New sculptures for Scarborough Castle and Whitby Abbey 'will only be complete when it snows'

Two “unfinished” sculptures that will only be complete when it snows could soon be installed at Scarborough Castle and Whitby Abbey as part of a new heritage trail.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Monday, 22nd February 2021, 2:34 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd February 2021, 2:38 pm
How the sculpture would look.
How the sculpture would look.

The Wild Eye trail, a collaboration between Scarborough Council, English Heritage and Scarborough-based environmental art charity Invisible Dust, has been backed by £140,000 from the Government’s the Town Deal Fast Track Fund.

The sculptures, by artist Ryan Gander OBE, will be dolos shaped, a concrete structure that is used as a barrier to prevent coastal erosion.

One each will be placed in the grounds of Scarborough Castle and on the Abbey Plain in Whitby.

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The new sculpture, complete with its snowy finish.

Planning applications for the two sites have now been submitted to the borough council to put the sculptures in place for an initial 10 years.

The sculpture will only be “finished”, however, when it snows, according to the supporting documents, as the work intends to make a statement about climate change.

It states: “The artist will produce a sculpture made from reinforced low carbon concrete, shaped to form a type of dolos – a form usually cast in a large scale in concrete, used as a barrier to interrupt natural tide cycles to prevent coastal erosion on beaches.

“Gander had been fascinated with the shape of dolos since the beginning of his artistic career.

How the sculpture would look at Whitby.

"For this sculpture, the artist uses a computer algorithm to predict and simulate snowfall on the dolos which then is digitally subtracted from the original mass of the shape, meaning that the form is incomplete, only to be ‘finished’ when it snows.

“The idea is that the work is incomplete without snowfall – nature has to complete the form.

"If it was snowed on it would be made whole again but the likelihood of this happening (particularly at coastal sites) is becoming less and less likely due to climate change.

“Human impact and lack of action on climate change means it snows less and the piece is less likely to ever be ‘finished’.”

Mr Gander notes that his children may be the last generation to remember snow in their childhood.

The applications have been out to consultation with one letter of support received for the sculpture in Scarborough.

However, the supporter has noted that people will have to pay to enter the grounds of Scarborough Castle to see the dolos.

They wrote: “Fabulous site for something with scale and impact.

"A bit of a shame it is not publicly accessible without paying as this will limit numbers.”

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