Television arts celebrity Loyd Grossman O.B.E. presented the 2003 Friends of Battersea Park Sculpture Award, a cheque for £1,000, to 37-year-old sculptor Andrew Broadbent on 1st September. Broadbent’s winning entry, “F-1,” is an assemblage of two pieces of cast, welded aluminum, the culmination of his two years’ study of foundry work at London’s Royal College of Art Sculpture School. It will remain on display in the Park for one year.
F-1, Broadbent explained, is a term used in plant breeding. “It’s the plant produced when you cross two different varieties,” he said. “That first generation can never then be replicated because it was born of two completely different parents.” He said the piece is the product of “a match between engineering and biology.”Grossman, who is Chairman of the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association, as well as the host of the television series, “The History of British Sculpture,” said F-1 “is kind of bio-morphic; it reminds me a bit of a chain of DNA. But I tend to think it doesn’t matter if we understand what the artist intended, as long as we engage with a work in some way.”Battersea Park has long been a showcase for outdoor sculpture, it boasts a Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, among other works. This year marks the eighth year of the Friends’ award. “We believe we are the only Friends in the country which give a sculpture award,” said Philip Wright, chairman. “The Friends of Battersea Park are attempting to keep that tradition alive.”Tradition, however, does not necessarily mean “traditional.”
Last year’s winner, “Reborn,” a massive, squatting, humanoid figure by John Summers, attracted the vituperation of none other than the arts critic and aesthete Brian Sewell, who called it “rubbish,” and asked if it had been made out of ice-cream jelly. But Loyd Grossman does not share that approach to art appreciation. “What people tend to lose sight of is that you don’t have to like a work of art,” he said. “It’s meant to just engage you. “For a whole year, visitors to Battersea Park will be engaging in discussions about this work, which gives encouragement to artists like Andrew Broadbent. That’s what’s so great about sculpture.”