This weekend i found out that there is a permanent sculpture by someone whose work that i admire greatly in Dublin. It pleases me that there are hidden treasures in city in which i have lived for 14 years. What does surprise me though is that this piece, called “Sean’s Spiral” by Richard Serra, has on occasion tried to break my neck.
It is a triangular spiral of corten steel embedded in a cobblestone street. I have been aware of the hazard that this piece presents for many years, as discovering it while working as a cycle courier it is always ridiculously slippy in the wet.
It is in an industrial area of the city outside James’ Gate Brewery. Installed for the ROSC international art show in 1984. Originally Serra had a circular design with two steel circles sixteen feet in diameter in mind for the piece, which would have made it a damn site easier to cycle over imho, but due to lack of the necessary engineering apparatus to bend this scale of steel in the country at the time, the design fell through.
Serra says of it… “What was very disheartening here is that I had an idea for making a circular piece in the street… a circle within a circle with a conjunction which I hadn’t done before. The people told me that they could build that, that with an 8” flange they could bend the steel into a circle. As it turned out, after telling me for a week that they could do it and ordering the material they couldn’t do it. I was fit to be tied! I had a 160-foot of material and they couldn’t bend it. I had the street open with people waiting for me to do something and about a day and a half to come up with an answer… I’m not going to know until the piece is actually embedded in the ground in the cobblestone there.”