Now in its sixth year, Sculpture in the City, the City of London’s annual public art programme, launches tomorrow with the first ever screening of Petroc Sesti’s digital piece Solar | Relay – one of 17 works of art in the open-air sculpture take-over of the Square Mile, Sculpture in the City. The project initiative aims to enhance our urban environment with cutting-edge contemporary works from leading artists. Set amongst London’s iconic architectural landmarks, such as Norman Foster’s Gherkin, The Leadenhall Building (aka The Cheesegrater), and the Lloyd’s building by Richard Rogers, this open-air exhibition not only enriches the workday experience of City workers but draws cultural visitors into this most ancient part of the city.
The annual exhibition of contemporary works sites dynamic and exciting works within the City of London’s iconic architectural landmarks. Works in the 2016 exhibition range greatly in scale, from a seven-meter high, cast-iron head, by Jaume Plensa, to delicate led paper-chains, by Peruvian artist Lizi Sánchez. Sesti’s digital installation showcases 12 months of Solar activity in a unique LED installation: towering 35 square metre LED screens, relaying the artwork in 4K resolution for the viewer. The work features a dynamic representation of chaotic expression and raw energy as part of ongoing research into creating contained environments as part of the Solar activity. The inclusion of this digital piece – the first of its kind to be part of the programme – indicates a new, and exciting direction for Sculpture in the City.
With its largest selection of works to date, Sculpture in the City has built a rapport with many who live, work and visit the area. In the past six years, Sculpture in the City has gained attention for bringing both established international artists and rising stars to a broad public. With works juxtaposed by Norman Foster’s Gherkin, The Leadenhall Building (aka The Cheesegrater), and the Lloyd’s building by Richard Rogers, this open-air exhibition not only enriches the workday experience of City workers but draws cultural visitors into this most ancient part of the city.
Participating artists for Sculpture in the City 2016 are: Anthony Caro, Benedetto Pietromarchi, Enrico David, Gavin Turk, Giuseppe Penone, Huma Bhabha, Jaume Plensa, Jürgen Partenheimer, Lizi Sánchez, Mat Collishaw, Michael P Lyons, Petroc Sesti, Recycle Group, Sarah Lucas, Ugo Rondinone, William Kentridge & Gerhard Marx.
Mat Collishaw’s piece, Magic Lantern Small, is a grand scale zoetrope – one of the earliest moving image machines. The piece creates the effect of moths fluttering within the dome, around an oversized lantern. It will sit majestically next to the Gherkin, playing off the similarities between the work and the building’s reflective and glass qualities.
Over nine metres tall, Giuseppe Penone’s sculpture presents a bronze deciduous tree bearing the fruit of five river stones, nestled within its branches. Both the tree on which the sculpture is based and the river stones are local to the artist’s studio in Northern Italy.
Sarah Lucas’s bronze sculptures Florian and Kevin depict giant marrows, and are among the largest in a long line of bronze casts by the artist. The marrow functions as a symbol of growth, fecundity and the English pastoral tradition – evoking Harvest Festival cornucopias and country fair competitions – the placement of which provides a thought-provoking juxtaposition, bring in the City.
Instagram users are invited to take pictures with and of the sculptures tagging SITC @visitthecity. There will be monthly review of the photos by Sculpture in the City, who will announce a winner through our social media. Londonist is kindly supporting the competition through their social media while City AM will also publish the winner’s photo in print on their Diary page each month, to engage with the local readers and take the competition forward. Each winner will receive a signed copy of a print by one of the artists – the first of whom is Petroc Sesti.