Frieze Projects East

Frieze Projects EastA series of six high-profile commissions, one in each of the Host Boroughs

‘Frieze Projects East is a high point of the Cultural Olympiad.’ – The Financial Times

The series comprised of six public realm artists’ works commissioned for specific sites in the Olympic and Paralympic Host Boroughs in east London. The project brought international artists’ work to local audiences in interesting and dynamic ways, inviting exploration and engagement. An accompanying series of workshops, talks and events were programmed in conjunction with local arts organisations. These events sought to extend the reach of the artists’ commissions across a number of different audiences.

Commissioned artists: Can Altay, Sarnath Banerjee, Anthea Hamilton & Nicholas Byrne, Gary Webb, Klaus Weber and Ruth Ewan.

Working with the Newham based educational organisation Fundamental Architectural Inclusion, Frieze Projects East jointly programmed a film screening and walking tour of the local area. Aimed at local and art audiences, the event considered the changing face of Stratford and its neighbourhoods.



1_Sarnath Banjeree_Gallery of Losers_photo by Polly Braden

Indian artist, Sarnath Banerjee produced a series of graphic illustrations that depicted failed forays into amateur sports, alongside better-known partial successes in Olympic history.

The work was presented across all six Host Boroughs, over a six-week period appearing on billboards, posters, and local borough newspapers and selected hoardings.


1_CanAltay_Distributed_Polly Braden copy

Can Altay’s project was situated across a number of key buildings in Waltham Forest including Forest YMCA, Leyton Library and Waltham Forest Town Hall. The work consisted of twenty large, mirror ball-like sculptures placed on doors of these buildings. The sculptures were intended to be touched, used and handled by the local communities that live and work in Waltham Forest.

Alongside this intervention, the artist interviewed local community members to discuss their relationship with public space and public art. A series of discursive pamphlets, in the tradition of William Morris, were published and distributed documenting these conversations.

The newly refurbished William Morris Gallery, opened to the public on the 2 August 2012, provided a hub for Can Altay’s project. The gallery hosted an artists’ talk and workshop aimed at gallery visitors, local artists and project participants.


1_Hamilton_Byrne_Love_Polly Braden

Anthea Hamilton and Nicholas Byrne’s artwork consisted of large, brightly coloured, suspended, and freestanding inflatable sculptures housed in Poplar Baths. Closed since the 1980s, Frieze Foundation worked closely with members of Tower Hamlets council to open up the building to the public for the first time in over twenty years. The artists’ installation drew directly from the site’s history and therefore included the visual languages of art deco inspired by the period in which the building was re-built as a vibrant bathhouse, music hall and theatre.

The project also hosted walking tours of Poplar and the local area, led by local historian and archivist, Gary Haines.


1_Gary Webb_Squeaky Clean_Polly Braden copy

Gary Webb’s artwork Squeaky Clean takes the form of an interactive public sculpture and is a permanent commission situated in Charlton Park, Greenwich. Built from steamed wood, polished aluminium and cast resin, the work combines brightly coloured and large-scale public sculpture with elements of modular playground equipment. The work is aimed at local users of the park and the local community.


1_Klaus Weber_Sandfountain_Polly Braden copy

Klaus Weber’s commission presented a distinctive take on a traditional way to artificially ornament a site. Sandfountain took the form of a traditional, three-tiered fountain, but was engineered to propel sand rather than water. The work was housed in one of the old Sugarhouse Lane factories in Stratford, Newham, close to the main Olympic site.

Frieze Projects East was commissioned by Create and London 2012.  It was curated and produced by Frieze Foundation’s Sarah McCrory.