A SPINNING column of cloud rising up from the Mersey, commissioned as part of cultural celebrations surrounding the Olympics, will be delayed until next year.
Artist Anthony McCall’s Column was due to take shape earlier this year as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
Then it was featured in the programme of the Liverpool Biennial, which runs until November 25.
But the ambitious £500,000 project has been beset by technical and other challenges, and last week Arts Council England announced it would not happen this year.
The arts body also confirmed it would not be investing any extra money in the project.
But, in a statement, it added: “Even though Column hasn’t yet been achieved in the way we’d hoped, we do still think it is possible.
“We will continue to support the production team to make it happen. They have accounted for the technical problems they have faced.
“It’s a groundbreaking structure and these are uncharted technical waters, but the theory and science behind it has a sound foundation.”
McCall revealed plans for the three-mile high spinning column of cloud, which would be visible for up to 60 miles, in October, 2009.
Since then, he has been working with scientists, engineers and construction experts to turn the plan into a reality.
The Column was due to be in place by the end of last year.
Then there were delays while it waited for planning permission and concerns about aircraft safety to be addressed.
In August, the mechanism needed to create the giant artwork was towed across the Mersey to the East Float at Wirral, where technical adjustments have been made and ongoing trials are taking place.
Mr McCall said: “I’m grateful to Arts Council England for its continuing trust and support, especially during the unexpectedly attenuated process of winning the approval of numerous regulatory agencies.
“Fortunately, since passing those tests, my colleagues and I have been able to focus exclusively on refining the piece itself. Our aim, as before, is to produce a slim, vertical column of cloud that will rise, spinning, into the Merseyside sky.”