Artist says he’ll take down controversial sculpture and start again

Artist David Mach will remove the sculpture next month (Pic FPA).
Artist David Mach will remove the sculpture next month (Pic FPA).

A controversial Kirkcaldy sculpture, now decaying and fenced off to ensure the public’s safety, is to be removed next month by the artist who installed the artwork just three years ago.

Internationally renowned artist David Mach, whose sculpture ‘Phantom’ is currently positioned at the western end of the Esplanade, said he intends to take the work down and will replace the piece with an alternative new creation which, he says, will be designed to withstand the Scottish weather.

Fife Council has fenced off the sculpture because of falling debris.

Fife Council has fenced off the sculpture because of falling debris.

The art work, which was famously referred to as a ‘whales penis’ by Kirkcaldy councillor Neil Crooks, has divided opinion amongst locals, ever since it’s commission by Morrisons Ltd as part of planning consent for the new supermarket built in 2015.

Now Mr Mach, who was born in Methil, says he plans to take the sculpture down next month.

“I inspected the sculpture two or three weeks ago and it’s clear it’s suffered from the weather due to the way I’ve treated the materials used,” said Mr Mach.

“While I admit it’s something of an ugly sculpture, I still like it and stand by the original idea.

“However to be fair to the town it needs to be replaced and I’m willing to do that.

“It’s the first time in a 40 year career that I’ve had to replace anything, but it’s only fair to do so, not only for Kirkcaldy, but also in respect of the other artists that also put forward proposals to the original project.”

And while Mr Mach is yet to come up with an alternative sculpture, he said his aim is to have an alternative completed and ready to install by summer of 2019.

The news that the sculpture is to be replaced has been welcomed by one of it’s fiercest critics Cllr Crooks.

He said: “I spoke to David directly in recent days about the issue and I’d like to commend him for taking the decision to replace it, which can’t have been an easy one to make.

“It has been well documented that I’m not a fan of the sculpture, and while in this case the physical make up of the art work has proven to have failed, I’m confident David, who is rightly respected throughout the art world ,will come up with a fitting solution.

“The Kirkcaldy waterfront has huge potential and the artist’s willingness to find a suitable alternative must be seen as a positive and possible trigger for further creativity in the area.”

And the waterfront is a part of the town that the artist himself feels could become a centre for artistic creativity,

“Much has been done to improve the esplanade and I’ve walked along it with my wife, maybe it could become a a focal point for a Fife artists collective to come up with some ideas for public art.”