Artist's high-rise piano drop falls flat with residents

By Charlotte Oliver, July 17, 2014
Catherine Yass was stopped from using Balfron Tower

Catherine Yass was stopped from using Balfron Tower

A Turner Prize-nominated artist has been forced to cancel plans to drop a piano from the top of a block of flats after residents complained.

Catherine Yass, 51, wanted to push the instrument from the top of the empty 27-storey Balfron Tower in Poplar, east London, as part of an art project.

But the Poplar Housing and Regeneration Community Association stepped in after receiving a petition signed by more than 250 people accusing Ms Yass of anti-social behaviour.

Andrea Baker, director of housing, said: "We've listened to the concerns and as a result the project will not be going ahead."

Ms Yass said she was disappointed but did not blame anyone for the decision. "I wanted to make something about the difficulties of modernist architecture and, in a way, I walked straight into those very issues."

Catherine Yass

Catherine Yass

She said she originally had the idea while working on an artwork for the Jewish cultural centre, JW3. She buried photographs in the rubble of the building that previously occupied the centre's site in north-west London. "It was all about how something wonderful can come from something that is destroyed," she said.

Ms Yass hopes to find an alternative site to perform the drop.

Last updated: 4:45pm, July 17 2014