9 August 2012

AMY'S LONDON: GOLD MEDAL ART

Anthea+Nicholas2 KlausWeber3 Gary Webb4 SarnathBanerjee2 
From the top: Installation by Anthea Hamilton and Nicholas Byrne, Fountain by Klaus Weber, Sculpture park by Gary Webb, billboard illustrations by Sanarth Banerjee, photos: Amy Sherlock

With all eyes currently on London, it is worth drawing their attention to some of the events that are happening alongside the games as part of the London 2012 festival, the grande finale of a four-year long, publicly funded Cultural Olympiad. From a line-up featuring boats, puppets, film on bus shelters and an inflatable Stonehenge, a podium position should be reserved for Frieze Projects East. Commissioned by the not-for-profit arm of the ever-growing commercial-critical complex that bought you the art fair(s) and the magazine, these six artists’ projects are spread across the Olympic boroughs of East London. In a dialogue with the crowded Olympic venues, each explores art as a collective event by playing with the different kind of public or communal spaces that art can occupy.

A stone’s throw away from the stadium in an otherwise empty storehouse, Klaus Weber’s Sandfountain flows almost-but-not-quite silently. In a brilliant inversion of the babbling levity of cascading water, the sand streaming from the top of this grandiose, three-tier fountain collects lumpily, forming uneven banks that collapse in erratic, unpredictable landslides. Divorced from the monumental grandeur of the public spaces to which is normally an accessory, the fountain’s decorative frivolity evokes a sense of futility and pathos. Elsewhere, Anthea Hamilton and Nicholas Byrne’s LOVE has repopulated an abandoned public bath house with giant inflatable sculptures which iconoclastically reference well known art works and imagery from the popular cultural imagination. And Sanarth Banerjee’s graphic illustrations, the Gallery of Losers (Non-Performers, Almost-Winners, Under-Achievers, Almost-Made-Its) dedicate billboards, public screens and local newspaper columns to that very British anti-hero – the also-ran. A timely tonic to the success fever currently sweeping the nation, Banarjee’s deadpan works reclaim the advertising billboard – a space from which dreams and ideals are sold to the masses – for the humdrum, banal and quotidian.

Frieze Projects East
various venues in East London
July 16 – August 31st

More information on the other projects and opening times at www.friezeprojectseast.org

Anthea+Nicholas3 KlausWeber2 Gary Webb2 SarnathBanerjee6 SarnathBanerjee7
From the top: Installation by Anthea Hamilton and Nicholas Byrne, Fountain by Klaus Weber, Sculpture park by Gary Webb, billboard illustrations by Sanarth Banerjee, photos: Amy Sherlock
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