Dún Laoghaire sculpture to be sent back to artist
‘Gateway’ creator Michael Warren supportive of artwork’s return, councillors told
Dún Laoghaire harbour: Gateway by artist Michael Warren was erected in 2002 as part of the Pavilion complex near Dún Laoghaire harbour, and was removed in 2009 and placed in storage pending the completion of redevelopment works in the area. Photograph: Eric Luke
A controversial sculpture which occupied a prominent site in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, is to be sent back to the artist who created it following a decision by local councillors last night.
Gateway, a 20ft high, eight-tonne sculpture, will be returned to Wexford artist Michael Warren and will be exchanged for another work.
It was erected in 2002 as part of the Pavilion complex near Dún Laoghaire harbour and was removed in 2009 and placed in storage pending the completion of redevelopment works in the area.
Made from corten steel, which gives a rough orange appearance after slow oxidisation, the sculpture had been the subject of controversy with calls for its removal by some councillors and local people.
Its return to the artist was recommended by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council’s public art steering committee.
Last night, the council’s arts officer, Kenneth Redmond, told councillors Warren was “supportive” of the option to exchange the work. Warren was “very sensitive around this area and would like to see a solution to Gateway”, he said.
Councillor Patricia Stewart (FG) praised the artist’s generosity. Councillor Richard Humphreys (Lab), who had supported the retention of the “magnificent piece of work” in its original position, said he would not press the matter given a solution had been found.
But Councillor Donal Marren (FG) said he wanted to be dissociated from the solution. It was a gross insult to the artist who was “the leading modern sculptor in Ireland”, he said.
Councillors voted by 19 to four, with one abstention, to return the work to Warren.