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City of London's 'Sculpture in the City' Returns for its Ninth Edition

ViewZine Admin
City of London's 'Sculpture in the City' Returns for its Ninth Edition

Sculpture in the City, the City of London’s annual public art programme set amongst iconic architectural landmarks, has announced the initial 17 artworks which will make up this year’s outdoor sculpture park in the Square Mile, with more artists to be revealed soon.

Launching on 27 June, the exhibition will include works from internationally renowned artists including Nathan Coley, Elisa Artesero, Nina Saunders and Lawrence Weiner. The artworks will be displayed next to some of the City’s most famous buildings, including 30 St Mary Axe (the Gherkin), The Leadenhall Building (the Cheesegrater), as well as new public spaces opening this year, including 70 St Mary Axe and Aldgate Square.

For Sculpture in the City’s ninth edition, the artworks are spread across the Square Mile, and range greatly in form, scale and medium.  This year’s edition will also see works from the 8th edition that will remain on show including Do Ho Suh’s Bridging Home, London (2018) a co-commission by Art Night and Sculpture in the City, Nancy Rubins’ Crocodylius Philodendrus (2016-17), Clare Jarret’s Sari Garden (2018), and Juliana Cerqueira Leite’s Climb (2011).

Kevin Francis Gray will present Reclining Nude I (2016), which marks a turning point in his practice away from figuration and classicism. Situated in St Botolph’s-without-Bishopsgate Churchyard, the work explores the materiality of marble and offers a fresh take on ancient stone-carving techniques.  Further along the road,Bridging Home, London (2018) Do Ho Suh’s site-specific installation, is a replica of a traditional Korean house, his childhood home, which appears to have ‘fallen’ onto the Wormwood Street footbridge.  

Stagnight by Michael Lyons will be displayed on the corner of Bishopsgate and Wormwood Street. A fascinating sculpture developed from a drawing residency in Grizedale Forest (Cumbria, UK), Stagnighttransforms the light and shade of the original drawings into the solid and void of the sculpture; its configuration makes reference to animals, masks and cavorting forms. Leo Fitzmaurice will present Arcadia (2007) in three locations in the City of London: 99 Bishopsgate, Lime Street, and the Plaza outside of Fenchurch Street Station. Arcadia is a multi-part sculpture based on the conventions of UK public signage, exploring how these objects are designed to communicate within a given environment.

Adjacent to St Helen’s churchyard, Nancy Rubins’ Crocodylius Philodendrus, (2016-17), a large-scale bouquet-like arrangement comprised of a wide range of animal forms in cast iron, bronze, brass and aluminium, will remain on view. Across the street, Salvatore Arancio’s It Was Only a Matter of Time Before We Found the Pyramid and Forced it Open (2017) will be presented at 1 Great St Helen’s.  Created under the influence of hypnosis, Arancio’s work forms a sculptural garden of totemic clay sculptures that recall the petrified trees of the ‘Lava Trees State Park’ in Hawaii.  Through the work Arancio seeks to create a ‘healing area’ for visitors that aims to enhance their creativity.

WITHIN A REALM OF RELATIVE FORM by Lawrence Weiner will be situated at the Cheesegrater. Inspired by the language and words written across public spaces in the South Bronx, Weiner’s work is reformed and informed by the location in which it is exhibited. Around the corner, Nina Saunders’ Abstract Mass (2008) will be situated on Undershaft. By casting these discarded and second-hand armchairs in concrete, Saunders captures the original while playing light-heartedly on visitors' expectations of comfort.  Recreated in life-size, the work emphasises the vast scale of the surrounding buildings.

Patrick Tuttofuoco’s The Source (2017) a neon-light installation depicting the artist’s hands will hang in the historic Leadenhall Market.  Shaun C Badham’s I’M STAYING (2014), a neon artwork will remain from the 8th edition of Sculpture in the City just off the main atrium in Leadenhall Market, as a unique fit mirroring the historic market’s resilience over the centuries as the landscape around it has changed. 

Marisa Ferreira’s Series Industrial Windows I will be located in Cullum Street. A series of windows created from stainless steel and coloured acrylic glass, Series Industrial Windows I takes inspiration from an industrial site in Northern Portugal and reflects on how we remember our cities through their buildings. 

Alongside these works, Nathan Coley will present The Same for Everyone (2017) near the Gherkin in Cunnard Place, a work from his important ongoing series of illuminated texts.  In this series, Coley pairs provocative and ambiguous found phrases and the surroundings in which they are displayed to influence how viewers might understand the work. 

Visitors will be able to see Juliana Cerqueira Leite’s three-metre-tall obelisk Climb (2011) in Mitre Square, a ‘pocket-park’ in the City which remains on display from last year.  Around the corner, Jyll Bradley returns to Sculpture in the City for a second year running to display Dutch / Light (for Agneta Block) (2017) in Aldgate Square.  Made from coloured sheets of Edge-Lit Plexiglas turned on their side and leant against a south-facing wall, Dutch / Light (for Agneta Block) creates an open-glasshouse pavilion that is activated by the sun. The work references the so-called ‘Dutch Light’ a horticultural revolution that hit British shores over three centuries ago as Dutch growers pioneered early glasshouse technology. 

Sari Garden (2018) by Clare Jarrett, a work consisting of lengths of vibrant Indian sari material hanging between Victorian lampposts, will remain from the 8th edition of Sculpture in the City in Heneage Lane. Situated in Bury Court, Reza Aramesh’s Site of the Fall – study of the renaissance garden: Action 180: At 9:15am Sunday 28 May 1967 (2019) is a larger than life hand-carved polished male body. From research on reportage images of the Vietnam War, a single composition was selected, the image of which has been reconstructed through a process of rendering based on live subjects.

Finally, in a newly-pedestrianised space outside 70 St Mary Axe, Elisa Artesero will present The Garden of Floating Words (2017) a neon poem that appears to float in the darkness from within the foliage of a garden space.  During the daytime, the words are revealed to be on tall rectangular acrylic stands while at night, the words alone become the main feature. 

Further to the main programme, Sculpture in the City will once again be the associate programme partner with the Whitechapel Gallery for the second edition of Nocturnal Creatures, taking place on Saturday 20 July.Nocturnal Creatures is a one-off event that brings together installations, artist performances, music, film and culinary experiences in the heart of the East End for a late-night contemporary arts festival.  For this year’s edition, Sculpture in the City will host Guillaume Vandame’s Notice Me (LGBTQIA+ Walk) and Graeme Miller’s On Air (2012) both social sculptures as well as a series of events led by Sculpture in the City artists. 

Notice Me (LGBTQIA+ Walk) is a participatory artwork led by Guillaume Vandame taking the form of a peaceful walk among LGBTQIA+ individuals of all ages and backgrounds as well as queer allies seeking to support the cause of equality and free love. Inviting participants to dress in one of the seven colours associated with the LGBTQIA+ community (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink), the walk will explore the Sculpture in the City area, highlighting the diversity of sculptures on display along the way.

Graeme Miller’s On Air is a broadcast work staged between an aerial vantage point and an audience at ground level. The landscape is translated into words by a duo of commentators and relayed to the remote audience, where an act of faith between the listeners and speakers ensues. A score of shifting grammatical tools reveal juxtaposition, synchronicity, action, space, the common and the unique. Each presentation is an unscripted and singularly composed response to its location.

Participating artists for Sculpture in the City 2019 are: Salvatore Arancio, Reza Aramesh, Elisa Artesero, Shaun C Badham, Jyll Bradley, Nathan Coley, Marisa Ferreira, Leo Fitzmaurice, Kevin Francis Gray, Clare Jarrett, Juliana Cerqueira Leite, Michael Lyons, Nancy Rubins, Nina Saunders, Do Ho Suh, Patrick Tuttofuoco and Lawrence Weiner.

This year’s edition will be dedicated to Michael Lyons (1943-2019), who was also one of the participating artists in the 6th edition of Sculpture in the City.

Sculpture in the City has built a rapport with many who live and work in, as well as visit the City of London. Over the past nine years, Sculpture in the City has gained attention for bringing both established international artists and rising stars to the wider public’s attention. With works juxtaposed against the tall buildings in the Square Mile, this open-air exhibition not only enriches the workday experience of City workers but draws cultural visitors into this most ancient part of the city.



Complementary educational workshops, run by Urban Learners, will inspire schoolchildren from the surrounding area before and after the project installation. Held in the iconic towers which form the backdrop to the exhibition, including the Cheesegrater and around the artwork sites from St Botolph’s to Fenchurch Street station, the programming fosters community engagement with the artworks and their surroundings.

This year, up to 220 pupils from nine state schools from the City of London’s neighbouring boroughs will participate in a series of four on-site workshops that explore Sculpture in the City’s spaces before, and after, the sculpture installation, and with the help from Partner Company volunteers.

Art in the City Public Tours

A series of ticketed public tours will be available via Art in the City, an opportunity for the public to discover all the works in greater detail

City of London Corporation

The City of London Corporation, which sponsors Sculpture in the City, invests over £100m every year in heritage and cultural activities of all kinds. It is the UK’s largest funder of cultural activities after the government, the BBC, and Heritage Lottery Fund.

It is also developing Culture Mile between Farringdon and Moorgate – a multi-million-pound investment which will create a new cultural and creative destination for London over the next 10 to 15 years. This includes £110m funding to support the Museum of London’s move to West Smithfield and £4.9m to support the detailed business case for the proposed Centre for Music.

Further details to be announced 

Photo by Lucy Dawkins. Courtesy of Nancy Rubins and Gagosian