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With the arrival of warmer weather, culture-thirsty Londoners start forgoing the capital’s numerous galleries in pursuit of outdoor art offerings. Luckily, the city is only too happy to oblige, with a number of outdoor art exhibitions and sculpture trails opening up all over the capital this summer. From the return of the much-lauded Sculpture in the City to urban installations in Mayfair and the latest riverside cultural hot-spot at Greenwich Peninsula, there are plenty of places to get your art fix in the great outdoors. Here, we’ve rounded up the best London sculpture and outdoor art exhibitions to have on your agenda this summer.
Yuri Suzuki’s Sonic Bloom
If you wander around Mayfair this spring, you’re bound to come across Sonic Bloom, Japanese sound artist Yuri Suzuki’s interactive installation in Brown Hart Gardens. Made up of a cluster of primary-coloured horn-shaped speaking tubes arranged in the shape of a blooming flower – hence the installation’s name – it’s been designed to allow people to speak to each other through the interconnecting tubes, as well as amplify the general sounds of the city. Curated by Alter-Projects and featuring seats and horns at varying levels, the playful piece has been created so that people of all ages are able to interact with it, thereby turning it into a truly public piece of art.
Look Up: Helene Blumenfeld at Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf may not seem the most obvious place to host a sculpture exhibition, but their latest art offering might help with their bid to become one of London’s new cultural destinations. Look Up is American sculptor Helaine Blumenfeld’s largest solo exhibition to date and features a range of diverse works dating from 1993 to 2019 that draw on both natural and abstract forms. The poetic large-scale pieces – made from fine marble, terracotta, wood and bronze – depict lyrical and complex forms, and juxtapose perfectly with the area’s strikingly modern architecture, as well as the mature trees in the parkland that surrounds them.
Sculpture in the City
From 21 June
Now entering its 11th year, the ever-popular Sculpture in the City is back to turn London’s streets into a rotating gallery space. Transforming some of the City’s most famous buildings and public spaces, the art trail spans 100 Bishopsgate to Leadenhall Market, with 19 works by some of the world’s top artists – including Alice Channer, Sarah Lucas and Eva Rothschild – on display. Their inaugural commission in Aldgate Square has already been unveiled, featuring a new site-specific public artwork by British artist Jocelyn McGregor. Entitled Earthing and featuring giant snail shells atop a dry-stone wall, it explores the boundary between man-made and organic materials within urban spaces.
Mayfair Sculpture Trail
20th June – 31st July
Outdoor art returns to London’s most glamorous postcode courtesy of the Mayfair Sculpture Trail, held as part of the annual Mayfair Art Weekend and now in its third year. Some of the area’s top galleries will be taking their artworks into the great outdoors, from the tree-lined grandeur of Grosvenor Square and Berkeley Square’s leafy environs to the pavements of New Bond Street, with works presented by Opera Gallery, JD Malat and E&R Cyzer. Launching to coincide with the first week of the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition, the full line-up of participating artists is yet to be released, but you can expect pieces by the likes of David Breuer Weil, Kojo Marfo and Andy Denzler, showcased alongside beloved permanent installations from Banksy, Henry Moore and Elisabeth Frink.
The Tide at Greenwich Peninsula
It’s been hailed as London’s newest creative hub since its Design District opened earlier this year, and now Greenwich Peninsula is making a bid to be one of the capital’s cultural hot-spots, too, with the launch of The Tide. A linear walkway that connects to the riverside path, it’s been transformed into an inspirational sculpture trail featuring artworks by some of the country’s best-known artists including Antony Gormley and Morag Myerscough. Particular highlights include two works by Damien Hirst, Hydra & Kali and Mermaid. The first is a 17-foot-high sculpture depicting the Hindu goddess fighting a vast, many-headed serpent, while the second is a bronze of a more familiar mythical figure – they’ll soon be joined by six more works taken from Hirst’s 2017 Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable exhibition.