Apollo Magazine

Uri Geller leaves his spoon by the Thames

'You can take my spoon, but you’ll never bend my creative freedom!'

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Follow @Rakewelltweets

Rakewell envies and admires a polymath. From Leonardo to Elon Musk, it is the inter-disciplinarians who have steered humankind onward and upward. He was thus cheered by last Sunday’s news that Ali Baba founder and internet shopping mogul Jack Ma’s painting Paradise fetched an eye-watering $5.4 million at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong. Verily, readers, the age of the new interdisciplinarian has dawned.

But as anyone keeping tabs on celebrity spoon-bender Uri Geller will be aware, Ma is not the only millionaire moonlighting as an artist.

According to his website, the young Uri was ‘mentored’ by no less than moustache-twiddling surrealist Salvador Dalí, and has since turned his healing hand to a wide range of styles, from painting to drawing to sculpture to ceramics. He’s even designed his own range of jewellery. The Rake kicks himself for his ignorance: if only he’d known before proposing to Mrs Rakewell.

#Kelloggs Throne

A photo posted by Uri Geller (@theurigeller) on Jun 4, 2015 at 5:29am PDT

Alas, it seems that like Anish Kapoor and Daniel Buren last month, Geller’s art has brought him into conflict with the authorities. The dispute emerged after councillors in the Berkshire village of Sonning-on-Thames objected to a sculpture the self-styled ‘mystifier, author and TV personality’ had erected on the Thames Path, allegedly without permission. Geller had conceived the sculpture as a parting gift to Sonning, his adopted hometown of 30 years, which he has now left to return to his native Israel. He commissioned the work – a red structure in the form of one of his trademark warped spoons – from blacksmith Paul Wells in order to ‘remind people Uri Geller used to walk along this path’.

Whether or not the people of Sonning needed the reminder is a moot point, but Wokingham Borough Council certainly didn’t think so. It appears that despite claiming he had received the blessing of the local Parish, Geller had not applied for planning permission. Now, unless he backs down and follows procedure, the statue will be torn down.

But Geller has stood firm. In a Churchillian statement, he offered a defiant message to the powers that be: ‘If the council do decide the statue must be removed for planning reasons, my message to them is: “You can take my spoon, but you’ll never bend my creative freedom!”’

As for the aesthetic worth of the ‘Sonning Spoon’, Geller describes it as a ‘totally one-of-a-kind piece of art’ – which is one way of putting it. Another, less complimentary view was found daubed onto the sculpture itself this morning: ‘another pile of crap left on the Thames Towpath’.

As to the Spoon’s fate, Rakewell can only cite Golda Meir’s response when asked to predict the future of Israel: ‘Don’t ask me – ask Uri Geller!’

Got a story for Rakewell? Email rakewell@apollomag.com.

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