Wonders of Weston launched

WESTON’S very own ‘wonders’ were launched last week in the hope that the public artworks will bring an added element of culture to the town.

The seven projects, which are dotted around Weston, were officially unveiled at a launch ceremony last week.

They are part of the national Sea Change initiative, which intends to boost tourism and support the revitalisation of English seaside towns.

North Somerset Council was awarded �850,000 from the Government-funded Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.

Other projects include Weston’s seafront arch, the town council’s water park and landscaping work at Madeira Cove.

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The wonders have been produced by Situations, a public art commissioning and research programme, in association with Field Art Projects, an arts consultancy.

The artworks range from blue neon lights put up at the Winter Gardens to a starry view of the Marine Lake Causeway.

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During the launch on Friday, entertainment included musical performances at Weston Train Station, treasure hunts and storytelling at the Model Yacht Pond and a walking tour by artists Wright and Sites.

Claire Doherty, director of Situations, said: “The weariness of passengers from a stranded train at Weston station was lifted by the strains of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life on Friday and that seemed to sum up the optimistic atmosphere at Friday’s autumnal launch of the Wonders of Weston.”

• What do you think of the Wonders of Weston? Have your say by logging on to our new-look website www.westonmercury.co.uk

Wonder number one: And My Eyes Danced

Artist: Ruth Claxton

Location: Marine Parade

Ruth Claxton’s new sculptural installation, her first permanent public artwork, uses the Model Yacht Pond as a frame and comprises of overlapping rings in three formations with circular glass panels inserted into different sections.

The yacht pond was originally one of two ponds at either side of the Grand Pier, which were designed to be filled naturally by the sea at high tide and used for sailing boats.

The materials used have been specially selected by the artist to utilise the changing light, weather and water level and to withstand the harsh conditions of a marine environment.

Wonder number two: Winter Piece

Artist: Tim Etchells

Location: Winter Gardens Pavilion

The first of Tim Etchells’ public artworks for Weston is a two-part neon light work.

Two statements ‘The Things You Can’t Remember’ and ‘The Things You Can’t Forget’ are illuminated in blue neon on the fa�ade of the pavilion.

He points to these locations as places in which momentous and ordinary events collide and says he was also interested in the seaside as a place for thinking

Wonder number three: Shelter Piece

Artist: Tim Etchells

Location: Shelter, Marine Parade

A series of short texts, written by Tim Etchells, are etched into the glass windows of this 20th Century shelter.

They detail the scenes he observed on a summer’s day he spent in the town in July.

He said he was drawn to the formal grid structure of the windows and the simplicity of the shelter, which faces Weston Bay.

Wonder number four: Without Earth Under Foot

Artist: Lara Favaretto

Location: Marine Lake Causeway

The Marine Lake Causeway was completed in 1929 along with the artificial lake which by the 1930s boasted a bandstand, diving stage, slides, bathing tents and boating. Today, the causeway is a prominent feature which dissects the sea from the artificial lake at the northern end of the town.

Lara Favaretto has created a ‘constellation’ of phosphorescent material along the causeway, which makes it look as if the stars in the night sky are reflected along the causeway itself.

Wonder number five: Holm

Artist: Tania Kovats

Location: Madeira Cove

Tania Kovats was invited to create a work as part of the re-landscaping of Madeira Cove gardens.

She got her inspiration for her artwork from Steep Holm island, a remote nature reserve, which is the main view from the cove.

Holm is a miniature sculpture cast in pale concrete of the island.

Wonder number six: Silly Scope

Artist: Raumlaborberlin

Location: Weston Train Station

Inspired by Weston’s most famous resident, John Cleese, this kaleidoscopic structure has been designed to be mobile and will tour across a number of sites throughout 2011.

The interior surfaces of this structure are reflective creating an effect similar to a mirrored funhouse or hall of mirrors.

Wonder number seven: Everything You Need To Build A Town Is Here

Artist: Wrights and Sites

Location: In 41 sites across the town

The artist has developed a constellation of 41 signs that refer to architecture in the town and contains carefully worded instruction, observation or comment, which encourages the reader to think about its specific location.

The design of the signs has been influenced by an existing sign found in Uphill, and the signs will all appear at a site without explanation.

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