The picnic table which has been installed in the middle of
the Beech Leaf Stepping Stones sculpture in Mosgiel. The
sculpture features concrete leaves laid into the ground,
referencing the nearby beech tree, which is now surrounded
by a clutter of rubbish bins and signs. Photo by Linda
Public art might not always be about bums on seats, but
it shouldn't include picnic tables either, the Otago Sculpture
The trust has voiced concern after a Mosgiel art-lover
complained about the placement of a picnic table amid the
town's first piece of public art.
The Beech Leaf Stepping Stones sculpture, by
German-born artist Siegfried Koglmeier, was believed to be
the first piece of public art sponsored by the Dunedin City
It was installed on the corner of Gordon and Factory Rds, in
Mosgiel, in 1996, with its leaf-shaped concrete paving stones
designed to reference a nearby beech tree.
Mosgiel resident Jan Thomson, a member of the Taieri Arts
Group, contacted the Taieri Times to express concern
at the recent appearance of a picnic table on a concrete slab
in the middle of the sculpture.
''People might think 'so what' ... It's kind of the
principle of the thing, really,'' she said.
Otago Sculpture Trust executive member and former chairman
Peter Nicholls agreed, saying adding another ''element'' to
the work was insensitive.
The area now appeared neglected, with no plaque describing
the sculpture, and rubbish bins, a planter box, signs, bench
seats and now a picnic table all cluttering the area, he
''I would like all that stuff gone. It's meant to honour the
tree. That's what it's about. Now there's too much in the
Placing a picnic table in the middle of the sculpture's
leaves left it ''totally compromised'', and the artist
''wouldn't be happy at all'', he said.
Mosgiel Taieri Community Board chairman Bill Feather said the
table was installed as part of a board initiative to improve
It appeared to be well-used and he doubted the table had
damaged the sculpture's integrity, given public toilets were
also located nearby.
''As far as I'm aware we haven't upset it [the
sculpture]. We haven't moved it ... or done that kind of thing
The table was among items of furniture built for the board by
the Taieri Blokes Shed group and installed by the Taieri
Lions Club, at a total cost to the board of $5000, Mr Feather
However, the board may have found ''a loophole we missed'' by
not consulting the artist, whose location was unknown.
''Public art is foreign to us, really, in Mosgiel ... I can't
say we stopped to think about that,'' he said.
Dunedin City Council parks manager Lisa Wheeler said the
council had been aware of the sculpture when the picnic table
was being placed and did not think it damaged the sculpture's
''As far as we're aware there's been no displacement or
interruption to the pavers that make up the sculpture.''
There were no plans to move the table ''unless there's
concerns raised through the community board'', but
alternative suggestions were welcome, she said.