A 1.8-meter-long public sculpture of an anthropomorphic banana has caused a stir among Melbourne residents – and has already been the victim of vandalism.
The artwork, which has a menacing skull facing Rose Street in Fitzroy, is titled Fallen Fruit. It was built on November 8 and was purchased by the city of Yarra for $ 22,000 out of a $ 100,000 grant granted by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC).
On Thursday night, the banana was vandalized with a saw, in an apparent decapitation attempt.
“It was quite surprising and outrageous to see the work so dramatically vandalized, but there is also not much that can be done when the work is in the public arena,” artist Adam Stone told Guardian Australia before patching the scars on Friday afternoon. . . “You just have to let go and put it out there.”
Stone is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts and a former winner of the Montalto Sculpture Prize and the Fiona Myer Prize. His banana-themed works are part of a broader production that has been shown in galleries around Australia and Asia. For Fallen Fruit, he said, “my ambition was that people from different backgrounds could find the work fun and engaging, and perhaps consider the conceptual significance of the work.
“I was thinking about hubris in Western society and our obsession with unsustainable profits, and how this is affecting the environment.”
Although it is unclear what motivated the vandalism attack, public opinion surrounding the banana’s appeal has been divided. Some quickly took to social media to defend the sculpture, and many referred to the sitcom Arrested Development, whose central family of characters runs a frozen banana stand.
Others, however, found the big fruit ripe for criticism – especially its large taxpayer-funded fee, which some claimed could have been redirected to other community services and businesses.
The Transport Accident Commission, which provided a $ 100,000 grant to a Yarra Council project to care for pedestrians, said they would make their spending requirements more specific in the future.
“Were we aware that there would be a piece of banana art as part of the project? We were not,” TAC’s head of road safety, Samantha Cockfield, told 3AW on Friday.
“We want to make it pretty clear … that big pieces of public art are not really what we’re in there for.”
Stone’s work joins a line of controversial yellow pieces.
In 1980, Ron Robertson-Swann’s highlighter-colored structure Vault was much criticized for its impressive size and hue. Called the “yellow danger,” it was removed from its original City Square location less than eight months after opening.
Fallen Fruit’s price tag also pales in comparison to its predecessors, including Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s $ 120,000 work Comedian – a banana canal taped to a wall that attracted attention at its 2019 Art Basel exhibition.