London City Airport has unveiled its first ever public art commission – Destination
London, by the critically acclaimed East London artist, Anne Hardy. This unique work,
located in the West Pier arrivals corridor, will greet millions of international visitors as
passengers return to the airport and London reopens to the world. The commission,
which will be in place for two years, transmits a message of optimism and positivity
from nature, providing a unique welcome to the Royal Docks and its diverse and
vibrant cultural scene as City Airport once again connects travellers from across the
globe to the heart of London.
Curated by The Line, East London’s public art walk running between Queen Elizabeth
Olympic Park and The O2, Destination London aims to communicate a vivid sense of
the layered histories of London, expressed through the diverse but often overlooked
botanical life found around London City Airport.
Presented as a series of imagined and atmospheric landscapes through a sequence
of 4 large photograms, the works are made with a cameraless technique in a
darkroom through the manipulation of light and materials on paper.
Visitors will encounter the rich flora found by Anne Hardy at London City Airport, on the
airfield and from the original dock side, as well as in the wild spaces of Bow Creek and
the exotic species to be found in nearby urban gardens and allotments.
Destination London will encapsulate the long history of London as a place of travel,
trade and movement through the plants which have made their way here over
thousands of years.
Anne Hardy commented: “The Thames connects us literally to the past, and to the
trade and people who have travelled here over its surface. The surrounding landscape
of tidal flows and post-industrial development forms a kind of archaeology in flux,
which holds within it a parallel botanic universe of international plants. Many of which
were brought here by people; for food and connection to home cultures, as well as
for trade and botanic research.”
The Line celebrated its Fifth Anniversary in 2020 with an expanded programme
featuring new artworks, commissions and events, of which Destination London was
the first to be announced. A panel comprising local stakeholders and The Line’s CoFounder and Director, Megan Piper, selected Anne Hardy from a shortlist of East
Megan Piper, Co-Founder and Director of The Line, said: “We are delighted to have
curated this commission with Anne Hardy, which has transformed the International
Arrivals corridor for inbound travellers and welcomes visitors to London. The
international origins of local flora reflect the diversity that is a defining feature of the
city, which is important to celebrate now more than ever.”
Neil Dillon, Marketing Director of London City Airport, said: “London City Airport is
delighted to have installed ‘Destination London’, our first public art commission. Anne
Hardy’s work brings a new and exciting cultural dimension to our International Arrivals
corridor, with its vibrant colours giving off an air of calm and projecting feelings of
wellbeing and positivity from nature, as we emerge from the pandemic.
The plant life featured in Destination London was carefully collected by Anne Hardy
herself from locations around our airport. It is representative of flora native to many
parts of the globe, very fitting for an international airport in the heart of London – a
truly global destination.
We really hope that, over the next two years, international arriving passengers
embrace this unique and memorable welcome to East London from the moment they
touch down at the airport.”
Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said: “I am
delighted that London City Airport has unveiled a new public art commission to
welcome visitors to the capital. One of the reasons visitors love coming here is
because we are brimming with creativity, and these bold landscapes celebrate the
beauty within our city.”
Destination London is supported by the Mayor of London and the Royal Docks Team
and supports the Mayor’s #LetsDoLondon campaign.
Notes to Editors:
LetsDoLondon is the biggest domestic tourism campaign the capital has ever seen. It
was created in partnership with the city’s hospitality, culture, and retail industries. The
flagship campaign aims to encourage Londoners and visitors back into central
London and includes a programme of one-off special events created in partnership
with London’s best-known cultural institutions and tourism attractions.
The Line was established by art entrepreneur Megan Piper and the late regeneration
expert Clive Dutton OBE. It launched in 2015, unveiling monumental sculptures along
the footpaths of East London’s waterways. These works had previously been hidden
away from public view, in storage or in private collections. Since then, through the
generous support of sponsors and patrons, The Line has introduced many major works
of art by leading artists, to hundreds of thousands of local residents and tourists for free.
The Line was initiated through a crowd-funding campaign that raised over £140,000 in
2014 and, in the subsequent five years, it has run without public funding. The Line has
secured a mixed income portfolio of corporates, trusts and foundations (including
Garfield Weston Foundation and Bloomberg) and private donors. The project’s
success has also been underpinned by the phenomenal in-kind support it has received
from its founding supporters, including architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.
The Line currently includes works by 15 artists. The majority of these are loans from
artists, galleries and private collections but The Line also highlights a number of preexisting works along the route, including Antony Gormley’s Quantum Cloud and
Richard Wilson’s A Slice of Reality.
In 2020, The Line celebrated its fifth anniversary with the extension of its route into
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the launch of a new website and digital guide with
Bloomberg Connects and new site-specific projects, including commissions by
Thomas J Price and Larry Achiampong. In 2021, the programme of new projects
includes the addition of works by Tracey Emin and the renowned outsider artist,
Madge Gill. www.the-line.org
Anne Hardy is internationally recognised for her large-scale sculptural installations:
immersive, sensual works that combine physical materials with lighting and surround
sound. These works derive from places she calls ‘pockets of wild space’ – gaps in the
urban space where materials, atmospheres, and emotions gather.
Hardy brings this approach to her commission for London City Airport, seeking out the
overlooked and diverse botanical material in the surrounding urban space, and
drawing on the specific atmosphere of this post industrial landscape at the edge of
Thames to create a series of large scale photograms.
Anne Hardy was recently commissioned by Tate Britain, London to create ‘The Depth
of Darkness, the Return of the Light’ for their annual Winter Commission and is currently
included in the landmark touring exhibition British Art Show 9. In 2022 she will exhibit at
the Merz Foundation in Turin, as part of the shortlist for Mario Merz Prize, and will be
artist in residence at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. In 2019, Hardy was invited
to curate the Arts Council Collection, creating a site specific sensory installation, ‘The
Weather Garden’ at Towner Art Gallery, UK (2019). Recent solo exhibitions and
commissions include ‘Sensory Spaces #13’, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen,
Netherlands (2018), Museum Marta Herford Museum, Germany (2018), ‘Falling and
Walking’ at Leeds Art Gallery (2018) and ArtNight, London (2017). Hardy’s works are
held in major public collections including; Tate, Victoria and Albert Museum, British
Council, Arts Council Collection, and Leeds Art Gallery.
Anne Hardy is represented by Maureen Paley, London.
For Press Enquiries:
The Line and Anne Hardy:
07930 442 411
London City Airport:
David Leach, Head of Corporate Affairs
Installation shots of Destination London can be found HERE