There is a unknown narrow alley that cuts across between Leadenhall Street and Fenchurch Street, easy to miss, its rough stone walls reminiscent of a prison rather than a historic city alley. Surprise, surprise; it is now an artwork ‘The Great Escape’ probably the most difficult to find in this year’s programme of public art across the City of London, ‘Sculpture in the City 2018’. It is not obvious, but is one of two of the artworks which are sound installations. In this case Miroslaw Balka recorded staff in the White Cube Gallery whistling the theme to the 1963 film ‘The Great Escape’ which NOW eerily permeates through the alley while in an isolated tree in Bishopsgate Marina Abramovic amplifies bird sounds in a work she first presented outside the SKC Cultural Centre in Belgrade, formerly a social club for the secret police, when she joined a student protest seeking recognition of cultural and creative activities – quite a contrast to her sculptural work in alabaster which was on show at Masterpiece 2018 earlier in the month.
These are the two sculptures which are not seen, but heard. Elsewhere in the City work by artists including Sean Scully, Shaun C. Badham, Sarah Lucas, Karen Tang, Thomas J Price, Jyll Bradley, Juliana Cerqueira Leite, Nancy Rubins, David Annesley and Jean-Luc Moulene enlivens the public area, in front of the historic, modern and future buildings, as the city workers enjoy the summer sunshine.
The most traditional sculpture is perhaps Sarah Lucas’s life-size bronze of a massive Clydesdale horse and cart, albeit with two immense concrete marrows in the cart, while Shaun C.Badham’s neon sign ‘I’m Staying’ was created in 2014 before the Brexit vote. It perhaps has some meaning with the state of Brexit negotiations today.