Giant spike sculpture remade after seagulls kept IMPALING themselves

Giant spike sculpture is remade after seagulls kept IMPALING themselves on it at a park in New Zealand

  • The Diminish and Ascend staircase is by Auckland-based artist David McCracken
  • It is made from welded aluminium and uses perspectives to appear never-ending
  • McCracken is considering replacing the tip with silicon to stop more birds dying

A sculpture that has impaled at least two birds on its spike at Christchurch’s Botanic Gardens will be altered to stop further deaths, the artist said.

David McCracken’s Diminish and Ascend staircase was installed in the middle of a lake at the gardens in 2016, and is designed to create the illusion of a stairway leading from the lake into the sky.

Auckland-based McCracken said he had been told two seagulls had flown into the end of the sculpture – the point where the staircase and the sky meet – and impaled themselves on the spike. 

The Diminish and Ascend sculpture located in Kiosk Lake within the Christchurch Botanic Gardens creates the illusion of a staircase to the sky rising out of the lake

‘It’s not really the image you want – dead birds bleeding down the end of the sculpture,’ he told the New Zealand news website Stuff. 

‘If somebody has a photo of it I’d really like to see it.

‘I can only assume the birds flew straight at it and were not able to see it. Obviously I have to do something about it.’

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McCracken said one solution would be to remove the welded aluminum tip, replace it with soft silicone and paint it to match.

The eye-catching sculptural installation was created in 2014 and uses perspectives to create the optical illusion of a never-ending staircase. 

It was brought to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens in 2016 as part of the Scape public art season, and before that it had been on show in Sydney and on Waiheke Island.

The artist is considering replace the aluminium tip with silicon and repainting it to stop the needless deaths of birds who fly into its spike

The local council voted to make it a permanent feature of the garden’s lake on Thursday.

However, Stuff reported that some Councillors were concerned at the steep cost of maintaining the $192,000 piece, which will be between $700 and $760 a month as contractors must wade into the middle of the lake twice a week to waterblast the artwork and remove bird droppings. 

The fund is part of the council artworks budget, but the high cost of ‘Diminish and Ascend’ maintenance comes at the expense of other pieces, according to the council citizens and community principal advisor Brent Smith. 

Cr Tim Scandrett said although the piece had been a gift to the council, it was in danger of becoming a ‘poisoned chalice’. 

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