On the edge or cutting edge? What does UEA think of the new library statue?

By Natalie Froome

UEA have hit the headlines with the controversial placing of a new Anthony Gormley statue.

The art installation is a human statue, which has been placed on the very edge of the library roof. Some are calling the statue ‘edgy’ and think it a great addition to UEA’s sculpture trail, while others have berated the University for their bad taste.

We talked to UEA Students to get the picture of what students think about it…

“My first thought when I saw this – not realising it was a statue – was that it was someone about to jump off a roof, meaning other students might initially think the same. I have no problem with the statue, I just don’t agree with it being placed where it is. I can see it upsetting or surprising people, and although art often does that, this seems like an obvious attempt to shock or intrigue passersby.” –  Frances Butler, Second Year Student.

 “Whilst I can appreciate that it’s art it’s an odd place for the installation. Students who suffer from mental health issues may not appreciate it as a piece of art but as a sort of indication of what society thinks of their issues” – Lewis Martin, Politics and International Relations student.

“I think, despite it maybe being a little disconcerting initially for people who don’t already know it’s there, it’s a very striking, very interesting feature, which reminds me of similarly outlandish statues by David Černý in Prague. The fact that this is also by quite a prominent sculptor seems like another thing to put UEA on the map, too.” – David Winlo, Second Year Ecologist.

“I think the statue is a really cool art piece and reminds me a lot of the pieces I saw around Europe. Despite this, I do see how it can feel unsettling to many people and, unlike other pieces I have seen, I don’t think the intention of it is to make us uncomfortable therefore maybe it’s placement is a bit inappropriate. I think the pieces should be placed somewhere that helps to convey the meaning of the art rather than giving the wrong idea.” – Emily Vause, Second Year LDC Student.

“On campus we have memorials for students who died before they graduated, we have testimonies of wasted lives and the sadness students can feel, and now, as the University have so callously provided, we have a statue proclaiming suicide as something to be applauded for its daring – how can anyone think this is a good idea?” – Sarah Darley, Second year LDC Student.

“It is obviously not a good idea for a location, a bit more consideration for students should have gone in its placement, but I find it hard not to be amused by it as well. I think that no one intended for it to look like someone about to hurt themselves so the misunderstanding is on both the public and the people who put it up. It’s simply funny, and I believe no one’s fault. Or at least I want to believe no one in our university is as malicious as that.” – Roman Gabriel, Second year LDC Student.

“I guess because I knew that extra installations were going up, I was looking out for them. But though I can understand the concerns of the connotations of suicide, it can be interpreted in other ways. For example, someone who is conquering their pursuit of knowledge.” – Khalea Robertson, Second year, Spanish and International Development Student.

The statue has divided opinion and it remains to be seen whether it will be left standing or be taken down.

Image from UEA’s Twitter Account

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