THE 130-year-old gasometer in Shields has become an industrial relic, we’re told, and is likely to be demolished within the next few years.
It’s been gratifying, however, that several readers have taken up my point about how we don’t always see the sculpture in this and similar old structures.
They can be very photogenic. Caroline Barnsley at South Shields Library let me see an atmospheric night shot of the gasometer, taken by her husband, Dave, and which features in her new book, South Shields Through The Ages, to be published soon.
And I loved this from Peter Barber, which goes back only a few years to when, in the foreground, construction work was going on for what is now Asda.
Says Peter: “You questioned why no one seems to see the art in industrial monuments like the gasometer.
“Here it is masquerading as an artwork by Christo, the artist who wrapped the Pont Neuf in Paris and the Reichstag in Berlin with polypropylene fabric.”
People will remember this, when the gasometer assumed the appearance of a Roman coliseum while work was undertaken on it.
It may have been only temporary, but it was quite illuminating to see how visually impressive the structure could be.
Christo’s current project, I understand, is to suspend nearly six miles of silvery luminescent fabric high up over a 42-mile stretch of the Arkansas River in the US (although the plan has proved controversial).
Still, though, it shows that all you need is imagination....