.artistsandmakers.com/article.php/2005122014041676 posted Tuesday, December 20 2005)

‘Stunning Seagulls Need New Home
Chris blade sketched the initial idea for an eye catching sculpture, which has been on show during the Arundel Arts Festival, on back of an envelope two years ago and has been planning it ever since. ‘Murmurations’ features polished stainless steel seagulls mounted on poles 6 metres high. The birds move and react to the environment, whether wind, the light from cloud, sun and sky or indeed reflect traffic as it passes. Obsessed with flight and a keen paraglider pilot, Chris was offered the roundabout site on A27 in Arundel by Arundel Arts Festival organisers, after approaching them with a proposal. The Festival organisers generously contributed towards the cost of materials for the piece, with the rest paid for by Chris. “I have always wanted to make the A27 bottleneck in Arundel more dynamic and interesting for commuters and to create a talking point,” says Chris, “and roundabouts are everywhere and offer fantastic sites for artists, but we rarely notice them.” Although seagulls have some bad press locally they are at their most beautiful and graceful when flying free and soaring. Masters of their environment, the seagull sculpture presents a contrast to the commuters who are static and earthbound. Although two birds were stolen by vandals and a further two were uprooted, Chris is now looking for beautiful and prestigious public spaces to display the sculpture either temporarily or permanently and has approached artist led organisation RAG to help. RAG’s Dan Thompson says “The piece would look stunning in large pond or lake – or even out to sea!” Anyone interested in offering the sculpture a temporary or permanent home, or finding out more information, can visit the website contact chris@artistsandmakers.com
(http://www.artistsandmakers.com/article.php/20050914142644918 posted Wednesday, September 14 2005)

‘Mystery of 12 missing birds
A flock of decorative birds has all but disappeared from a park after a series of suspected thefts. But people who helped to put up the shiny steel seagulls are struggling to return the remaining few to the owner - because he has disappeared too. Artist Chris Blade installed the dozen birds on thin 12ft poles in Beach House Park, Worthing, about a year ago. But since then they have been going missing one by one. Worthing Borough Council parks manager Chris Bradley said he had no idea what had happened to them but suspected thieves. Only a couple of seagulls remain but they cannot be returned to Mr Blade because he went on a trekking holiday to India and has not been heard from since. Mr Bradley said: ''It's all gone a bit awry. The guy who designed them has disappeared. The sculpture looks past its sell-by date now and we do need to have it removed, which is a shame.'' He believed the seagulls might have been blown off the poles and picked up by passers by. Mr Bradley said: ''They have not been handed in to me. ''We hoped the sculpture might become a permanent feature but I am told the chap concerned has gone to India and hasn't been heard of since.'' The sculpture, called Murmurations, first went on show at the Arundel Festival, where it was positioned on a roundabout filtering traffic from the A27 to the historic castle town. If was then moved to a back garden in Ferring overlooking the village cricket ground. Mr Blade, whose last known address was in Ferring, was persuaded to move the seagulls to Beach House Park by Worthing artist Dan Thompson. Mr Thompson said: ''He was last heard of travelling in India. ''The seagulls were put up about this time last year and were due to come down in the summer but we have got nobody to return them to. ''They are lovely. We hoped to buy them for the town. That's the kind of art we would like to see here.'' Meanwhile, concern has been voiced about the condition of a unique memorial to carrier pigeons killed during the Second World War, situated on a mound just yards from the seagulls in the park. Hazel Lunn asked the borough council when it would finish the restoration of the memorial, which was unveiled in 1951. She hoped the council would get a fountain working and install an information board. Councillor Paul High, executive member for leisure, culture and sport, said he was committed to keeping the memorial, which had been tidied up and surrounded by railings to deter vandals who had smashed two stone birds. He hoped the outstanding work could be completed by next spring but this was subject to money becoming available. Councillor High was also keen to see the establishment of a friends' group to maintain the memorial in the future. The memorial was the idea of Nancy Price, a once famous actress, author and conservationist, who lived in High Salvington, Worthing.
(The Argus 8 December 2006)

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References


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Photographs


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