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Wednesday, 8 May, 2002, 15:40 GMT 16:40 UK
Artist's fury over dumped sculpture
Reading Railway Station
The 40-foot high sculpture dominated the station
An internationally acclaimed artist has accused a rail company of "corporate vandalism" after one of his 60,000 sculptures was destroyed.

Alexander Beleschenko, who lives and works in Swansea, is considering legal action after the three-tonne, 40-foot high structure disappeared from Reading railway station.

Landfill site generic
The glass work is believed to have been dumped

Train operators First Great Western initially claimed the piece had "gone missing" but later admitted "it was probably in a skip or landfill site somewhere".

Mr Beleshenko is renowned for his glass works and boasts flagship sculptures at several prominent European landmarks.

The abstract sculpture for Reading station was commissioned by British Rail in 1989 and removed 10 years later.

Mr Beleschenko had been negotiating with First Great Western over the future of the glass work for over a year when he found it was missing from the station.

Just because a piece is not wanted does not mean it is worthless

Alexander Beleschenko, artist

"I discovered purely by chance as I was passing through Reading station one day and I saw that it has gone," he said.

"Their behaviour is outrageous. They told me the piece was irretrievable."

A spokesman for First Great Western has said the sculpture was removed "primarily for safety reasons".

Mr Beleschenko has said he is disappointed by the whole affair.

"It is an early piece that took me almost a year to create.

Southwark in London
Mr Beleschenko has work at several European landmarks

"Structural engineers made sure it was completely safe.

"I had offered to put it in storage but they just went ahead and chucked it without asking anyone.

"They haven't even apologised to me."

The artist's works include structures which decorate Canary Wharf, the City and the Science Museum.

He said there were alternative sites for the Reading structure.

"The German Glass Museum in Linnisch would have been happy to include it in their collection of 20th Century glass.

"Just because a piece is not wanted does not mean it is worthless."

Where I Live, South West Wales
See also:

07 May 02 | Arts
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