Sculpture in the City 2016, 12th August

Sculpture in the City 2016 is a V shaped trail of about 20 artworks spread down along the A10 from Tower 42 and then up across the plazas of two more of London’s iconic skyscrapers whose culinary names and distinct shapes have made them familiar friends. There are great sculptures to see and, as I was to discover from a distance, it is also a great geography lesson of the City.

Going along the Thames towards Tower Bridge a few days later the three iconic buildings appeared in the distance and then proceeded as might be expected, to shift their relation to each other as I continued round a sweeping curve. The evening sun, in fact, was ricocheting off the long sloping glass face of The Cheesegrater, due to its southern facing aspect and close by to the rear were Tower 42 and St Mary’s Axe. (Cheesegrater, NatWest and Gherkin)

This constellation of three buildings formed a slowly rotating compass which constantly picked out the south as the burning red sunset lit up The Cheesgrater’s magnificent sloping facade. It also reminded me of Michael Lyon’s sculpture sited on ground level at that location. This artwork had been reached on the most unexpected part of the Trail which led through the cool arcades of Leadenhall Market and past the shining ducts and speeding lifts of the classic Lloyds building. The sloping face I would be presently seeing sparkling from the river, had reared up overhead as I approached it on the trail with the Gherkin stood to its left like a sentinel.

Michael Lyons’ Centaurus greets the Trailers in the plaza at the foot of The Cheesegrater. It displays proudly its roughly worked steel form and stone plinth, but then its careful alignment and relation to the space it is standing in becomes apparent. Everything is in fact facing due south here whilst the sculpture somehow articulates this fact as though it were the conductor of these giant glass and steel forms. Its U shaped head on long neck peering into the southern sky, along with its exotic title of the constellation found there, draw the Trailers’ attention to the space they currently find themselves in. Indeed I would go further and suggest that since I experienced The Trail myself, to my eyes the buildings have found themselves permanently woven into a V-shaped constellation of their own, which I see now visible from the sweep of the river. London’s Compass.


Centaurus by Michael Lyons. The sculpture faces due south, as do the surrounding buildings, in fact, and is the inspiration for this week’s blog, the London Compass.

Gavin Turk in Sculpture In The City

Huma Bhabha of Stephen Friedman in Sculpture In The City.

William Kentridge of Marian Goodman gallery. The artist has produced a composite portrait of a poverty stricken figure selling coals.

Sarah Lucas of Sadie Coles HQ in Sculpture In The City.

Ugo Rondinone of Sadie Coles HQ in Sculpture In The City.

Lukas Duwenhogger at Raven Row. Exotic symbol-laden paintings.

Giuseppe Penone in Sculpture In The City. Bronze tree with smooth boulders.

Brick Lane activity.

Anthony Caro of Gagosian in Sculpture In The City. Made from additions to a sea floatation tank.


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