Removal of ‘whale penis’ sculpture is welcomed

The sculpture has been removed.
The sculpture has been removed.

The removal of a controversial statue from Kirkcaldy’s waterfront has been welcomed by its fiercest critic.

The sculpture, which for the last three years has been slowly decaying on Kirkcaldy’s Esplanade, has been taken down by the artist responsible for the work.

Renowned artist David Mach created and installed the commissioned piece, entitled Phantom, in 2015 but removed the sculpture following fears over public safety.

In August Fife Council took the decision to fence off the sculpture, which sits outside Morrisons supermarket at the western entrance to the town, after reports of nails and other debris falling from the piece.

Kirkcaldy councillor Neil Crooks, one of the Phantom’s most vocal critics, welcomed the sculpture’s removal.

He said: “Not too many people will be sad to see the empty space where the Phantom stood hauntingly these past months.

“I am, however, very positive about David Mach’s approach and response once I had contacted him. The artwork didn’t work but that does not make him a poor artist.

“His offer to have some public engagement on a replacement is a welcome development and he will no doubt want it to be special as his reputation has certainly been called into question through that work.

“New day, new opportunity and good riddance to the Phantom.”

The artist has now taken the sculpture, which had been referred to by one Kirkcaldy councillor as looking like a “whale’s penis”, to a secure indoor location and has promised to replace the Phantom with a new artwork more appropriately designed to withstand the Fife weather.

The sculpture, which was commissioned at a cost of £35,000 as part of the planning consent granted for the building of the Morrisons store in 2013, has divided public opinion since it was installed in 2015.

The Methil-born artist, who is famous for public artworks including Big Heids on the M8 approach to Glasgow and Train, built using 185,000 bricks in Darlington,told the Press he expected to have a replacement for Kirkcaldy ready by next summer.