'Juxtaposition' exhibition at See Studio, London

Lower Lea Valley
'Lower Lea Valley', from the series 'Olympic Visions' by Alessandra Chilá, 2007, shows the site of London's Olympic park before the stadiums began to be built
(Image credit: Alessandra Chilá)

Now that the gleaming architecture of the London 2012 Olympic park has been firmly imprinted on our minds, the site's past has been all but forgotten. But a group show at London's See Studio is putting it back in the spotlight, looking at the barren Lower Lea Valley before work began on the park and documenting its radical transformation.

Titled ‘Juxtaposition’, the works not only reveal the history of the wider Hackney Wick area, but also considers the effect the Olympics has had on London as a city.

The show combines a selection of photographs, drawings, videos and sculptures by 18 local and international artists, including London-based photographer Alessandra Chilá’s ‘Olympian Visions’, in which she visually captures the area on the brink of change.

Meanwhile, German-born but New York-based Gesche Würfel’s offering is an ongoing series titled ‘Go for Gold’, depicting the economic and urban transformation the Olympics have had on the Lower Lea Valley.

Other works include artist Jim Woodall’s much-publicised footage, for which he took up a two-week residency in a makeshift ‘control room’ complete with CCTV cameras, overlooking the construction of the Olympic Park.

Varied and contrasting, the works offer glimpses of the depleted land the Lower Lea Valley used to be, along with aerial shots by Giles Price, showing the large-scale urban regeneration project it has become. Some are eerie and atmospheric, like David George’s photographs of Hackney Marshes, while others are tinged with nostalgia, such as Jessie Brennan’s 'The Cut': a five-metre-long pencil drawing inspired by local stories and memories from life along the canal.

River Lea Navigation

'River Lea Navigation, near Hackney Wick', from the series 'Olympic Visions', by Alessandra Chilá, 2007

(Image credit: Alessandra Chilá)

Herts Union, 1999-2011

'Herts Union, 1999-2011', from the 'Re-Shoots' series, by Chris Dorley-Brown. For this series, Brown, who has been photographing London's East End since the 1980s, deploys a classic before-and-after format

(Image credit: Chris Dorley-Brown)

Platinum 8

'Platinum 8', from the 'Dissolution Series', by David George. George's atmospheric images are a documentation of the photographer's affection fo Hackney Marshes

(Image credit: David George)

Media and Press Centre

'Media and Press Centre' from the series 'Go for Gold!', by Gresche Würfel, 2006. Würfel's series depicts the transformation of London's landscape in preparation for the 2012 Olympics

(Image credit: Gresche Würfel)

Olympic Stadium

'Olympic Stadium' from the series 'Go for Gold!', by Gresche Würfel, 2006

(Image credit: Gresche Würfel)

Amber Alert 2

'Amber Alert 2', from the series 'Macroscopic Olympiad', by Giles Price,

(Image credit: Giles Price)

Jim Woodall's makeshift 'control room

Jim Woodall's makeshift 'control room' in which he took up a two-week residency for his video project, 'Olympic State'

(Image credit: press)

Video footage from Jim Woodall's video project

Video footage from Jim Woodall's video project, 'Olympic State', in which he turned Olympic viewing inside out, watching it through the wrong side of the CCTV cameras

(Image credit: press)

Aquatics Centre

'Aquatics Centre', by Jeanette Barns, 2011. Barns' large charcoal drawings are built up from information that is constantly being revised

(Image credit: Jeanette Barns)

The Cut', by Jessie Brennan, 2011

'The Cut', by Jessie Brennan, 2011. The artwork is a five metre long pencil drawing inspired by local stories and memories originated along the canal

(Image credit: Jessie Brennan)

Hackney Wick

An image from the series 'Hackney Wick', by Stephen Gill

(Image credit: Stephen Gill)


See Studio
13 Prince Edward Rd,
London, E9 5LX


Lauren Ho is the former travel editor at Wallpaper*. Now a contributing editor, she roams the globe, writing extensively about luxury travel, architecture and design for both the magazine and the website, alongside various other titles. She is also the European Academy Chair for the World's 50 Best Hotels.