A newly installed art display that looks like a cross between discarded nuclear warheads and Madonna’s cone bra has divided opinion in a Surrey town.
The strange mysterious golden cones that double up as an art installation have appeared in Farnham, with other descriptions comparing them to props from a sci-fi film, a Dalek scrapyard and giant dunce hats.
While criticising the look of the sculptures and scratching their heads about their meaning, locals have also been up in arms with regards to the £19,500 spent by the town’s council on commissioning the artwork, with many arguing the money would have been better spent elsewhere.
Called ‘A Hand’s Turn’ and produced by artists Natalie Bradwell and Livia Spinio, the sculptures were inspired by photographs showing barley stored at the nearby Farnham Maltings in conical piles and the repetition of the shape on buildings across the town.
Interested onlookers are encouraged to “sense the space, experience the movement, encounter the craft” of the “sensory, tactile and interactive sculptural installation”, some parts of which are nearly 8ft tall.
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They are also told to: “Touch me, spin me, enjoy me, but do not climb on me.”
The structures are said to symbolise the enduring role of hands in craft for thousands of years.
The project, which has involved Farnham Town Council, the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham Maltings and the Farnham Public Art Trust, was conceived in 2020, while a competitive public commission was undertaken, and the work was awarded to the winning artists in 2022, with no input from locals.
Residents were, though, in October last year, invited to “leave a permanent impression” and hammer dents into golden metal sheets that were later used by the artists.
Clerk of Farnham Town Council, Iain Lynch, said: “The marks symbolise the different crafts which make up Farnham’s heritage and which contributed to it being awarded World Craft Town status.”
Some locals have poured scorn on the installation, with one person describing it as a “load of old tat”, while another thought it was a “waste of money and everyone has been ranting about them”, adding that the cash would have been “better spent on things like potholes”.
Resident Laura Shorrocks was full of praise for them, telling the Daily Mail: “It’s nice to acknowledge the craft town status and heritage that Farnham has in such a way as well.”
Meanwhile, local householder Steve Edwards said the display has “got a lot of people talking about them”, but added: “My theory was they could be outdoor urinals rather than smelly portacabins.
“But I do actually like them now and they’ll appeal to the younger age groups as well.”