I checked out the Sculpture In The City 2022 sculpture trail earlier today and was pleasantly surprised. The 19 works of art have been placed in public spaces since 22 June 2022. They will continue to be displayed until 1 April next year.
Very conveniently, they can all be found within a condensed part of the City of London, roughly in a triangle between the following three tube stations: Bishopsgate, Aldgate, and Monument. Bank, Tower Hill, Farringdon, Moorgate, and several other stations are also very close. To walk past all of the Sculpture In The City 2022 works takes between 45 minutes and two hours.
I chose to take the train to Monument, so this is where my walk started. Should you arrive at a different station, you might hopefully still find this blog post useful. Just dive in wherever your drop-off point is closest to and continue to go back to it after you reached my finish point.
SCULPTURE IN THE CITY 2022 ONLINE GUIDE AVAILABLE
There is a brilliant app called Bloomberg Connects, which I’d highly recommend you download. It includes information on the Sculpture In The City 2022 artwork and an interactive map, among others.
SHEZAD DAWOOD, INVASION
I walked up Gracechurch Street until I reached Leadenhall Market, then turned right into the Market. Once you reach the centre, you see Invasion by Shezad Dawood on the far side in front of you, near the ceiling. It is a monster-like neon-sculpture that explores how video games and sci-fi films have been used as war propaganda, in particular in relation to the U.S. attempting to influence Pakistani youths.
GUILLAUME VANDAME, SYMBOLS, AT SCULPTURE IN THE CITY 2022
From here, you turn south again and you’ll find ‘symbols’, by Guillaume Vandame. His work consists of 30 unique flags from the LGBTQ+ community. From the original 1978 design to the more ‘inclusive’ “progress” iteration of 2018. They are meant to represent the diversity of gender, sexuality, and desire. Fair enough.
BRAM ELLENS, ORPHANS
This sculpture, consisting of three pieces, is entirely created from old paintings that had been discarded by the heirs when their owners had died.
CLAUDIA WIESER, GENERATIONS (PART 2)
The work consists of two collages glued to the bottom sides of the two freestanding escalators at the Leadenhall Building. They combine fictive, biographical, historical narratives, textures, architectural elements. Passers-by automatically become part of the artwork.
EMMA SMITH, WE
This large-scale neon-sign reads “WE ARE ALL ONE” in red, capital letters. It switches to “WE ARE ALONE.” The guide informs us that “while offering two seemingly contrasting texts through the same sign, the work also offers a paradox. That if we are all ‘one’, one is a multitude. And if ‘we’ are alone, to be alone is a shared experience.”
JESSE POLLOCK, THE GRANARY, AT SCULPTURE IN THE CITY 2022
One can argue about how original this roughly 30-year old artist is. That said, I found ‘The Granary’ very easy on the eye. It is my favourite sculpture of SITC.
What we are seeing is a life-sized replica of a traditional English grain store. Granaries are an ‘archetypal structure of agrarian and pastoral life.’ From the app guide we learn that the artist finished it in ‘pearlescent candy orange, to represent the desire to return to an idyllic, rose-tinted past.’
UGO RONDINONE, SUMMER MOON
One of the most impressive sculptures, in my view, is this 2011 exhibit. It belongs to a long-running series of aluminium sculptures of olive trees, painted white. According to Rondinone, ‘through a cast olive tree you can not only experience the lapse of real time, that is lived time, frozen in its given form.’ But through this transformation there is also a differently calibrated temporality. ‘Time can be experienced as a lived abstraction. The shape is formed by the accumulation of time and wind force.’ (Quote from the BC app text.)
OLIVER BRAGG, IN LOVING MEMORY
On 7 locations spread out all over the City, little engraved brass plaques have been placed on various wooden park benches. The only one I noticed is the one close to Rondinone’s Summer Moon, right by the church. It reads “In loving memory of a loving memory.” Others have different wordings, such as “In loving memory of Stuart Spittle, who spouted preposterous piffle” and so on…
We learn that Bragg’s project focuses on the everyman, the natural environment and memories to a place and memory itself. The plaques have been created to mimic the ones that often adorn benches to memorialise or pay homage to a specific person. However, these plaques here are ‘in loving memory’ of a made-up person, place, or abstract idea.
EVA ROTHSCHILD, COSMOS
The sculpture is composed of three 3.5m high slatted structures which lean into and support each other. They are painted black on the exterior and sprayed in different colours within. Rothschild said about this artwork, that “the external piece is quite forbidding. Its black shiny surface is like a set of disruptive gates.” (Quote from the QC app guide.)
SARAH LUCAS, SANDWICH, AT SCULPTURE IN THE CITY 2022
When the janitor saw me taking pictures of the sandwich sculpture made of concrete, he came over and told me a funny story. In June, when the sculpture had been placed in its current location, he had received a call from one of the managers of the financial firm, whose offices are in the building next to the sculpture. She had mistaken the artwork for a disused and discarded mattrass and asked him to collect it and dispose of it.
Slightly reminiscent of Joseph Beuys’ ‘Fat Corner’/’Fettecken,’ which consisted of butter that had been smeared onto the wall of Düsseldorf Academy of Art, about 2 meters below the ceiling, then left to go rancid. Cleaners removed the grease stain from the wall, believing it to be dirt rather than art. The cleaning company was forced to pay the equivalent of £30,000 to the owner of the piece, but the work was gone for good.
The sandwich sculpture clearly differs from traditional public sculpture. It depicts a mundane object, ‘its horizontal configuration opposes veneration and pomposity’, as the app guide quite rightly explains. Through the sense of hyperbole, the sculpture ‘simultaneously celebrates and satirises the commonplace foodstuff as a proletariat symbol.’
VICTOR SEAWARD, NESTS
These fantasy fruit sculptures dangle from a tree outside 99 Bishopsgate. They are intended to be decorative, but also serve as actual nesting places for birds.
EMMA LOUISE MOORE, MISS
Carved from Carrara marble, this aesthetically pleasing sculpture consists of two parts. The shape of the surface of the stone and the hole in one of the blocks is supposed to make the sunlight bounce. The viewer is encouraged to pause and observe.
ALICE CHANNER, BURIAL
Perhaps the least visually pleasing sculpture of the collection, ‘Burial’ looks a little bit like giant dog poop.
MIKE BALLARD, ROUGH NECK BUSINESS
The artwork consists of hoardings sourced from several sites across London. They include blue hoardings from Dalston and Hackney Wick and green hoardings from the Olympic Park. The artist is taking this material, that normally represents a threshold of ownership and protection of property, and turns it into something new. He wants the viewer to observe the ‘witness marks’ of the time it stood on the street.
ELISA ARTESERO, THE GARDEN OF FLOATING WORDS
This artwork consists of a poem written in neon sign posts that are partially covered by a bush.
BOSCO SODI, UNTITLED
Personally, I really liked this work, which consists of two separate bronze columns. They reminded me a bit of Giacometti’s sculptures of skinny humans with big feet. We learn that Sodi created the sculpture by collecting the leftover materials from his paintings (sawdust mixed with pigment and white glue) and layering them on top of each other. In a last step he cast them in bronze.
PEDRO PIRES, HABITAT
The sculpture seeks to provoke thoughts about the imbalance of habitats and the environment in general in today’s world.
JUN T. LAI, BLOOM PARADISE, AT SCULPTURE IN THE CITY 2022
A colourful finish to the sculpture walk, Bloom Paradise consists of three separate sculptures. They symbolise hope and love. From the app guide we learn that the artist’s intention was to bring greater positivity into the pandemic-stricken world and release healing energy. Fair enough.
I greatly enjoyed walking from sculpture to sculpture for around 90 minutes. As you would expect, tastes are different and not all works were to my liking. That said, I would highly recommend this walk to anyone who is interested in sculpture. 4.25 out of 5 in my book.
Looking for more blog posts about London art? Check out my write-ups on this year’s Frieze Sculpture, Frameless, the immersive art experience, last year’s Frieze London art fair, JR Chronicles at the Saatchi Gallery, A.A. Murakami at Superblue, Wayne McGregor & Random International’s No One Is An Island Dance Performance, and Anish Kapoor at the Lisson Gallery.