Experts are to assess whether a “lost” sculpture recently installed in a city pond has been damaged after people climbed on it when the water froze over.
Kinetic art piece Three Right Angles Horizontal by internationally-renowned artist George Rickey was removed from public display in Glasgow 26 years ago as local children had started to use it as play equipment.
It was thought the piece had been lost but it was recently found in storage and was installed in the duck pond in Queen’s Park in the southside of Glasgow in December.
However, during the recent cold snap the pond froze over and was thronged with people skating, sledging and playing ice hockey.
There are fears the sculpture may have been damaged after some people were seen climbing and sitting on the artwork, which has three large L shapes that all revolve through 360 degrees.
Glasgow City Council now plans to assess the piece as soon as possible.
A council spokesman said: “We are concerned there has been damage to the sculpture after people were seen sitting and climbing on it during the recent freeze.
“While the pond was frozen over it was not safe for our staff to access the sculpture to undertake a check.
“But now that a thaw is under way we hope to assess the condition of the sculpture as soon as possible.”
The artwork was removed from Festival Park in Glasgow in June 1994 after a month of being on display as local children had started to play on it.
It was thought the piece had been lost and Rickey feared it had been destroyed, but the sculpture, known as “Triple L”, had actually gone into safe storage in the city’s Bellahouston Park, before being moved to a facility in East Kilbride.
It was traced during a recent audit which confirmed the work remained in Glasgow City Council’s possession, and it was decided to return it to public view.
The sculpture was always intended to be sited within a still water feature, although it has also been installed on dry land
Late artist Rickey was American but spent much of his childhood growing up in Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute.
His son Philip visited Glasgow in 2019 to participate in early work to restore the sculpture.
Three Right Angles Horizontal originally formed part of a major exhibition of Rickey’s work that was held in Glasgow in 1982, which was the year of his 75th birthday.
At that time it was made of wood but by 1988, with the wooden version deteriorating badly, it was agreed that a metal version should be cast as a replacement.
A new version was created which was eventually purchased by the then Glasgow District Council in November 1991.
Rickey’s work continues to be well regarded around the world with 80 pieces on public display in Germany alone, the council said.
Another of his kinetic sculptures, Three Squares Gyratory 1, can be seen in the West Quadrangle at Glasgow University, while his work is also on display at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.