‘RUN’ Artwork Switched on in New Olympic Park
An illuminated artwork as tall as a house, weighing 30 tons and inspired by the music of Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, was illuminated April 26, 2012 to mark the completion of 26 new arts installations in the new Olympic Park in London.
The artworks, which have been created through the Olympic Delivery Authority’s (ODA) Art in the Park program, were announced as complete to mark the program launch of the London 2012 Festival – the 12 week UK-wide celebration featuring leading artists from around the world from 21 June to 9 September.
RUN, by internationally-renowned artist Monica Bonvicini, is the largest standalone artwork in Olympic Park at 9 meters tall (30 feet) and is situated on the plaza of the 6500-capacity Copper Box (the new name for the London 2012 Handball Arena). Bonvicini’s choice of the word RUN is a reflection of cultural references such as popular music titles, including Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run,” Neil Young’s “Running Dry,” and The Velvet Underground’s “Run Run Run.”
The RUN letters are constructed from steel and reflective glass – producing a mirrored effect during the day and a playful glow at night through the innovative use of more than 300 meters of energy-efficient LED lighting that reflect off a series of internal curved mirrors.
Bonvicini said: “It’s exciting to see the work finally start on site after being awarded the commission in summer 2010. RUN is already blending in perfectly in the landscape, avoiding monumentality through the mirroring of the surroundings. At night the psychedelic light reflections will illuminate the work in an exciting, elegant, and witty way, reflecting the great liveliness of London.”
RUN is funded by the Greater London Authority, the London Development Agency, and the ODA.
The ODA has collaborated with both established and emerging artistic talent to create its Art in the Park program – a series of colourful and original pieces that will not only be seen by millions of spectators this summer, but by visitors for years afterwards, when the Olympic Park is opened up as Britain’s largest new urban park for over a century, renamed The Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park.
Art has been fused into the Olympic Park infrastructure to create unique experiences for visitors – ranging from bridges and underpasses, security fences, planting schemes, and large-scale facades, as well as artist-led community projects in the five neighboring Host Boroughs (Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Waltham Forest, and Tower Hamlets). These projects demonstrate the ingenuity and imagination that artists have brought to the look and feel of the site. A pdf about the Art in the Park program can be downloaded here, and the latest images of the completed artworks can be found here.
A total of 24 of the 26 arts installations in Olympic Park are permanent and there are a number of projects based outside the site. The ODA’s Arts and Culture strategy has seen all of these projects commissioned and created over the last 4 years. This has been achieved with the support of a number of funders, including the Greater London Authority, Arts Council England, London Development Agency, and Forward Arts Foundation.
ODA Chief Executive Dennis Hone commented, “Art has been built into the Olympic Park from the start as we set out to deliver a truly new and inspiring place within London. By working creatively and closely with both up-and-coming and established artists we have created a series of exciting focal points across the site. This will enhance the Olympic Park for the people who live, work and visit there for years to come.” This effort marks the first time arts and culture initiatives have been built into an Olympic Park from the outset, creating an international benchmark for future Games and delivering the best of public art in the UK.
RUN is one of the two largest arts commissions, alongside Ackroyd & Harvey’s entrance marker trees – a major public artwork comprising a collection of 10 semi-mature trees, each with a bespoke metal ring weighing up to ½ ton, suspended in the crown and engraved with words specific to the history of each site.
Ruth Mackenzie, director, Cultural Olympiad & London 2012 Festival, said, “The ODA have done an amazing job of putting art at the heart of the Olympic Park. RUN will not only be a wonderful piece for visitors to enjoy during the Games, but also leave a lasting legacy for years after. Through the London 2012 Festival we are building on this platform, programming a celebration of arts and culture for the whole of the UK in the summer of 2012.”