Sculpture is an art form that thrives within urban spaces. From streets, parks and buildings to riversides and shorelines, sculpture has the ability to alter how cities function as communities with its potential impact on its residents.
Michael Heizer has spent nearly 50 years of work crafting the enormous land art installation City in Nevada’s desert. Spanning more than one mile long and one quarter mile wide, City is comprised of mounds and depressions comprised of dirt, rock, and concrete – creating one of the longest land art works ever created by one artist.
Sculpture in the City
Sculpture in the City provides an unparalleled opportunity to experience contemporary art outdoors and in some of London’s most iconic spaces. Each year, SITC unveils new selection of works by world-renowned artists whose pieces make an appearance each year.
All year, SITC is supported by innovative satellite activities and additional programs designed to engage more people than ever before and actively promote its sculptures – such as Urban Learners’ free education program which visits over 200 local schools annually.
The City of London provides an unrivalled environment to explore public sculpture at its finest. Its historic buildings and public spaces make this an ideal site to exhibit works. Furthermore, London is one of Europe’s most dynamic art cities.
There are various ways to appreciate sculpture in a city, from visiting museums and galleries to simply exploring its streets and alleyways in search of pieces scattered throughout.
Since 2011, London’s annual public art exhibition Sculpture in the City has offered visitors a showcase of innovative three-dimensional works. Since 2011, this annual public art event has brought together both acclaimed international and emerging artists with works ranging from large scale sculpture to smaller installations or hangings.
Selected artworks are then installed across various sites within the City Cluster, such as Leadenhall Market and Fenchurch Street Station Plaza – two historic buildings which serve as iconic public spaces presenting sculpture in stunning locations that enhance public life and showcase artists of diverse disciplines.
One key feature of the project is that it’s an ever-evolving public art program, responding to and intervening with the ever-evolving landscape of the City. A team of respected industry peers that understand its practical requirements and context select each year’s edition of Sculpture in the City.
At present, Lacuna Creative Project Agency’s 12th Edition of Sculpture in the City (Sculpture in the City 12) is inviting submissions of pre-existing artwork suitable for outdoor display as part of its annual call for submissions for outdoor displays suitable for pre-existing artworks suitable for display as part of its annual call. Artists worldwide are welcome to submit their works, which will then be reviewed by an esteemed Arts Advisory Group which will select works that best represent contemporary culture while meeting city needs and concerns.
Sculpture in London
London boasts a longstanding tradition of public sculpture dating back to the 16th century, from ancient gods and goddesses statues to contemporary pieces created by some of today’s top artists – London has something for everyone in its city streets!
Take a Sculpture in the City walk for an excellent way to discover London’s sculpture, held annually and featuring works by international artists near some of London’s iconic buildings. This year’s event, running until June 2019, celebrates female suffrage as it marks 100 years.
Internationally-acclaimed artists Sarah Lucas, Thomas J Price and Sean Scully showcased recently unveiled works at this year’s nine-piece circuit set within some of the city’s iconic architectural landmarks. Additionally, this year’s edition coincides with Women: Work and Power campaign aimed at raising awareness about women in society.
British artist Yinka Shonibare draws upon his African heritage for this piece, depicting wind with painted fiberglass depicting movement of wind. Additionally, its vibrant prints draw upon West African textiles to invoke feelings of adventure, possibility and freedom.
Ugo Rondinone’s sculpture ‘Summer Moon’ can be found near St Helen’s Church and it combines history and modernity. Made out of six-metre-tall cast of an ancient olive tree, its presence evokes both past and present events at that site where it resides.
There are numerous public art parks in London that exhibit a diverse collection of works by contemporary artists, like Dulwich Park (redesigned in 2015). Dulwich Park boasts works by Conrad Shawcross whose metal knot sculpture adorns its grass.
It stands out against its natural surroundings and has quickly become popular with both residents and young children who love climbing its metal loops.
Plensa’s WE is another eye-catching sculpture found throughout the city and draws its energy from an ’emerald’-shaped work, filling public space with energy. Inspired by William Blake’s statement: “One thought fills immensity,” Plensa is proud that this installation marks his first public exhibition.
Sculpture in the Desert
Land art emerged during the 1960s and ’70s as artists created sculptures from natural materials found in wilderness environments, in order to challenge more traditional gallery scenes by inviting their audience members to engage directly with nature. It required them to adapt new perspectives by forcing them into direct interaction with it.
Michael Heizer has long found inspiration in the deserts of Nevada, Great Basin and American West for his works of sculpture. Since moving there 50 years ago he has spent much of his time creating City – his iconic outdoor sculpture which finally opens for public viewing this week.
It is an enormous, multi-phased elongated structure covering over 1.5 miles. It contains mounds, geometric forms, granulations, groomed trails and monoliths reminiscent of ancient monuments or ceremonial structures that the artist found fascinating during his travels to Chichen Itza, Mexico.
At over 1.5 miles in length and 1/4 of a mile wide, the gigantic artwork created by Michael Heizer in 1970 spans more than 1.5 miles and remains ongoing today – 50 years later!
As opposed to his previous projects, which involved smaller scale endeavors, this one required much greater funding and time investment than previous works by him.
Over decades, Heizer gradually acquired multiple plots of badland (a ruinous desert landscape unsuitable for agriculture), until he found an area large enough for his project. At all times during this process, Heizer stayed true to his vision of creating an art installation which resembled cities but which didn’t conform with those seen today.
Heizer’s vision resembled more prehistoric environments than modern cities; with giant abstract forms carved directly out of the surrounding desert along with materials collected onsite like sand or stones for use as building materials.
Sculpture in the Hills
Sculpture is usually created from materials like stone, clay, wood or bronze and comes in either flat or curved forms. They may also be painted using either natural means or with paint applied directly onto their surfaces, and these colors may add texture and depth to their creations.
In many cultures, sculpture art is closely tied with religion and mythology, healing, and enlightenment. For example, in Ancient Egypt the pyramids were seen as symbols of gods and goddesses as well as protection and wealth; similarly in India king’s crowns symbolize power and authority.
A sculpture’s design can vary greatly, depending on its material and intended use. Sometimes mass is of primary concern while in others its form and relationships to space are what matters most.
Contrast this with paintings, which tend to be designed primarily to present multiple pleasing views of an image. Therefore, how a viewer perceives sculpture is different than how they experience paintings.
One significant distinction between sculpture and paintings lies in their respective ability to use light manipulation techniques such as using reflectors or specific paints in order to alter how light reaches their artworks.
Paint can play an integral role in protecting and showcasing sculptors’ works for generations, while helping viewers identify and appreciate them more readily.
There are various methods of coloring sculptural pieces; some artists prefer natural hues while others apply artificial ones. Painters must take particular care when formulating pigments so as to achieve the desired effects.
Other painters tend to focus more on texture in their works; for instance, sculptors may opt to apply multiple coats of paint so as to achieve an even, smooth surface.
One of the most stunning elements of sculpture is its surface. This part of art most attracts one’s gaze and defines both its character and expressive value; for instance, in Indian sculpture double-curved convex surfaces often represent fullness, containment, enclosure and outward pressure from internal forces; in Western sculpture on the other hand flat surfaces suggest rigidity while soft or rounded ones convey softness or flexibility.