The Line art and sculpture trail: Olympic Park to O2

A new sculpture and art trail linking up Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and The O2, taking in Cody Doc, the River Lea and Royal Docks, opens in East London this weekend.

Damien Hirst's Sensation scultpure, an oversized model of skin cross section of skin
Sensation by Damien Hirst will be one of the sculptures featured on The Line

The Line art project will see over 30 sculptures by the likes of Damien Hirst, Martin Creed, Gary Hume and Eduardo Paolozzi installed along a walkway that broadly follows the Meridian, linking two iconic sites of East London: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the O2.

The full route includes rare reed beds with kingfishers along the River Lea at Cody Dock — believed to be named after 19th century American showman Buffalo Bill Cody — as well as the Three Mills Studios website and Emirates Air Line.

The Line will take advantage of work being done by the London Legacy Development Corporation to open up East End waterways to the public and will be showcasing existing works too.

Damien Hirst’s bronze sculpture Sensation is one of the sculptures featured on The Line. The piece, shown here, is an oversized anatomical model showing a cut away section of human skin. Fellow Turner Prize winner Martin Creed’s Work No.700, an enormous stack of steel beams, will also be on the trail. Vulcan by the late Sir Eduardo Paolozzi and Gary Hume’s colossal structure Liberty Grip can also be viewed on the route.

The project is the brainchild of London-born art dealer Megan Piper. It did not receive any public funding so money was raised via crowd funding and fund-raising art auctions.  “I am hoping the auctions — along with the crowdfunding project which raised £140,000 — will mean Londoners have a sense of ownership of The Line.”

Film director, and Bow resident, Danny Boyle, Turner Prize winner Mark Wallinger and runner Christine Ohuruogu are among those who have supported The Line. Danny Boyle said the Olympics were a huge success that showed people wanted a sense of belonging to the city, adding: “A sculpture walk like this — The Line — will be for everyone to enjoy. They’ll be able to say that this is something that came out of that wonderful festival we had.”

Ms Piper co-founded the project with urban regeneration expert Clive Dutton OBE, alongside architects Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners. Sculpture expert Carolyn Miner curated the project. Galleries including Hauser & Wirth, White Cube and Pangolin London have loaned works for two years.

London’s artistic version of the New York’s High Line, The Line cost circa £3million and will run for three years.  Fund raising has already begun to secure the following three years with new art works, and the hope is this will become a permanent trail.

It’s free to walk The Line – or run or cycle it.  For more information visit The Line website and  follow The Line on Twitter.

The official launch of The Line will be from 3pm on Saturday 23 May 2015, and will feature feature guided walks, talks and live music, exhibitions, films, a garden party, drinks and food stalls.


Follow Tabitha Stapely:

Tabitha Stapely is a local resident and CEO of Roman Road Trust, a community development organisation working a community-led vision for Roman Road. Stapely is also the founder of Social Streets, a digital media company publishing high street brands.

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