This exhibition of prints, commissioned to mark the 2012 Olympic Games in London will be shown by the British Council across China as part of UK NOW, the largest festival of British arts ever to take place in the region.
Since 1912 each host city has commissioned one or more posters to celebrate the coming of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Over the course of the last century, a body of iconic work has been created with great artists such as David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol taking part.
The official posters of the Games are now themselves a special celebration of the meeting of art and sport over the last 100 years. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has sought to return to this artistic tradition, and has commissioned twelve of the UK’s leading artists to create images to celebrate London hosting the 2012 Games, six for the Olympic Games and six for the Paralympic Games.
LOCOG worked with Tate and the Plus Tate Group (a group of 19 regional galleries across the UK), who together compiled a long list of over 100 artists for consideration. This long list was then reduced to a final list of 12 by a panel comprising Nicholas Serota (Tate Director), Tamsin Dillon (Head of Art on the Underground), Judith Nesbitt (Tate - Head of National/International Initiatives), Carl Freedman (Counter Editions) Ruth Mackenzie (Director, Cultural Olympiad & London 2012 Festival) and Greg Nugent (LOCOG Director of Brand and Marketing ).
The primary objective of the panel was artistic excellence and some of the UK’s greatest artists have been commissioned (four of the chosen artists have previously won the Turner Prize and five have represented the UK at the Venice Biennale). The brief for the artists encouraged them to celebrate the Games coming to London and to look at the values of the Olympic and Paralympic games. Each image is a distinct interpretation of either the Olympic or Paralympic Games by the individual artists and the diversity of the series demonstrates the extraordinary creative talent that exists within the UK. The individual images are each described below.
Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate, said: 'We are delighted that British artists have produced such compelling images in response to the Olympic and Paralympic Games'.
The exhibition will begin in Hong Kong before touring to Shanghai.