Monument to the Third Millennium Transcript

Audio Transcript

Monument to the Third Millennium by Adrian Moakes
Duration: 03:11


Monument to the third Millenniumby Adrian Moakes was commissioned in 1999 and developed during a residency at the University of Salford.

Artist (00:10)
They had put me in this area which was called The Glass Box Gallery, just a little way up from Peel Park. It’s literally a glass box in the middle of the atrium entrance to all the different departments of the university. So I was like an artist in a fish tank basically. For three months I actually invited students in and we gradually got together a core group of seven students who were very interested in public art and sculpture which was a great collaborative effort between myself and the students and a couple of the fine art degree staff there.

The idea came from the River Irwell’s rather murky past and it’s more recent transformation.

The River Irwell at Salford in Victorian times and right up to about 1930 was very polluted. It used to cause floods into Peel Park every couple of years. There are actually stone flood markers in Peel Park with the level of six to eight feet of what would have been really strong affluent washing over the riverbank. I think it was in the 1940s; they started to clean it all up. It’s now a beautifully clean and productive river with lots of flora and fauna actually thriving there. The cleanliness and the fantastic environment that the River Irwell had become really inspired myself and my group of students to design something which was going to be a monumental celebration of this rebirth of the river.

The result is a joyous celebration and a nod to another earlier sculptor.

It’s five metres tall and about two metres diameter at the base. It incorporates a seating area because I love functional sculptures as well purely aesthetic ones. The sculpture is actually an outer latticework of bent steel, which represents water shooting up in a sort of vortex. Within that was a great big cone of gold painted fish. There must be about 300 fish in there, which I made. They all shoot up through this vortex of water as if they are really springing to life like a vertical shoal that is taking off.

I employed my brother to help with the fabrication at my workshop in Manchester as well. It was a very sort of nice local job, local suppliers and paint spray people and transport people, things like this, a very sort of local effort.

It was actually inspired as well by a classic old sculpture by a Russian artist called Vladimir Tatlin who in the 1920s made quite an enormous model, a mock-up of a sculpture called Monument to the Third Internationaland it was to go at a great big fair in Moscow but was never built and I just always loved this piece of work. I tied the two things together so my sculpture as well as being a celebration of the nice clean environment to a river is actually in homage to Tatlin as well.


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