Soviet Sculpture Unveiled in Citadel of CapitalismGRAHAM HEATHCOTE , Associated Press
May. 17, 1990 6:59 PM ET
LONDON (AP) _ A sculpture by Soviet artist Zurab Tsereteli was unveiled on a busy corner in London's financial district Thursday, and the proud sculptor proclaimed: ''We have stormed the citadel of capitalism.
His 6-foot-high bronze sculpture, titled ''Break the Wall of Distrust,'' depicts a young man breaching a wall. It was placed on Cannon Street, between St. Paul's Cathedral and the Bank of England.
Tsereteli, from Tbilisi, Georgia is widely acknowledged as the leading Soviet sculptor. He said he sketched the design for the piece two weeks before the Berlin Wall was broken Nov. 9, 1989.
''I think people of talent and culture pick up a sense of what's in the air before the rest of us,'' said a beaming Trevor Osborne, chairman of developers Speyhawk PLC, who commissioned the work for the corner of a new office block rented to a Dutch bank.
''To see a sculpture by a Soviet artist in the heart of the City of London is a novel development and a sign of the times, a sign of the great and positive changes in Europe,'' Leonid Zamyatin, Soviet ambassador in London, told a small gathering.
Zamyatin said he brought greetings to the ceremony from Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev and Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, a Georgian like the sculptor.
''Shevardnadze said he hopes this will be called Tbilisi Corner,'' Zamyatin said with a smile.
At the edge of the sidewalk, travelers in a red double-decker bus halted among taxis, trucks, vans and a Rolls-Royce, gazed out the windows at the crowd on the corner while messengers on motorcycles skittered in and out and a jack hammer drilled close by.
Richard Luce, arts minister in Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's business- oriented Conservative government, called it an honor and a privilege to unveil the sculpture.
''Millions of people sitting for hours in the London traffic will have the opportunity to look at it,'' he said.
'I have been to Tbilisi, which is a wonderful city in a wonderful country. The timing by Speyhawk is quite brilliant. There are few better ways of developing better relations than through art and culture,'' Luce said.
Osborne was looking for a sculptor to decorate his new building when he was introduced to Tsereteli by Connie Middleton, who had met the artist in Tbilisi while arranging the first British auction of contemporary Soviet art.
''I signed the contract with the sculptor in my house on October 27, 1989, and I was amazed when the Berlin Wall was knocked down two weeks later,'' Osborne said.
The new sculpture is Tsereteli's first in Britain. His works are on show throughout his native Caucasus and on Soviet Embassy and consulate buildings in Japan, Brazil and the United States.