Site-specific: ’Sculpture in the City’ adorns London’s architectural landmarks

A tree-like sculpture with rocks placed on different levels of the tree branches. Photographed during the day with a tall glass reflective office building in the background
The 2016 edition of ’Sculpture in the City’ has arrived in the London district, with site-specific artworks placed in and around architectural landmarks such as the Gherkin. Pictured: Idee di Pietra, by Giuseppe Penone, 2010/2015
(Image credit: Nick Turpin)

In its largest edition yet, the sixth annual ‘Sculpture in the City’ has transformed the Square Mile once again into an open-air, urban exhibition. Until May 2017, works are being showcased in and around some of London’s architectural landmarks.

‘Sculpture in the City’ is a public art program run by the City of London that installs contemporary artworks in unexpected locations around the district. A collaboration between the City of London Corporation, local businesses and the art world, the program provides an opportunity for the public to engage and interact with contemporary art and the artists on show. It aims to enhance the urban environment with its juxtaposition of creativity and the landscape of finance. Featuring both established and emerging international artists, previous contributors have included Ai Weiwei, Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.

Seventeen works are exhibited this year. The curation features large-scale pieces by English artists Sarah Lucas and Sir Anthony Caro, South African artists William Kentridge and Gerhard Marx, and Italian sculptor and conceptual artist Giuseppe Penone. Also included are a 7m-high, cast-iron head by Catalan sculptor Jaume Plensa at the Gherkin and delicate paper chain sculptures by Peruvian artist Lizi Sánchez strung throughout multiple locations from Leadenhall Market to the Cheesegrater.

On top of the installations dotted around the city, complementary educational workshops run by Open-City are being held after the project's installation, to engage and inspire schoolchildren and the wider community. 

A brown wooden carved sculpture of a human head laying on the concrete marbled floor. Photographed during the day

Run by the City of London, it aims to juxtapose art pieces with the urban environment of the capital’s insurance district. Pictured: Untitled, by Enrico David, 2015

(Image credit: Nick Turpin)

A fragmented monument depicting the silhouette of a female street vendor carring a burning brazier on her head. Placed on a black square platform on a pavement in front of a building and photographed during the day

Both domestic and international practitioners are featured, from Sarah Lucas and Sir Anthony Caro, to South African artists William Kentridge and Gerhard Marx, and Italian sculptor and conceptual artist Giuseppe Penone. Pictured: Fire Walker, by William Kentridge and Gerhard Marx, 2014. Courtesy the artists

(Image credit: Nick Turpin)

A large black sculpture of a human head with its eyes closed, positioned in the midst of tall trees and building. photographed during the day

Sculptures greatly range in size, from the 7m-high piece by Jaume Plensa to small paper-chain installations by Lizi Sánchez. Pictured: Laura, by Jaume Plensa, 2013

(Image credit: Nick Turpin)

LEFT: Interlocked colourful paper wrist band hanging off a metal pole. RIGHT: Interlocked colourful paper wrist band hanging off a tree branch

The smallest work, Cadenetas, by Peruvian artist Lizi Sánchez, is installed across Leadenhall Market, Bishopsgate, and in and around the Cheesegrater. Pictured: Cadenetas, by Lizi Sánchez, 2016

(Image credit: Nick Turpin)

Two large sausage-like gold sultpured laying on the concrete byt the side of a building. Photographed during the day

In total, 17 artworks have been installed across the Square Mile, turning the area into an urban canvas. Pictured: Florian and Kevin, by Sarah Lucas, 2013. Courtesy the artist

(Image credit: Nick Turpin)

A tall vertical structure, created using square blocks in different shades of blue, in an open area in front of a building

In keeping with the aim of engaging and inspiring the community, educational workshops for schoolchildren and the public are being run after the project’s installation. Pictured: World Axis, by Jürgen Partenheimer

(Image credit: Nick Turpin)


For more information, visit the City of London's website

Photography: Nick Turpin