Since 1912 each Olympic host city has commissioned one or more posters to celebrate the hosting of the Games, and since the first Paralympic games was held at Stoke Mandeville, posters have also been commissioned for the Paralympic games. Over the course of the last century a body of iconic work has been created and previous artists who have created a poster include David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.
The official posters of the Games are now themselves a 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 Gallery 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 creative talent that exists within the UK.
A set of the images has been given to the Queen for the Royal Collection and to other important British art collections, including the Government Art Collection (which will be displaying the images in 10 Downing Street in 2012) and the British Council (which is planning on exhibiting the images across China in 2012 as part of ‘UK Now’, the largest festival of British arts ever to be shown in China, as well as displaying the posters in British Council’s across the world).
|Anthea Hamilton 'Divers'|
|Tracey Emin 'Birds 2012'|
|Bob and Roberta Smith 'Love'|
|Bridget Riley 'Rose Rose'|
|Chris Ofili 'For The Inknown Runner'|
|Fiona Banner 'Superhuman Nude'|
|Gary Hume 'Capital'|
|Howard Hodgkin 'Swimming'|
|Martin Creed 'Work No. 1273'|
|Michael Craig-Martin 'GO'|
|Rachel Whiteread 'LOndOn 2012'|
|Sarah Morris 'Big Ben 21012'|