Fires of Industry
Three huge steel wedges have been placed across 33m of the roundabout. Their massive forms convey something of the confidence with which the Victorians built their industrial buildings. They also recall the forms of Russian Constructivist art, notably El Lissitsky's poster in support of the Bosheviks during the Civil War, which showed a red wedge successfully infilitrating a white form representing the forces of reaction. Their tilted alignment alludes to the local topography and geology, underlining the importance of coal and limestone working in the area. Each wedge has an arch shape cut out of the highest part, with the structures echoing the forms of the Seven Sisters limestone caverns at Wrens Nest. Next to each arch is a panel with a cut out design, representing a local industry. These are (1) gear wheels and pithead winding wheels (mining), (2) chain links (chain-making), and (3) a bottle shape surrounded by stylised flames (glass making). The small cut-outs representing the flames have been filled with coloured glass 'sparks' in a further reference to glass-making in the area. The red tones of the sculptures symbolise the Fires of Industry, as do the predominately red and purple-leaved plants on the roundabout.
This work is one of a series commissioned for Dudley's new Southern By-pass. For the driver or pedestrian, the road will provide a passage through time, whereby each artwork is loosely inspired by an era. The three panels recall aspects of Dudley's industrial history.
The three panels represent the engineering, chain-making and glass industries of the area.
PMSA recording information