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Art & Design

ART ON THE PENINSULA

Take a wander around Greenwich Peninsula and you’ll find more than just an urban renaissance afoot; the district is blossoming with, of all things, art. The 190-acre site already boasts a collection of high-profile cultural assets, including Alex Chinneck’s A Bullet from a Shooting Star, Antony Gormley’s Quantum Cloud and Richard Wilson’s A Slice of Reality sculptures. Set to join these works in 2016 is a bounty of ambitious projects, adding true creative kudos to one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe.

Artist Morag Myerscough has been called in to conceive a collection of coloured cranes, which frame the construction of Upper Riverside. It’s just one example of a series of projects that extend art and design into public space. Keep an eye out for site-specific murals, most notably on the site’s hoardings. Spanish artist Ricardo Cavolo was the first talent to contribute work — which featured iconic characters influenced by Spanish folk art and tattoos — in this way.

In March, illustrator Jack Taylor, who creates urban scenes using flat planes of colour, will bring his street art to the Greenwich Peninsula. The project allows empty construction sites to become artworks that Greenwich Peninsula communities and visitors can all enjoy.

These art interventions enrich the fabric of Greenwich Peninsula as it develops. This is fitting, given that NOW Gallery, another creative initiative on the Greenwich Peninsula that was established in 2014, has already exhibited engaging and dynamic shows by the likes of Phoebe English and Robert Orchardson.

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These challenge visitor’s perceptions of the boundaries of where art meets design. Late 2015 saw Alex Chinneck’s A Bullet from a Shooting Star — a site-specific, fantastical installation, conceived from 1,186 meters of steel — erected on the Peninsula. The sculpture, which takes the form of a 35-metre tall inverted electricity pylon, is a structural feat, tethered at a perilous angle which pierces the ground with its tip.

Late 2015 saw Alex Chinneck’s A Bullet from a Shooting Star — a site-specific, fantastical installation, conceived from 1,186 meters of steel — erected on the Peninsula. The sculpture, which takes the form of a 35-metre tall inverted electricity pylon, is a structural feat, tethered at a perilous angle which pierces the ground with its tip.

Renowned British artist Conrad Shawcross has been commissioned to create a dramatic architectural intervention: Optical Cloak System. The landmark project will be completed in November 2016, as part of the new low-carbon energy centre, designed by architects CF Møller. The huge scale of the work is matched by a weighty sculptural concept; one that unites sophisticated engineering and complex optic research.

Shawcross’ monumental 49 metre-high sculpture uses both First World War ‘dazzle camouflage’ — the paradox of camouflage whereby objects that are supposed to be hidden are in fact made both more visible and arresting; think bold-coloured, geometric shapes painted onto warships — and the false perspectives and vanishing points that are inherent to cubist and futurist paintings.

The cladding for the structure will be formed of hundreds of triangular panels, each the impressive height of a London bus. These tiles seemingly fold and flow across the surface of the tower, leaving the viewer unsure of where the form begins or ends — it’s easy to imagine the beguiling surface becoming a talking point for both those living in the neighbourhood and curious passers-by.

Also earmarked for April, a new seating arrangement between the pavilions will be installed, providing an ideal space to engage with NOW Gallery, eat lunch from Craft Café and enjoy the Greenwich Peninsula Garden.

And moving forward with a playful theme, in June, Something & Son — a London-based studio working across art, design and architecture — will bring a brick-making workshop, which means everyone can contribute their own slice to a new London neighbourhood.

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