Artists Exhibitions News United Kingdom

Former YBAs and conceptual artists take part in London sculpture trail

Works by Damien Hirst, Gary Hume and Martin Creed will be installed along The Line

Hirst's Sensation, 2003, an oversized anatomical model, will go on show in east London at the end of summer © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2014

A candyfloss pink sculpture of a piece of skin by Damien Hirst, a massive steel girder by Martin Creed and a bundle of oversized limbs by Gary Hume are among the works due to be installed along a three-mile sculpture trail through east London. The London-born dealer Megan Piper has so far secured nine works for the trail, known as “The Line”, which will link the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with the O2 arena and is due to open at the end of summer.

The sculptures have been brought out of storage by the artists, their galleries and private collectors who are loaning them for two years, although Piper hopes to create a permanent outdoor exhibition with new works added every year. According to a spokeswoman for the project, The Line is not intended as a commercial platform.

Selected from 70 submissions by a panel that includes the Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger and the collector Anita Zabludowicz, other artists announced today, 11 July, include Eduardo Paolozzi, Sterling Ruby, Abigail Fallis, Tom Price, Thomson & Craighead and Piotr Uklanski.

With no public funding, the organisers raised £140,000 in less than eight weeks through crowdfunding, with donations coming from the Garfield Weston Foundation, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners Charitable Foundation and R. Todd Ruppert of Ruppert International, among others.

The film director Danny Boyle, who was the artistic director of the Olympic 2012 opening ceremony and is one of several stars to back the project, says: “The Olympics and the Paralympics were such a huge success. People wanted to feel a sense of belonging to the city. You’ve got to follow that up. The Line will be for everyone to enjoy. They’ll be able to say that this is something that came out of that wonderful festival we had. And it can live on.”

Update, 13 August 2014: The co-founders of The Line announced that, due to "logistical considerations and timings and after much deliberation", the project will be postponed until next year. "A decision has been made to avoid an autumn launch, which will be closely followed by the dark and cold of winter, and instead launch The Line in the Spring of 2015."

Martin Creed, Work No. 700, has been chosen for the sculpture trail. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth Photo: Hugo Glendinning
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16 Jul 14
0:31 CET


Given east London's long-standing diverse multicultural, multi-faith and multi-lingual history and heritage, spanning hundreds and hundreds of years, I do hope that this trail of public art will feature significant contributions by Britons of African and Asian descent, as well as artists who have made London their home from countries associated with the Asian, Caribbean, African, South American and Pacific/Oceanic diasporas. So far, the only names of artists that are being mentioned in this summary about the proposed trail are of European and North American descent, but - as the Whitechapel's history of exhibitions attests, and the recent presence of Sir Anish Kapoor's ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower (2012) symbolises - sculptures from artists with (historic and contemporary) links to the Global South are part and parcel of what east London has always represented. The capital's diverse, trans-national, cross-cultural and diasporic art audiences would (and should) expect nothing less...

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