The Mayor of London has revealed a shortlist of artists to come up with an iconic sculpture for the Olympic Park, including a 120m electricity pylon
Boris Johnson is planning that the £15 million work, said to be funded by steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, will be ready for the 2012 Games.
One entry is a 120-metre piece called Transmission by Paul Fryer (pictured), which resembles a giant electricity pylon. Angel of the North sculptor Antony Gormley and Anish Kapoor are also believed to have made the shortlist.
A spokesperson for the Mayor said: ‘The Mayor is keen to see stunning, ambitious, world class art in the Olympic Park and has been exploring the options for many months.
‘He is in touch with some of the best artists, prominent figures in the art establishment and philanthropists about taking it forward. The aim is that this would be funded privately as much as possible.’
REACTION TO ‘TRANSMISSION’
Ian Ritchie of Ian Ritchie Architects, who designed the Spire of Dublin
When sculptors work at a monumental scale they usually come a cropper. Angel of the North is an exception.
All need an engineer, and architect + engineers tend to do better at big scale, though architect/artist/engineer is workable.
£15m is a vast sum for a single piece of public art – especially for the Olympic site where one would have expected there to be an ‘iconic’ memory created from one of: a) the Olympic Park, b) the stadium c) other Olympic venues (swimming pool, velodrome…).
Has there been a competition for the ‘flame’ holder?
Was there an open competition – including children and locals – to ask how £15m could be spent to help leave an art legacy of the London Olympics.
A stand alone sculpture seems somewhat out of place at an Olympic site, though an ‘art legacy’ of the London Olympics could produce something really interesting.
As for the one image shown to date – looks like a telegraph pole from the 1930’s on steroids.
Or, maybe the rejected version of General de Gaulle’s Croix de Lorraine!
Zoe Smith of Block Architects, who designed a 95ft pylon to promote awareness of climate change in Birmingham town centre last year (pictured above)
While we clearly do not own the copyright over electricity pylons, in conceptual terms, it is disappointing to see such a close resemblance to our piece of public art designed and constructed as a centerpiece for CABE’s Climate Change Festival in Birmingham last summer.
In contrary however, this proposal is insensitive in terms of design and scale and as far as we can see completely irrelevant to Olympic Park legacy. Was there any public consultation on this? I doubt it. We fail to see the artist’s point. The CABE Pylon was adopted as an iconic symbol of energy use, designed to be provocative and raise awareness of the issue of climate change. It was transitory and not intended as a lasting reminder.