Sculpture in the City, 2nd Edition

Annual Public Art Exhibition
Commissioned by City of London Corporation
Delivered with Lacuna since 2011

Opened June 2012
On view until Spring 2013

Sculpture in the City 2nd Edition, video

The Brief

Building on the success of the inaugural Sculpture in the City, the 2nd Edition doubled in size: growing from four to eight artworks, showcasing two public artworks by Julian Opie and a new site-specific work by Dan Graham.

New art locations included The Gherkin and St Helen’s and the Project Partner board was joined by Aon and 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin). An annual Education Programme was established and run by Open City. The project was welcomed by the public, press and industry peers, including artists, gallerists and curators.


01. Tracey Emin CBE RA

Roman Standard, 2005
From beak to tail: 10 x 17 cm; pole 357 cm

Roman Standard is, in the words of Tracey Emin, a symbol of “hope, faith and spirituality”. Bearing none of the autocratic or militaristic connotations of the traditional Roman Standard, this bird carries with it associations of height, air and light. “Most public sculptures are a symbol of power which I find oppressive and dark. I wanted something that had a magic and an alchemy, something which would appear and disappear and not dominate”, says Tracey Emin. This diminutive bird perched high above the ground gently reminds us that strength is possessed by even seemingly insignificant creatures.

Location: St Helen's Churchyard, London EC3A 6AT

Tracey Emin CBE RA, Roman Standard 2005. © The Artist / DACS 2021. Install view SITC 2nd ed, 2012–2013. Photo SITC.

02. Yayoi Kusama

Flowers That Bloom Tomorrow, 2010
FRP, metal, urethane paint
200 x 340 x 200 cm

Central to Yayoi Kusama’s work since the late1950s has been a proliferating circular motif – either polka dots or, conversely a net – which the artist first experienced during childhood hallucinations. Spilling across canvases, sculptures and installations, these dots and whorls vary in tone and character.

Location: 1 Great St Helen's, London EC3A 6HX

Yayoi Kusama, Flowers That Bloom Tomorrow, 2010. © The Artist and Courtesy The Artist & Victoria Miro Gallery. Install view SITC 2nd ed, 2012–2013. Photo SITC.

03. Julian Opie

Three Men Walking, 2009–2010
LED installation
205 x 135 x 135 cm

Three Men Walking is a sculpture made up of LEDs that echoes the cityscape and imagery of street signage in the area. The artist, who has his studio locally, was involved in the siting of the piece on the corner of St Mary Axe and Undershaft, next to the Gherkin, a busy thoroughfare for workers and visitors.

Location: Undershaft at the junction with St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8AQ

Julian Opie, Three Men Walking , 2008. © The Artist and Courtesy The Artist & Lisson Gallery. Install view SITC 2nd ed, 2012–2013. Photo SITC.

04. Michael Craig-Martin

Hammer (Blue), 2011
Powder coates steel
306 x 127 x 2 cm

Michael Craig-Martin is best known for using subjects drawn from ordinary life. He has developed a vocabulary of familiar images and, with what he calls his ‘universal language’, he uses ‘simple things to describe very complex ideas’ about form and purpose. With his characteristic economy of means, Michael Craig-Martin’s ‘Hammer (blue)’ has maximum impact. Enlarged and rendered in a stark, brightly coloured outline, the sculpture is three dimensional but at the same time looks like a great drawing in the sky.

Location: 30 St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8BF

Michael Craig-Martin. Hammer (Blue), 2011. © The Artist and Courtesy The Artist, Gagosian and Roche Court Sculpture Park. Install view SITC 2nd ed, 2012–2013. Photo SITC.

05. Angus Fairhurst

A Couple of Differences Between Thinking and Feeling, 2000
Cast bronze
210 x 173 x 132 cm

Gorillas emerged as a central motif in Fairhurst’s early drawings and cartoons. This strange and poignant coupling – hulking ape and fish out of water – is from a series of bronze sculptures of gorillas in surreal and tragicomic scenarios. It expresses some of the dichotomies at the heart of Fairhurst’s practice – between the cerebral and the emotional (or “thinking and feeling”), and between the sublime and the absurd. The pairing of an ape – man’s closest relative – with a fish, supposedly his most primeval ancestor, produces a dual sense of the familiar and the alien, the close and the faraway.

Location: 30 St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8BF

Angus Fairhurst, A Couple of Differences Between Thinking and Feeling, 2000. © The Artist and Courtesy The Artist & Sadie Coles HQ. Install view SITC 2nd ed, 2012–2013. Photo SITC.

06. Julian Opie

Caterina Dancing Naked 02, 03 & 04, 2009–2010
Paint on aluminium
189 x 108 x 29 cm

Location: St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8BF

Julian Opie, Caterina Dancing 02, 03 & 04, 2009–2010. © The Artist and Courtesy The Artist & Lisson Gallery. Install view SITC 2nd ed, 2012–2013. Photo SITC.

07. Dan Graham

City of London Rococo, 2012
Perforated steel, stainless steel, two-way mirror
413 x 502 x 230 cm

Blurring the line between art and architecture, Dan Graham’s pavilions comprise steel, mirror and glass structures that create diverse optical effects. Created as hybrids, they operate as quasi-functional spaces and art installations. Studies of space and light, they are situated in public spaces and are activated by the presence of the viewer. Rigorously conceptual, uniquely beautiful and avowedly public, the pavilions exhibit a deliberate disorientation and playfulness that Graham encourages. After looking at office buildings in the 1980s he began using the same twoway mirror glass used in their construction to create the pavilions. A material that is both transparent and reflective it enabled Graham to deconstruct the surveillance aspect of the material, creating light-hearted situations out of potentially sinister ones; using humour to subvert corporate culture.

Location: St Helen's Square, London EC3V 4QT

08. Thomas Houseago

Bottle II, 2010
309 x 105 x 114 cm

Houseago has described himself as a realist. His concern, more than with the appearance of his sculptures, is to impart a sense of anima into the works: "As a sculptor, I am trying to put thought and energy into an inert material and give it truth and form:, he has said. His sculptures reject the ironic re-workings of readymade vocabularies so prevalent in contemporary art in favour of a deeply individual reckoning with matter. His influences are the heavyweight sculptors of Western art— Picasso, Brancusi, Rodin, Moore and Michelangelo — but equally, his work draws from the everyday art forms of music, cartoons and movies: "I see Modernist art through the lens of pop culture, not the other way around".

Location: St Helen's Square, London EC3V 4QT

Thomas Houseago, Bottle II, 2010. © The Artist and Courtesy The Artist & Hauser & Wirth. Install view SITC 2nd ed, 2012–2013. Photo SITC.


Sculpture in the City offers exciting opportunities for young people, aged 10 to 14, to engage with the City of London through an extensive educational programme delivered by Open City. Each calendar year, 200 local students – many from under-represented communities based in neighbouring boroughs – work with artists, architects and sponsor-company volunteers to discover new places in the city, learn about public art and and consider architecture and urban design as possible career paths.


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