Karen Tang

Tagsmart was here: Sculpture in the City 2017

Every year contemporary sculptures by internationally renowned artists are taken out of their natural habitat and placed in surprising corners of London’s financial district, Square Mile. With this year being the largest to date, with 16 artworks taking up residence amongst some of London’s most famous buildings, our team had a little wander around the city and picked our favourite pieces.

Nathaniel Rackowe’s Black Shed Expanded at Bury Court 


This piece, which recently featured at Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, is a large-scale urban shed structure, seemingly mid-explosions upside-down, exposing its illuminated interior. It stands out amongst the London skyscrapers which surround it, the force of the light emanating from within, it seems to be ripping it apart. This work is in line with Rackowe’s usual practice, combining light and movement with urban infrastructure and industrial products. 

Gavin Turk’s Ajar at the St. Botolph-without-Bishopsgate Gardens 


This random open doorframe in the middle of a park has been left on display from last year’s Sculpture in the City and is rather intriguing. Why a door frame in an open space? Is it opening or closing? Do we walk through the door frame? Why is the handle so low down? Why has it been left open? Is it a portal through time? The door leads to never-ending questions and possibilities, and yet, it also leads to nothing. It is a playful homage to William Blake’s famous doors of perception as we are invited to walk through Turk’s door into the enchanting realms of the imagination and beyond. So, if you need a time out of the office head down to Bishopsgate!

Kevin Killen’s Tipping Point at The Leadenhall Building


Using the city streets to guide him, Killen has mapped out the urban landscape of Belfast with a series of light arrangements. The artist captures accidental, unexpected, spontaneous and playful fleeting moments of movement with his camera. He then deconstructs and visualises these images with the use of neon lights. The intricacy and experimentation of his work are highly impressive. When looking at this colourful installation, you would never guess that such thought has gone into its creation, would you? His translation of urban settings into kinetic light pulses is just beautiful!

Damien Hirst’s Temple in Cullum Street 


The anatomical model of a male torso, with the musculature and organs exposed, stands 21-feet high near one of London’s oldest markets, Leadenhall Market. This piece, made in 2008, is reminiscent of many other Hirst sculptures, such as The Virgin Mother, which was one of the largest bronze statues in the world at the time. The famed artist’s obsession with anatomy and death is clear throughout his work, whether with people or animals. Standing under this sculpture, you come to realise that we are human and beneath our skin, these organs reverberate keeping us alive. Quite scary!

Karen Tang’s Synapsid at Fenchurch Street Station


Reminiscent of a mutated, radioactive monster, this piece is rather playful and interactive. But what is it actually? An alien, some animal form, a monster? The neon greens and blobby segments evoke some kind of sci-fi evasion where extraterrestrials descend from space and rampage through London’s city centre. Tang’s works often reference science, sci-fi, architecture and city life.