London 2012: Olympic and Paralympic posters unveiled

LOVE in 2012 by Bob and Roberta Smith (detail)

A series of 12 Olympic and Paralympic posters, designed by leading UK artists including Tracey Emin and Chris Ofili, has been unveiled in London.

The images will be displayed in a free exhibition at Tate Britain next year, held as part of the London 2012 cultural festival.

Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota said organisers were "delighted" the artist had produced "such compelling images".

The unveiling followed the announcement of the arts festival's full programme.

The first thing to notice about the posters is how abstract they are, and how they could be for the Olympics at any time.

I can't remember seeing posters for the Olympics that don't directly relate to the host city or country. At the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 it was clear they were referring to Spain's flag, and for Sydney's games, an athlete in the shape of boomerangs was a clear nod to Australia.

But with this collection, you wouldn't know where the Games are being held. Maybe that in itself is a statement.

The six Olympic posters have been designed by Ofili, Martin Creed, Anthea Hamilton, Howard Hodgkin, Bridget Riley and Rachel Whiteread.

Their Paralympic counterparts are the work of Emin, Fiona Banner, Michael Craig-Martin, Gary Hume, Sarah Morris, and Bob and Roberta Smith - a pseudonym for the artist Patrick Brill.

The artists were encouraged to celebrate the Games coming to London and to look at the values of the Olympics and Paralympics.

The posters have such titles as Big Ben 2012, by Morris, Swimming, by Hodgkin, and Superhuman Nude, by Banner.

Earlier on Friday, the complete line-up of the London 2012 festival was unveiled at London's Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

The 12-week, UK-wide arts celebration marks the culmination of the four-year Cultural Olympiad and will run concurrently with the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Tracey Emin tells the BBC's Will Gompertz about the idea behind her poster

New events announced include a mass bell-ringing to mark the start of the Olympics on 27 July.

There will also be art installations at Stonehenge, Hadrian's Wall and other heritage sites.

They join previously announced events including the World Shakespeare Festival that will see the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and Shakespeare's Globe join forces for the first time.


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