Art For London 2012

While the logo for the London 2012 Olympic Games looks like a poor attempt at solving a Chinese puzzle and, according to cultural critic Stephen Bayley the mascots Wenlock and Mandeville look like ‘distorted, debased smurfs‘, there is some hope out there for those who of us who have a love of good art and design and are also interested in the 30th Olympiad.

art for london 2012The London Transport Museum has a new display of posters that have been used to promote sporting activity over the years, including one which was commissioned for the 1948 Olympic Games in London. This new exhibition runs until 13 September at the museum in Covent Garden.

Over in trendy Hoxton Square, the KK outlet gallery will be hosting an Olympics exhibition from 3 August entitled ‘Art Relay‘ – passed along a chain of six teams of four artists, writers, designers and film-makers the resulting works are collaborations on themes relating to the London 2012 Olympics. The Bridle/Studio Goodone team have created a piece that looks at surveillance and security – the Olympic mascots now have cameras for faces, recording everything they see. Keetra Dean Dixon and Timothy Goodman have created a piece that looks at both belief and doubt – emotions that every athlete will face as they go for gold in the competition.

If you’re lucky enough to have tickets for events within the Olympic Park itself, there are several new installations to check out while you’re there:

  • RUN – this nine-metre high piece by Monica Bonvinci spelling out the word ‘RUN’ is made of glass and stainless steel – its mirrored surface reflects passers-by during the day but at night it glows with internal lighting.
  • The History Trees – after the games the seven large trees placed at one of the Olympic Park gates will have seven large rings placed at their crowns, inscribed with words describing the area’s local history – over time the trees and the rings will fuse together, creating a permanent memory of the London 2012 Games in their branches.
  • Steles (Waterworks) – these floating artworks are dotted along the Waterworks River – vividly coloured, they are reminiscent of marker buoys, and after the games they will have a functional use as boat moorings.
  • The Spark Catchers – etched into the wooden surface of one of buildings that will house an electrical transformer after the Games, Spark Catchers is a poem by local poet Lemn Sissay, one of the winners of the Winning Words programme, about the Bryant and May match factory which still sits on the edge of the park.
  • The Fun Palace – another Winning Words winner, Caroline Bird’s piece on the life of Joan Littlewood, doyenne of the Theatre Royal Stratford East, is also inscribed into the surface of some of the electrical equipment scattered around the park.
  •  One Whirl – forming the surface of one of the new bridges that spans the waterways within the Olympic Park, Martin Richman’s piece One Whirl is a spiralling artwork made to evoke the passage of water through the park, and is made of different sorts of recycled glass.
  • Fast, Faster, Fastest - Jason Bruges Studio have created an interactive lighting installation across one of the bridges – after the 100 metres finals the chasing lights on the bridge will move at the speed of the fastest runners in the competition.

I’ve been unable to get hold of a day pass to enter the Olympic Park, so if you are going and manage to capture any of these installations do pop a link in the comments below so other readers can see these new pieces.

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About The Londoneer

Pete Stean is a keen blogger, amateur photographer, singer and ham radio enthusiast in his spare time...