UEA faces backlash over ‘tactless’ decision to put Antony Gormley’s human statue on the roof of library

PUBLISHED: 16:17 13 April 2017 | UPDATED: 09:53 14 April 2017

The Antony Gormley statue on the roof of the UEA library. Picture: Louisa Baldwin

The Antony Gormley statue on the roof of the UEA library. Picture: Louisa Baldwin


A sculpture by Antony Gormley of a person standing on the edge of the library at UEA has sparked controversy.

Antony Gormley statue on the roof of the UEA library. Picture: Louisa BaldwinAntony Gormley statue on the roof of the UEA library. Picture: Louisa Baldwin

The art installation has been criticised by some students for being in “bad taste” because of potential suicide connotations, while others have complained that people are being shocked by it because they mistake it for a real person.

A spokesman for UEA defended the work, which is part of a Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts project involving three Gormley sculptures, saying they were “thought-provoking and offer both spectacle and surprise”.

Gormley’s most famous works includes the Angel of the North in Gateshead and Another Place on Crosby Beach in Liverpool.

The first of the three human statues at UEA has been placed on the edge of the UEA library roof.

Dr Esmée Hanna tweeted: “I like Gormley’s work, but not sure if the library is good taste given some universities have had students jump off said buildings.”

Harry T Dyer tweeted: “Love his work, and it fits with our other sculptures, but I think it’s potentially a poor choice, especially at dissertation crunch time…”

The installation has also faced backlash as it could be confused with a real person.

MORE: New installation from UEA’s Sainsbury Centre will see three new sculptures placed around campus
UEA Graduate Kimberley Davies, 22, said: “It’s a bit tactless to put a statue on top of a building filled with people on edge during exam season.

“Sombreros are a no-no, but making passers-by think someone’s about to commit suicide is art – I’m out.”

Aimee tweeted: “No offence UEA, but putting a statue of a human on top of a high building is probably not a good idea??”

The x3 ANOTHER TIME project will be officially unveiled on April 22, and the statues were selected from Gormley’s ongoing series Another Time (1999-2013).

The latest additions are part of wider plans to expand the sculpture trail at the university, which already includes works by Liliane Lijn and Henry Moore.

A spokesman for UEA said: “The Another Time series involves sculptures being placed at different focal points and sightlines, including roof level which are thought provoking and offer both spectacle and surprise.

“The locations were chosen in response to the remarkable architecture of the Sir Denys Lasdun university buildings. All staff and students have been made aware of the new art installation on campus, and where the sculptures will be located.”

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