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Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Art In The Olympic Park

I was extremely lucky to be invited to go on a special Art Tour of the Olympic Park, led by Adriana Marques, one of the curators who have been working on designing the park, and its legacy over the last few years.
There are approximately 25 art installations in the park - all but one of them are permanent, though the generally public won't be able to see them until the park opens - the first phase of which is next year. I was stunned from the moment I entered the grounds to when I left. Being there is so exciting, it's buzzing with positive energy and is beautiful.
As well as the purpose built events venues there is a huge double-sided screen in the middle called Park Live where ticket holders can enjoy the events. There's also a live music stage, lots of places to eat and shop, plenty of spots to relax in and art to enjoy - which is what I was there to see.
First up the one most people (certainly Londoners!) already know about. Anish Kapoor's Orbit is a vast tower that on London's skyline looks like red scaffolding. Close up however it is stunning. I'm one of those locals who was skeptical, but up close it's so different and so much more likable. Unfortunately I didn't get to go inside. Tickets cost £15 and are hard to get hold of but I'm told it's full of mirrors that reflects the city which sounds amazing.
You wouldn't think flowers were an installation, but Fantasticology is just that. Designed by the Klassnik Corporation, this stunning wild flower meadow is planted to create a huge pattern which you can view if you're inside Orbit. But to people who aren't up there it still looks pretty just blowing in the breeze.
Ifo Spectrum by Carsten Nicolai is a digitally printed fence. Technically I don't understand how that works as it's living and is made of plants - however look closely and you can see intricate planting arrangements. 
History Trees by Ackroyd & Harvey are just that, something that will change and grow over time - literally, making history. Three trees have already been planted which have a stainless steel ring in them and an additional seven will go up later as part of the legacy.
If you look closely you'll spot poetry throughout the park, one of which is The Fun Palace by Caroline Bird.
Art is integral to every element of the park. It's not an after thought, but was integrated into the initial stages. Steles by Keith Waterson, may look like giant crayons, but they are in fact colourful sleeves on the pillars where boats can park - designed simply so they aren't boring or grey. I like that kind of thinking. Look closely under all the brides, they aren't ordinary either.
Monica Bonvicini's RUN is situated outside the Copper Box building where I'm going to be watching the fencing element of the Modern Pentathlon on Saturday. Remarkably it looks different in the day and night. By day it's made up of mirrors and at night it's lit up by LEDS.
 Another one of my faves is Fantastic Factology where facts have been supplied by experts and placed on 57 benches throughout the park - spotting them all is a day trip in itself. 
The park is a 25 year project but it will look very different when it opens to how it does now. If you do get a chance to go now or during the Paralympic Games, take it! 

See more about my visit on my video diary of the tour

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