Frieze Projects East and Create to take over Olympic east London

Arts organisation Create – part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad – has commissioned Frieze to take on its first ever project outside the annual art fair in Regents Park for the Frieze Projects East, which will see installations including a swimming pool filled with inflatable sculptures and a series of graphic narrative billboards taking over east London this summer.

Frieze logo
Frieze logo

The projects will take place in the six east London Host Boroughs for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games: Barking & Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney,Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

Among the wonderful projects commissioned by create last year were Folly For a Flyover – one of the nominees for the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year 2012 – award – which saw the scrubby space beneath the A12 Flyover in Hackney Wick transformed into an outdoor cinema by architects Assemble.

Floating Cinema for Portavilion by Studio Weave
Floating Cinema for Portavilion by Studio Weave

East London’s waterways were also treated to another innovative cinema experience in the form of the Floating Cinema , a narrow boat given new life as an aquatic picture house adorned with beautiful illustrations by Jill Tytherleith, designed by Somewhere. The boat itself was created by Studio Weave.

Floating Cinema
Floating Cinema

This year’s ambitious east London-wide Frieze East project will see yet more ambitious site-specific artworks across the boroughs in the same quirky, thoughtful, fun and – perhaps most importantly, democratic manner.

We’re particularly excited about artists Anthea Hamilton and Nicholas Byrne’s collaboration, which will see them combine sculptural installation and figurative painting to fill Poplar Baths – a swimming pool untouched since the 1980s – filled with anthropomorphic sculptures. We’re told the works will be influenced by the Bath’s 1920s Art-Deco features, with its vaulted ceilings and basement entrance, as well as drawing on other artworks for the pieces, which will be both free standing and helium-filled floating sculptures.

Indian artist Sarnath Banerjee will be showing work on billboards throughout the host boroughs as well as in local newspapers, producing a series of posters and a graphic narrative around the shared history of competitive sport. In a touching nod to the everyone-loves-an-underdog mantra, Banerjee’s work aims to ‘tap into a collective consciousness of sporting near misses or partial successes, the people who almost made it, resonating with both local communities and visitors to the 2012 games,’ drawing on his experiences with boxing, according to Frieze.

Meanwhile, Greenwich-based artist Gary Webb will be capturing the all-ages appeal and aesthetic playfulness that seems to be espoused by so many of the projects associated with Create in his interactive playground sculpture. The piece will be a permanent public artwork in a Greenwich park – a playground for children and a piece of art for everyone. Using bright, bold colours and modular playground elements, the  work looks set to be a very cute, practical and downright fun proposition.

Gary Webb's piece

Source: Gary Webb and Frieze

Gary Webb’s piece

Over in Waltham Forest, Turkish artist Can Altay will be taking over public buildings, such as the YMCA, the Town Hall and social housing blocks, with installations of everyday objects aiming to create a dialogue with local communities and explore the relationship between public art and public service;

So while many east London-dwellers may be less than excited about the Olympic games set to take over their locale this summer; the promise of a series of idiosyncratic, creative and beautiful artworks may help soften the blow somewhat.

The series will launch on 25 June

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