'Disgusting' banner at Archway Bridge suicide spot was art stunt
PUBLISHED: 12:34 15 October 2014 | UPDATED: 12:34 15 October 2014
A tasteless banner that horrified victim's families when placed at a notorious suicide site was the work of a maverick art student.
The fake advert for windscreen repair company Autoglass, bearing the legend “for whatever life throws at you”, appeared at the Grade II listed structure last week, causing anger amongst relatives and safety campaigners.
But it turns out the banner was created by a student at Central St Martin’s for a project to “exploit a bridge’s qualities as a piece of media”.
The budding artist, who cannot be named for legal reasons, sent pictures of his handiwork to the Gazette under the guise of a concerned passer-by, but a disgusted fellow student has now revealed his identity.
The whistle-blower, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “It was a brief set to maximise a bridge’s potential in order to create an ad using any bridge, but he just took a sick approach I guess.
“I’m not quite sure what his intention was but I assuming he wanted lots of people to see it.
“I saw him quoted as a witness saying ‘it’s wrong’ when he was the person who executed it.
“Such disgusting behaviour, but it seems like he’s quite proud of what he’s done.
“It’s just so wrong for him to do this and pretend he didn’t.”
At least seven people have plunged to their deaths from the 19th-century bridge since 2010 and a long-running campaign to install new safety measures is underway.
Sue Hessel, one of the campaigners, said; “It’s not art - what possible artistic value has it got?
“It’s so insensitive to people who have mental health issues and their families.
“A lot of people have died at this bridge – who knows what anger this could have provoked?
“Central St Martin’s is a reputable college, why weren’t they taking responsibility?”
A spokesman for the college said: “We do not endorse this work and apologise to everyone who is offended by it.
“It has been taken down by the student concerned, who now understands that his actions were inappropriate.
“He had no intention of causing pain or upset.”
A spokesman for Autoglass said: “This distasteful signage was not produced, approved or in any way authorised by us.
“We are collaborating with the local authorities regarding this matter. We want to express our sympathies to anyone who has been personally affected by this.”
n For confidential emotional support in a crisis, contact the Samaritans around the clock on 08457 90 90 90.