Council slammed for cone art display which looks like 'Madonna's bra'

EXCLUSIVE: Locals slam council for spending £19,500 on bizarre golden cone art display – which is compared to ‘Madonna’s bra’, a ‘Dalek scrapyard’ and ‘giant dunce hats’

  • The sculptures costing £19,500 have been unveiled by Farnham Town Council
  • Some observers have compared it to a ‘Dalek scrapyard’ or ‘giant dunce hats’

A bizarre golden cone art display has left people utterly baffled after it was unveiled near homes by a local council – with some saying the sculptures look like ‘Madonna’s bra’.

Others have compared the artwork to a ‘Dalek scrapyard’, ‘giant dunce hats’ or an army of gnomes waiting for a ‘magical bell’ to wake them up and march off.

Many have been left angry and ‘ranting’ at the use of almost £20,000 of public money which they claim could have been used more wisely to improve nearby roads.

The sculptures were revealed by Farnham Town Council as a ‘sensory, tactile, and interactive sculptural installation’ inspired by photographs showing barley stored in conical piles and its repetition of the shape on buildings across Farnham, Surrey.

A plaque alongside A Hand’s Turn by Natalie Bradwell and Livia Spinolo encourages viewers to ‘touch me, spin me, enjoy me, but do not climb me’.

The golden cone art display, which cost £19,500, has been unveiled by Farnham Town Council 

The sculptures meant to act as a ‘sensory, tactile, and interactive’ installation, the town council says

The kinetic sculptures, which measure up to 8ft tall and apparently symbolise ‘the enduring role of hands in craft for thousands of years’, set the council back £19,500.

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.

A competitive public commission was undertaken, and the work was awarded to the winning artists in 2022 – with no input from locals.

People were, however, invited to ‘make their mark’ and hammer textures on to metal sheets which were used to create the installation in last October’s Craft Month.

Farnham Town Council’s clerk, Iain Lynch said: ‘These marks symbolise the different crafts which make up Farnham’s heritage and which contributed to it being awarded World Craft Town status.’

Eleanor Bromell, of Farnham, took her daughter, Elaya, to see the new installation which you can interact with by spinning them round.

‘Even my three-year-old daughter was like “what are you doing? Why are you showing me this?”, the 28-year-old said.

‘I do think it’s a waste of money. I don’t think the majority of people would look at it and say that it’s nice art.

‘It’s made of really bland colours and looks like something aliens have dropped on Earth.

‘It also looks like Madonna’s cone bra.’

Residents have unfavourably compared the sculptures to a famous bra worn by pop icon Madonna

Others have compared them to dunce caps worn by naughty children (left) and Doctor Who villains the Daleks (right)

Designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, the Queen of Pop wore the now iconic conical-shaped bra during her Blond Ambition tour, held in April 1990 in Chiba, Japan.

While Madonna’s modelling of such shapes has gone down in history, there is little prospect of that happening in Farnham.

‘Everyone has been ranting about it locally,’ the Ms Bromell added.

‘They are not pleased about it, because they think the money could have been better spent on things like potholes.’

Despite that, she did admit she could understand the positive view that money was being spent on arts and creative projects.

‘Some people, like my sister, have said it’s nice some money is being put into art. She can appreciate funding going into it, but when I asked if she actually liked it – she said no.’

Another local, Steve Edwards, initially thought up a new use for the odd art exhibition – as outdoor urinals during the upcoming beer festival.

A woman and young child walk alongside the exhibition in Farnham Town centre

The 66-year-old said: ‘My theory was they could be outdoor urinals rather than those smelly portacabins – that’s one useful alternative.

‘They have got a lot of people talking about them. It will certainly increase the footfall in the town.’

The retired electrical engineer admitted the cones have actually grown on him, adding: ‘I do actually like them now.

‘I prefer it to some of the other statues of ancient Farnham folk, they’ll appeal to the younger age groups as well.

‘It makes me think of little gnome hats hiding, waiting for a magical bell to wake them up and march off.’

Ed Moore compared the display to a ‘Dalek scrapyard’ from Doctor Who, alongside others who called it ‘a load of old tat’ and similar to ‘giant dunce hats’.

However, Laura Shorrocks countered: ‘I think it’s lovely.

‘It’s nice to acknowledge the craft town status and heritage that Farnham has in such a way as well.’

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