Sculpture Moved To Avoid Collisions with People Texting

The sculpture is paying the price for people's carelessness.

Sophie Ryder, The Kiss, at Salisbury Cathedral.
Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

Artist Sophie Ryder probably didn’t intend for her giant sculpture of two clasped hands to provide a teachable moment about the dangers of texting while walking, but it did exactly that.

Standing 20 feet high and made from steel wire, The Kiss bestrode a walkway on the grounds of Salisbury Cathedral, ninety miles west of London. People were knocking into the arms while walking through the archway.

It’s the sculpture that’s paying the price for people’s carelessness, though.

“We had to move ‘the kiss’ because people were walking through texting and said they bumped their heads! Oh well!!” Ryder wrote on Facebook this week. The sculpture had been in place for only a few days.

“Sorry some people are complete numpties,” said one of her fans, using a time-honored Scottish expression for “a stupid or ineffectual person.”

Sophie Ryder, <i>Rising</i>, 2013.<br>Photo: Ash Mills. Courtesy Salisbury Cathedral.

Sophie Ryder, Rising, 2013.
Photo: Ash Mills. Courtesy Salisbury Cathedral.

Curated by Jacquiline Creswell, the Cathedral’s visual arts advisor, “Relationships: An exhibition by Sophie Ryder” also includes figures depicting Minotaurs and another human-animal hybrid, namely the “lady hare,” which depicts a crouched female form with the head of a rabbit.

The exhibition was intended to “challenge us to consider how we interact with each other and our own loved ones,” which is ironic, since the pedestrians’ mishaps provided a shining example of how often our interactions are tied to glowing screens.

Ryder, born in London in 1963, studied painting at the Royal Academy of Arts. In recent years, she’s had exhibitions at venues including Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Imago Galleries in California, and the Frederick Meijer Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Relationships: An exhibition by Sophie Ryder” remains on view through July 3.

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