Tuesday 19 October 2021

5 Art Installations That Found a Home in London


Photo by Andrew Ruiz on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

Over the years, London has been graced by many weird and wonderful art installations. Some of these additions became permanent fixtures, while others were there just long enough to attract the attention of passers-by before moving elsewhere.

Here are five of the most fascinating installations to call the Capital home, however, brief their stay.


1)     One & Other, Anthony Gormley

Back in 2009, Anthony Gormley organised an occupation of Trafalgar Square’s vacant fourth plinth. For 100 days, 2400 members of the public had an hour to perform for the world.

The Guardian have ranked the top ten of these 2400 participants, including Jonathan May-Bowles who invited members of the public to text him their secrets so they could be read aloud, and Paul Speller who performed numerous scientific experiments. Art can certainly take many forms. 


2)     Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Read, Paul Cummins and Tom Piper

In 2014, a moat of 888,246 ceramic red poppies were placed in the grounds of the Tower of London, each representing servicemen that were killed in World War I.

The title of the work was taken from the poem of an unknown soldier, and at the end of the exhibition, the poppies were sold to members of the public, with the proceeds going to charity. It really was the most awe-inspiring installation.


3)     Spitalfields Silk Moths, Studio 29

As Spitalfields is known for its history of silk weaving, forty silk moths have been hung above the marketplace stalls, with each moth changing colour throughout the day to represent movement and metamorphosis. These moths are symbolic of the importance that silk had on the construction of the East End of London.  

Studio 29 worked with the experts at Ormiston Wire, to ensure that this permanent installation would hang safely above the heads of the general public.

Image Credit: Studio 29

4)     The Weather Project, Olafur Eliasson

Filling the open space of the Tate Modern’s Turbin Hall in 2003, was Olafur Eliasson’s The Weather Project.

Eliasson used humidifiers to create a mist while visitors to the installation bathed in the light of a large orange disk, representing the sun. The installation was a feature of the Tate Modern for six months and attracted 2 million visitors. It remains one of Eliasson’s most famous pieces of work.


5)     Tate Britain’s Winter Commission, Monster Chetwynd

In 2018, Tate Britain commissioned Turner Prize nominee Monster Chetwynd to create two giant leopard slugs that adorned the front of the building. The Slugs each measured ten metres and were made of a variety of compostable materials, while their slime trails consisted of strings of LED lights.

Perhaps one of the more unusual pieces for a festive time commission, Chetwynd has said she was inspired by a David Attenborough nature documentary about the creatures. It certainly wasn't my favourite art installation but it takes all sorts!


London has been home to a series of weird and wonderful artworks that have attracted visitors from all over the world and I'm sure this trend will continue as our Capital remains a favourite with tourists from all over the world.

What are your favourite London art installations? Do share with me. 

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