Wallinger branches out into public art

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The Independent Culture

Mark Wallinger, who won the Turner Prize for State Britain, his incendiary installation of anti-war posters, unveils a giant state-of-the-art steel sculpture today for one of Oxford University's most traditional colleges.

The piece, entitled Y, was installed the grounds of Magdalen College, whose quadrangles and gardens were once graced by Oscar Wilde and C S Lewis. It is the artist's first permanent piece of public art.

Wallinger said he was delighted to earn the £136,000 commission, which includes £40,000 of Arts Council funding. He said: "Some of the fellows asked about high-spirited students climbing it. I told them the students would have to have koala bear abilities to be able to climb it."

Created from steel with a painted finish, it faces westwards towards thecollege to reflect the setting sun. Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, dean of arts at the college, said: "What I like about it is its ability to be both brazen and subtle. It's shiny and new, but full of references to the past. It's strikingly large, but practically disappears when looked at from some angles. It's a monument to science, but also a joke about the antlers of Magdalen's deer."

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