The London 2012 Festival opens with a bang and a bounce as Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller exhibits his life-size inflatable replica of Stonehenge. The work entitled ‘Sacrilege’ will ‘pop up’ for the first time at the National Botanical Gardens in Carmarthen to mark the opening day of the Cultural Olympiad.
The representation of one of the world’s seven wonders is an interactive outdoor installation and is a fully operational bouncy castle for adults and children alike. Jeremy Deller’s playful artwork will start its UK tour in Wales to launch the Festival and then travel to multiple sites across the UK, including London, during the Festival as part of the Mayor’s programme of free events taking place in every borough. This is the first of a series of pop up events taking place across the UK, with events including comedy gigs, visual art installations, music concerts, and outdoor events. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “This summer we are putting on a fantastic showcase of amazing artists and performers for the biggest festival of outdoor arts the capital has ever seen. It will be a wonderful melting pot of outstanding cultural talent from London and around the world, creating a lifetime of memories.”
Other events include: The first major survey of Damien Hirst’s work ever held in the UK, bringing together over 70 of the artist’s works including For the Love of God and other seminal pieces at Tate Modern (4 April – 9 September 2012). There is also an important exhibition of works by Tracey Emin, presented at the award-winning Turner Contemporary in her hometown, Margate. She Lay Down Deep Beneath The Sea contains a mixture of new and existing works exploring the themes of love, sex and romanticism (26 May – 23 September 2012).
Heatherwick Studio: Designing the Extraordinary, the first major solo exhibition from one of the most inventive and experimental British design studios practising today, also designers of the 2012 Olympic Cauldron, presented by the V&A as part of a season of events celebrating British design (31 May – 30 September 2012). A season of contemporary West African art and music entitled We Face Forward: Art from West Africa Today taking place across galleries, museums, music venues and public spaces in Manchester, including Manchester Art Gallery, Whitworth Art Gallery and Park, and Platt Hall Gallery of Costume (2 June – 16 September 2012). On 23 June, Seckou Keita, Senegalese virtuoso master of the Kora, and his band perform a free concert for the We Face Forward Olympic Torch Relay Party taking place after the Olympic torch passes through Manchester.
Welsh interdisciplinary artist Marc Rees will take a mobile art space made from a transformed DC-9 airplane, Adain Avion, on a tour around Wales in one of the twelve UK Arts Councils’ Artists Taking The Lead commissions. He is working with contemporary artists and local community groups to produce over 150 cultural activities that reflect the distinctive history and culture of each area, providing a succession of unique snapshots of Welsh culture. Adain Avion will visit Swansea’s National Waterfront Museum between Sunday 24 June and Sunday 1 July, Ebbw Vale The Works between Sunday 1 and Saturday 7 July, Llandudno Venue Cymru between Sunday 8 and Saturday 14 July, the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Llandow, Vale of Glamorgan between Saturday 4 and Saturday 11 August and Cardiff St Fagans National History Museum on Sunday 12 August.
The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012, created by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei, the design team responsible for the celebrated Beijing National Stadium that was built for the 2008 Olympic Games. This year’s Pavilion features eleven columns characterising each past Pavilion and a twelfth column representing the current structure, supporting a floating platform roof 1.4 metres above ground (1 June-14 October 2012). While outdoor sculptures by British artist Tony Cragg will be exhibited on the grounds of the Cass Sculpture Foundation in Goodwood, West Sussex (21 June – 4 November 2012). The Foundation is also presenting London’s first outdoor exhibition of Tony Cragg’s work on Exhibition Road (1 September – 25 November 2012).
Also launching on 21 June is Yoko Ono’s IMAGINE PEACE art installation, which will be unveiled on London 2012 Live Site screens, situated at multiple free outdoor venues in London including Hyde Park, Victoria Park, Walthamstow and Woolwich, and at venues throughout the United Kingdom. IMAGINE PEACE is Yoko Ono’s worldwide initiative of anti-violence, featuring the IMAGINE PEACE message translated into 24 world languages. This ongoing project uses the Internet, posters, thoughts, badges and a multitude of other media to communicate its message of peace to the global community. Yoko Ono stated: “Let us come together to realize a peaceful world”. A major exhibition of the artist’s work will also be on show at the Serpentine Gallery as part of the Festival. Tate Britain displays the Official Olympic and Paralympic Posters by leading artists including Fiona Banner, Michael Craig-Martin, Tracey Emin, Gary Hume, Sarah Morris, Bob and Roberta Smith, Martin Creed, Anthea Hamilton, Howard Hodgkin, Chris Ofili, Bridget Riley, Rachel Whiteread in a free exhibition (21 June – 21 September 2012).
Ruth Mackenzie, Director, Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival, said: “When the UK won the bid for the Olympics in 2005, we promised to return to Baron Pierre de Coubertin’s original idea of an Olympic Games based on the three pillars of sport, art and education. This summer, London 2012 Festival showcases the world’s greatest artists alongside the stars of the sports world, a once in a lifetime cultural experience to match the once in a lifetime visit of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to the UK.”