Olympic Park Artist Reinterprets French Masterpiece as Tribute to London 2012 Construction Workers

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An artist working on the Olympic Park has paid tribute to the workers building the London 2012 Games by recreating his own version of an iconic painting by French post-impressionist Georges Seurat.

Olympic Park artist reinterprets French masterpiece as tribute to London 2012 construction workers

Olympic Park artist reinterprets French masterpiece as tribute to London 2012 construction workers

Neville’s work captures the people that will make all this possible; the cornerstones of great Olympic feats that don’t make the headlines. 2012 is a celebration of sport, culture and London – but also of Londoners who make it the great city that it is

An artist working on the Olympic Park has paid tribute to the workers building the London 2012 Games by recreating his own version of an iconic painting by French post-impressionist Georges Seurat.

The National Gallery, which houses the original masterpiece, expressed that Neville Gabie – the Olympic Park’s artist in residence - had imaginatively reinterpreted the famous ‘Bathers at Asnieres’ for a post-industrial age.

Gabie’s version is called Freeze Frame. Seurat’s original can be seen here.

The image by Gabie forms part of the Olympic Delivery Authority’s (ODA) Art in the Park programme, and will be exhibited at the View Tube – a community viewpoint and cafe overlooking the Olympic Park near Pudding Mill Lane DLR station from January 28-March 18.

Gabie’s photograph recreates the 1884 pointillist painting’s composition, with the characters inhabiting the image taken from across the Olympic Park, including landscape gardeners, engineers, designers and security staff. The image reflects the range of tasks, diversity and skills of those delivering the venues and infrastructure ahead of this summer.

The ODA commissioned Gabie as Artist in Residence in September 2010, with funding from the Arts Council. Gabie has produced a variety of artworks and projects during his 15-month residency, which respond to the physical changes of the site and the huge range of jobs, skills and personalities that have delivered the project.

John Armitt, ODA chairman said: 'The ODA’s Art in the Park programme has strived to commission original and meaningful works. Neville Gabie’s unique take on Seurat’s 19th Century masterpiece will capture both the imagination and attention of art lovers as well as all those who have worked on the Park.
“It is a fitting tribute to everyone who has worked so hard to ensure the project will finish on time, within budget and to an excellent standard.'

Neville Gabie said: 'There is an obvious and surprising physical connection between the two landscapes, but the concept for the work explores the more striking similarities between the social and political contexts of the two. When Seurat painted the Bathers at Asnières in 1883-4 it was seen as a radical image, based as it was on working class people in an urban park, in an industrial landscape. Seurat was one of the first artists to celebrate the ordinary working man in the places they inhabited.'

Chris Riopelle, National Gallery’s curator of post-1800 paintings, said: 'In his iconic image, Seurat showed how the modern industrial landscape was coming to shape our lives some 130 years ago. Neville Gabie reinterprets Seurat for a post-industrial age. He shows us beauty and natural harmony in what might have seemed the most unlikely place.'

Moira Sinclair, London Executive Director of Arts Council England, said:
'This summer we will see elite, almost superhuman, athletes performing on a world stage in London. Neville’s work captures the people that will make all this possible; the cornerstones of great Olympic feats that don’t make the headlines. 2012 is a celebration of sport, culture and London – but also of Londoners who make it the great city that it is.'

Ruth Mackenzie, Director, Cultural Olympiad & London 2012 Festival, said: 'The ODA has done an amazing job of putting art at the heart of the Olympic Park and Neville Gabie’s take on Georges Seurat’s masterpiece is very much a jewel in the crown. Through the London 2012 Festival we are building on this platform, programming a celebration of arts and culture for the whole of the UK in the summer of 2012.'

Notes to Editors

Contact the National Gallery picture library on +44 (0)207 747 5996 for an image of Georges Seurat’s ‘Bathers at Asnieres’. Ask for Daragh Kenny.

A range of Neville Gabie’s works created during his ODA Residency will be on view at the Sparked exhibition, funded by The Legacy List, at the View Tube from 28 January – 18 March 2012. Free family art workshops run on 18 February. The exhibition celebrates Art in the Park commissions by the Olympic Delivery Authority, and is open daily from 9am – 5pm. Admission is free.
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Neville Gabie did an MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London 1986/88. Previous projects include; POSTS published by Penguin Books. Photographs from this publication have been exhibited in Japan Korea, Germany, Portugal, South Africa and the UK. Previous residencies include at Tate Liverpool, a four month residency at Halley Research Station, Antarctica with the British Antarctic survey, three years as artist in residence on a building site in Bristol – Cabot Circus ‘bs1’ and a five year project in a North Liverpool Tower block ‘up in the air’. He has worked on residencies as far afield as Guangzhou in China, a remote town in western Australia at International Art Space Kellerberrin Australia , as well as working on a photographic project with the Non- Governmental Organisation ‘Right to Play’ in Afghan Refugee camps in Pakistan. The ‘Right to Play’ programme was established by a three-time Olympic gold medal winner Johann Koss. His work is included in the Tate Gallery and Arts Council Collections. For more details visit http://www.nevillegabie.com

For further information please contact the Olympic Delivery Authority Press Office

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