We’re all guilty of it, walking around London looking down rather than up at what’s around us. The Line is a sculpture walk aiming to change that. With supporters like Danny Boyle, it’s trying to bring 30 sculptures to east London. The project, which rests on the amount of cash raised, doesn’t close until the end of March so there’s still time to involved. And for those wanting to see more street sculptures, we’ve got our favourite five here.
The Neighbours and The Sweepers, East Village
Let’s kick off this list with some sculptures that are very close (both emotionally and geographically) to us. Four 20ft topiary sculptures, constructed by Shipshape Arts, are in East Village and represent some of the key principles of the area. The Neighbours (above) show the friendly community coming to East Village, but also represent how different generations, from families to young professionals, will live side by side. The other two “residents” are The Sweepers. They were inspired by the clean-up after the London riots back in 2011 and embody the mantra: “if every man would sweep his own doorstep, the city would soon be clean”. While Shipshape Arts have a reputation of setting their pieces on fire once they’re done, we’ve been assured that these will be at home in the Village for a long time.
Cooling Tower panels, Pimlico
From east London we head west to just outside Pimlico station, where artist Eduardo Paolozzi has converted a ventilation shaft into an impressive piece of industrial art. The structure is covered in panels with cogs, insects, satellites, gears and machine parts, with some people saying it could represent an exploding space station. We admit, it may not be the prettiest structure in London, but you’d be hard pressed to find a more fascinating ventilation shaft on the London Underground.
Photo by Rolant Dafis
Isis, Hyde Park
If you prefer to look to a celebration of nature rather than technology, you should look at Simon Gudgeon’s Isis in Hyde Park. Next to the Serpentine River, Isis was constructed as part of the Isis Education Centre project, which gives communities and city school children the chance to learn about nature. Watching the bird, which is appropriately named after the Egyptian goddess of nature and creation, will give you a moment of calm in this rather busy city.
The Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square
If you believe that art should constantly change, and like the idea of seeing something new, then the Fourth Plinth should be one of your favourite London street sculpture hot spots. Since 1999 the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square has never had a permanent piece of art on it, but has had six different pieces. From Marc Quinn’s Alison Lapper statue, to Antony Gormely’s One & Other, which saw 2,400 members of the public spend an hour on the plinth for 100 days , the plinth has always been home to art you want to talk about. At the moment Katharina Fritsch’s Hahn/Cock, a giant blue rooster occupies the plinth, and we must admit it’s one of our favourites so far.
Really Shiny Things That Don’t Mean Anything, The City
Right near 30 St Mary Axe (better known as the Gherkin) is a statue for those who don’t care what art means; they just want to look at something they like. The title of Ryan Gander’s sculpture is Really Shiny Things That Don’t Mean Anything. Made up of a gazillion seemingly dull things, it is a beautiful work of art that is just there to be admired. It’s great fun to look at all the items that make up the shiny piece, and also gives you an excuse to go and enjoy a different side to the City.