Ivor Braka, the millionaire art dealer, who has recently been involved in the sale of works by Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon, has taken guerilla gardening to another level by installing several sculptures in a garden behind his Victorian house in Knightsbridge. The sculptures are works created by Antony Gormley and Tracey Emin. Both pieces of work are exceptional in size and need supports just to keep them standing. Needless to say, these are not your average garden variety gnomes. The piece by Gormley entitled “Figure” measures an modest six feet tall and is similar to work that sold at Christie’s last year for £200,000. The prices of both pieces by Emin and Gormley are estimated around a grand total of £260,000, which is more than double the price of the garden in which they are currently located.
While all of the figures and money surrounding the sculptures are thrilling enough, Braka has found himself in a stand off with locals, and now with the Kensington and Chelsea council. It has come to light that Braka’s neighbours, who include Samantha and David Cameron are not pleased with Braka’s decision to launch his guerilla gardening career within their perceptive range, and have lodged a formal complaint to have the sculptures removed.
Mr. Braka has not only taken it upon himself to publicly display what some would consider to be priceless pieces of art for the betterment of the architectural landscape, he has also had a hand in supporting the Tory party by making donations roughly worth the price of both sculptures currently residing in the cozy garden space in Knightsbridge. On top of that he also supported Boris Johnson during his re-election bid for Mayor of London by donating a further £10,000 which could easily have been used to buy one of the support beams to help stabilize an additional sculpture.
In all fairness, the garden in which Braka has decided to place his sculptures is a communal one shared by other locals living in the area that wish to take advantage of the £100,000 eden paradise. Their complaint is based on the fact that they were not informed about the sculptures before the decision to install them was supported by the garden’s designer. Neighbours are used to Braka’s guerilla tactics and have previously voiced complaints when he decided to begin paving over the garden. The police were called in by a neighbour and they issued a harassment warning to Braka. Not to be outdone, Braka responded with a retrospective permission application which granted him the steps from his house to the garden. Time will tell if Braka’s guerilla campaign has worked and the sculptures in the garden will be allowed to stay. A decision about the location of the pieces is not to be finalized until later this summer. Words: Portia Pettersen Photo: Is this the new face of insurgency?