Arts and Design
Higher, further, quirkier
The London Olympics got Turner Prize winners to design the posters. Odd they are
In the grand tradition of David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol - famous artists who all designed posters for the Olympics - London this year tapped Britain's Turner Prize laureates Martin Creed, Rachel Whiteread, Tracey Emin, Chris Ofili and Fiona Banner.
They and seven other well-regarded homegrown artists created collectible posters for both the Olympic and Paralympic games. Unveiled last November at Tate Britain, the 12 posters are on display in the Drawing Room Bangkok.
Controversial artist Emin took the Paralympic values of "inspiration and determination" as the starting point for her print "Birds 2012", which she describes as "a love letter".
It depicts two kissing birds sitting on a branch beneath the words "You inspire me with your determination and I love you." The games' symbol of three looping "agitos" floats below them like feathers or leaves of a tree. Birds have frequently appeared in Emin's drawings to symbolise freedom and strength, while her use of hand-written text expresses personal thoughts and emotions.
"I thought about what I wanted to see and what would make me feel good, because this is about feeling good and celebrating what we have," Emin told the Associated Press. "It is not just about sport. It is also about courage and determination."
Fiona Banner hails the Paralympics with the black-and-white poster "Superhuman Nude", using words to define the shapes and forms of the body. A nude cyclist carries the words "piercing rod of muscle", "steel buttocks", "rhythmic rigidity", all alluding to his carbon prosthetic leg.
Five single brush strokes in the Olympic colours mark Martin Creed's minimalist "Work No 1273". He has said the shape represents an extended podium - with winners' places beyond first, second and third.
Rachel Whiteread's "LOndOn 2O12" features overlapping Olympic-colour rings in what resembles the marks on tables left by drinking glasses. They evoke memories of a social gathering.
Inspired by joggers he sees daily from his window, Chris Ofili's "For the Unknown Runner" places the figures in a huge vase motif, representing the Olympics of ancient Greece.
Michael Craig-Martin traditionally combines everyday objects like light bulbs and chairs with words. His symbolic poster "GO" combines that word in vivid orange with a stopwatch to convey the excitement and anticipation experienced in the moment before the starter's pistol is fired.
Howard Hodgkin's abstract "Swimming" uses fluid brushstrokes in blue to capture the movement of water and the sensation of swimming. It's one of his "representational pictures of emotional situations".
Gary Hume's abstract "Capital" features a black spot surrounded by pastel leaves, a reference to a wheelchair and a tennis ball.
Anthea Hamilton, Sarah Morris, Bridget Riley and Bob and Roberta Smith are the other participating artists.
GRAB A RING
The exhibition "London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Posters" continues through September 9 at the Drawing Room Bangkok.
Find out more by calling (02) 636 3313 or check www.TheDrawingRoomBangkok.com.