SHAPING THE CITY
The city of innovation, creativity and new thrills, London has ramped up the ante once again with attention currently on the city’s corporate heart. Set within the City of London and amongst some of its most-iconic architectural landmarks, Sculpture in the City is an annual public art programme bringing both established global artists and rising home-grown talent to the wider public’s attention.
Celebrating its ninth edition, Sculpture in the City is an absolute delight for the design senses and London tourists seeking to explore a different side of the Square Mile. The open-air exhibition not only enriches the workday experience of city workers, Sculpture in the City also draws cultural visitors into this some of London’s most-ancient parts.
This year’s event will see 19 magnificent artworks set against big hitters including 30 St Mary Axe (the Gherkin) and The Leadenhall Building (the Cheesegrater). Newly opened public spaces, such as, 70 St Mary Axe and Aldgate Square also feature. Ranging greatly in scale, form and medium, each piece has been carefully chosen to complement its equally iconic architectural backdrop. Artists from far and wide will participate with internationally renowned names, including, Nina Saunders, Lawrence Weiner, Nathan Coley and Jennifer Steinkamp.
Favourites include Salvatore Arancio’s It Was Only a Matter of Time Before We Found the Pyramid and Forced it Open (2017) located on 1 Great St Helen’s. Created under the effect of hypnosis, the piece presents totemic clay sculptures symbolising trees of Hawaii’s ‘Lava Trees State Park’. With this piece, Arancio aims to deliver a ‘healing area’ for visitors that will also enhance their creativity.
Nina Saunders presents Abstract Mass (2008) around the corner at Undershaft. A set of discarded, second-hand armchairs made out of concrete seeks to captures the original whilst play on expectations of comfort. The life-size pieces work with the surrounding buildings to further emphasise their scale.
Hot footing it to Leadenhall Market, Patrick Tuttofuoco delivers The Source (2017) where a captivating neon installation depicts the artist’s own hands hanging high above the historic site’s shops, cafés and bars.
Colour steals the show on Cullum Street by Marisa Ferreira’s Series Industrial Windows I (2018). The installation presents a series of windows constructed from coloured acrylic glass and stainless steel. For this piece Ferreira took inspiration from an industrial site located in Northern Portugal to provide reflection on how memories of our cities are often constructed through buildings.
In a similar vein, Jyll Bradley marks an epic return by Dutch / Light (for Agneta Block) (2017) positioned directly on Aldgate. Multicoloured sheets of Plexiglas are positioned on their side against one of the square’s south-facing walls whilst edge lit. The result is a spectacular open glasshouse-like structure that pays reference to Dutch Light – a horticultural revolution originating from Dutch growers that pioneered early glasshouse technology.
Jennifer Steinkamp presents Botanic (2019) as one of the only moving image installations to feature within the series. On display at 120 Fenchurch Street, Steinkamp’s took inspiration from botanical gardens to animate flowers and break them down into leaves, seeds, petals and twigs to once again bring them together again.
Nathan Coley’s The Same for Everyone (2017), located close to the Gerkin in Cunnard Place, is an ongoing spectacular of illuminated texts. Presenting both provocative and obscure phrases that are carefully positioned in their surroundings, the piece sets to influence how visitors may intercept his work.
Celebrating, the newly pedestrianised space outside 70 St Mary Axe, Elisa Artesero delivers The Garden of Floating Words (2017) - a neon poem appearing to float within garden foliage and the darkness. At day, the poems are presented on tall acrylic stands for the words alone to be an illuminating feature.
This weekend will see Sculpture in the City partner once again with the Whitechapel Gallery for the second edition of Nocturnal Creatures, taking place on Saturday 20 July. The late-night contemporary arts festival is a superb mix of music, performances, film, installations and culinary experiences. During which, Musicity x Sculpture in the City will hit the programme with a silent disco taking place at Leadenhall Market headlined by Mixmaster Morris.
And with more in store, later this year will see The Spectacle (2019) by Jonathan Trayte. The new artwork is set to be revealed at 100 Bishopsgate as an innovative site-specific installation incorporating seating, lighting and sculpture to perform as a collective meeting place or somewhere to simply pause within the confines of one of London’s busiest thoroughfares.
Sculpture in the City's artworks are in place from 27 June until April 2020. The exhibition is completely free and can be enjoyed 24/7 in the City that definitely doesn't ever sleep!
Sculpture in the City