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Sunday, May 03, 2020

'Intrusive addition': Antony Gormley’s memorial to mathematician Alan Turing draws fire | Sculpture - Art Newspaper

Gareth Harris, Chief contributing editor at The Art Newspaper notes, Some critics endorse the proposed sculpture for Cambridge University while others question the competition process.
Left: Alan Turing in 1930. Right: Antony Gormley's proposed sculpture to commemorate Turing Sculpture rendering:
Photo: courtesy of the Antony Gormley Studio/Cambridge City Council

Antony Gormley’s proposal for a sculpture commemorating the Second World War code-breaker Alan Turing has run into trouble after the heritage body Historic England criticised the 12-feet high memorial piece planned for the University of Cambridge. The abstract metal figure made of 19 steel slabs would “harm” King’s College, where Turing read mathematics in the 1930s, says Historic England. But other cultural figures, including the directors of both Tate Modern and Tate Britain, back Gormley’s vision.

The sculpture of Turing—a brilliant mathematician who deciphered military codes used by Germany in the war—would be located in the south-east corner of the Great Lawn court near to the Wilkins building. “The pose of the Turing sculpture is inspired by the work and life of Alan Turing himself,” says Adam Gardner, the deputy clerk of works at King’s College, in a letter posted online as part of the planning application.

Gardner adds: “The proposed Turing sculpture is a continuation of Antony Gormley’s Slabworks series. It will be 3.668m high and will weigh 3,123kg. It is made from Corten weathering steel slabs assembled from separate elements: 19 gas-cut blocks, 140mm thick. Its architectural language is that of stacking, propping and cantilever, and the provisional relationship of balance between the blocks should be able to be felt as well as seen.”

But Clare Campbell, the development advice team leader at Historic England, says in correspondence to the city council that “the introduction of the sculpture would affect the architectural, landscape and aesthetic significance of the college...

Cambridge city council has not yet reached a decision on the planning application.

Source: Art Newspaper