Exhibition Road Show comes alive for London 2012

By Kat Hopps | 30 July 2012
A photo of a curvy seahorse-style yellow sculpture in a large see-through case outdoors
© Linette Frewin
Cultural Olympiad 2012: Exhibition Road Show, Exhibition Road, London, until August 5 2012

Showcasing science, art, dance, music and natural history, Exhibition Road Show is a kaleidoscopic feast for the ears and eyes. This major nine day show, opened to coincide with the beginning of the London 2012 Olympic Games, is a celebration of both the city’s cultural landscape and the Great Exhibition of 1851, flanked by institutions including t he Natural History Museum and the V&A.

The festival’s ethos of creativity and innovation is symbolised by the wide array of talents on offer. They include musicians such as Eliza Carthy and Patrick Wolf, acrobatics, nightly pop-up ballrooms, bygone board games and storytelling from famous authors.

At the heart of this bohemian mix are three specially commissioned works of art which lend the exhibition a naturalistic air. Di Robson, Director and Producer of the Exhibition, says she wants to look at issues such as biodiversity, climate change and outer space, and for the artworks to “have a conversation with what is already on the road.” All three artists have positively risen to the challenge.

Katie Paterson’s Campo del Cielo, Field of the Sky is a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite which has been cast, melted and then re-cast back into its original shape as a new version of itself to merge together the different layers of time and cosmic history.

A photo of a woman kneeling on a sandy road holding a craggy grey rock sculpture
Katie Paterson takes a look at Campo del Cielo© Linette Frewin
While you could be forgiven for almost missing it at first glance – the meteorite’s small exterior and deliberate positioning by a tree could mistake it for any rock – once you bend a little closer it is easy to appreciate its unique hole-marked beauty and smooth surface.

Paterson encourages all to touch the exhibit and experience it in a different way; it’s certainly a delight to know you have personally encountered an ancient piece of space.

Further down the road lies another distinctive work by Slovakian artist Tomáš Libertíny. The Agreement manipulates nature through the creation of bee hives from man-made, stainless steel skeletons, which are pieced together.

The result is a wondrous ecosystem; yellow honeycomb artwork with a striking flower-like structure surrounded by the thousands of bees who made it: a reminder that this is indeed a living and breathing sculpture.

Making up the trio is Graeme Miller’s interactive media, On Air – a continuous commentary from the heavens of the V&A terracotta balcony on the comings and goings of London life above and below.

Inspired by the ability of sports commentators to draw audiences into their world, Miller has invited sports and arts broadcasters to observe what they see, from the passers-by on Exhibition Road to the planes in the sky.

The intention is to present an unfiltered and multi-layered stream of consciousness which evokes all of the city’s happenings. You are invited to listen in on bespoke in-ear radios, which is sure to amuse or confuse depending on your perspective.

As a whole, there is so much to see and experience at this festival that it seems impossible not to be caught up in its vivacity. Come with an open heart and you are sure to leave satisfied.

  • Open from 6pm weekdays, all day at weekends. Entry is free although some events are ticketed. Visit www.exhibitionroadshow.co.uk for full details.

More pictures:

A photo of a man sitting in a chair operating a small keyboard on a desk next to a laptop
Graeme Miller's On Air© Linette Frewin
A photo of a pair of female hands on top of a grey stone reflective sculpture in daylight
Campo del Cielo, Field of the Sky© Linette Frewin
A photo of a craggy silver stone sculpture on sand with a shadow of a person over it
Paterson's work is made from a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite© Linette Frewin
A photo of a young man standing next to a case containing a yellow curved sculpture
Tomáš Libertíny with The Agreement© Linette Frewin
A photo of a curved yellow sculpture seen through a glass case outside a large museum
The Road Show continues until August 5 2012© Linette Frewin
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