A number of sculptures have been erected as part of Sculpture in the City 2013. I went up to the slightly dizzying heights of the 27th floor of Tower 42 and looked down on the heart of the City where they are situated.
We could see chairs appearing to fall off the roof of one of the buildings below, but this was to be explained later as we headed back to the ground for a tour from Sonia Solicari, head of Guildhall Art Gallery, who suggested pieces for the project.
This project shows the importance of art and culture in the economic and social life of London. Located in the dramatic surroundings of the eastern high-rise cluster, an area which sits so close to cultural areas such as Shoreditch yet is dominated by tall buildings and businesspeople. These sculptures work to enrich the streets and enliven public spaces for workers, residents and visitors alike.
The third year of this free outdoor exhibition sees the largest line-up yet, with nine contemporary art installations by world famous artists. First we were taken to the iconic Love sculpture by Robert Indiana. This sculpture, which can be found in cities throughout the world, works as an entrance to the sculpture site. This is the first of two pieces of work by Indiana, as round the corner sits his number sculpture, One Through Zero.
Next we headed to the base of the Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe) where pre-historic creatures now roam. This piece by Jake & Dinos Chapman, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, features three dinosaurs. The creatures are large, up to eight metres in length and seven metres high, but appear dwarfed by the architecture of city.
As you walk along the pavement Antony Gormley’s leaning human figures, Parallel Field, will become part of the crowd, and next to this five spiralling stainless steel ribbons unravel from the ground forming String Quintet, created by Shirazeh Houshiary. Just around the corner sits Ryan Gander’s large and sparkling, More Really Shiny Things that Don’t Mean Anything. This piece has already attracted a lot of attention – so definitely one not to miss! Beside this are two pieces by Keith Coventry; Bench and Mare Street, E8. These pieces were created from a disused bench and decaying sapling off the streets of East London.
Finally, the piece I found most interesting were the chairs which we had earlier looked down on from above. Now looking up at them, Richard Wentworth’s Twenty-Four Hour Flag features several red chairs jutting out the top of the Hiscox Building. The intent is to encourage people to look up, as he once said “The best place in cities is the skyline. It’s where ‘we’ meet ‘nature’. Look up!” The artist has subverted the intended use, but interestingly Sonia pointed out chairs are seen as meeting spaces at all levels as you look through the windows of surrounding offices.
The sculptures will be officially unveiled on 20 June, and remain for one year. Pick up a leaflet and take yourself on a guided tour – otherwise don’t forget to look out for them as you walk around the City of London.
For more information visit the City of London website