Marking the opening of the Olympic Games in London, the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), joined forces with the Tate to commission twelve of the UK’s leading artists to create Olympic Posters. As part of the “UK Now Festival” of British arts and creative industries, an exhibition of these Olympic posters is now taking place at Xintiandi Style for a month, until August 31st, 2012. The event features the toast of British talent such as Tracy Emin, Bridget Riley, and Howard Hodgkin.
Shanghai247 headed down to the exhibition's opening the day before the beginning of the Olympic Games.
More than a showcase of some of the UK's most renowned artists, it is also a story of tradition. Since 1912, each Olympic host city has commissioned one or more posters to celebrate the hosting of the Games. Furthermore, the official posters of the Olympics and the Paralympics have become an artform in themselves, symbolizing the fusion of sport and the arts. Over the last century, the artists who created posters for the Olympics included such luminaries as Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein and Toulouse Lautrec!
As expected, most of the works for the London 2012 Olympics tend to be of a more abstract style - rather than depicting clear images of athletes, as was the norm in previous years. Almost all the posters feature adventurous and bold colors and characters, showing the beauty of sport and the Olympic culture as each artist offered their unique take on the Olympic idea.
For the occasion, two major Olympic athletes, Tao Luna, Chinese Olympic champion, and Jiang Chengji, the original Asia record holder of the 100-meter butterfly, made the effort to come to see the exhibition’s opening.
The London 2012 Olympic Posters Exhibition China Tour has particular significance for Sino-British relations this year. Not only is London picking up the gauntlet thrown down by Beijing's 2008 spectacular, it also coincides with the 40th anniversary of resumed ambassadorial relations between the two countries, highlighting the closer ties between the UK and China.
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WORDS: ALICE PAPIN