Powerful interactions with place
In the densely-built labyrinth of the City of London, where I work, the Sculpture in the City exhibition each year causes at least a few bustling office workers (including me) to focus on a sculpture and its place in the environment.
The best of this year’s works interact powerfully with their locations, which range from hidden alleys to central traffic intersections.
Mhairi Vari’s Support for a Cloud draws your eye up the hard lines of the Lloyds Building and a nearby lamppost to what seem to be wasps’ nests or other natural growths extruding from the metal.
Gavin Turk’s wall-less door, Ajar, is a gateway encouraging you to think about what may lie ahead.
Martin Creed’s plastic bags in a tree at first seem like the usual detritus of urban life, before you realise they are skillfully placed to resemble blossoms or fruit.
Nathaniel Rackowe’s Black Shed Expanded is tucked in a quiet courtyard. It dominates the tranquil spot with an explosion of crashing timbers and fluorescent light - the harsh yellow lighting seems to push the shed walls apart.
These and the other sculptures give a striking overlay of contemporary art to the working life of the City.
Also notable is the exhibition’s clever use of the new Smartify app. Free to install, Smartify calls itself a Shazam for art; you scan an artwork and a detailed description flashes up. The app can also tell you what art is available to view near your current location. This could become a wonderful resource as it adds more museums and public art across the UK. Even with the current limited selection it is great fun to browse.