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Road to 2012: Aiming High

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Start Date:19th July 2012
End Date:23rd September 2012
Road to 2012: Aiming High

Striking new portraits of Mark Cavendish, Boris Johnson and Anish Kapoor were unveiled today Thursday 19 July 2012 at the National Portrait Gallery, as part of its new exhibition Road to 2012: Aiming High, by its patron, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge.

After three years and more than 100 photographs, the National Portrait Gallery’s largest commission, made possible by BT, includes 40 new portraits of some of the key players in London 2012.

The works by photographers Anderson & Low, Nadav Kander and Jillian Edelstein go on show at the National Portrait Gallery from today 19 July. The exhibition is part of the London 2012 Festival, the spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration from 21 June until 9 September 2012, bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK.

Among Anderson & Low’s group of athletes and sports support teams are imaginatively depicted portraits of cyclist Mark Cavendish, the Men’s Rowing Eight and Rowing administrators Maggie Neto and David Tanner in a composition which echoes Grant Wood’s iconic American painting American Gothic.

Anne Braybon, Commissions Manager for the National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 project, says: ‘Anderson & Low return to a formal style for Road to 2012. By carefully selecting the locations and meticulous positioning of their sitters they create timeless tableaux to depict athletes and support staff behind Olympic and Paralympic aspiration’.

Jillian Edelstein’s cinematic use of locations tells the story of people involved behind the scenes in the administrative, artistic and cultural arenas, such as Mayor Boris Johnson, artist Anish Kapoor and director Stephen Daldry, from the planning of the opening ceremony to the catering and transport operations.

‘For the Road to 2012’, says Anne Braybon, ‘Edelstein draws on her passion for film to create cinematic vignettes with her sitters. She uses intriguing locations, and carefully crafted lighting to reference the stories behind the final preparations for the Games and the legacy work in the east of London’.

Nadav Kander’s portraits include Rising Stars, four black and white studies of talented young athletes, including Jade Jones and Lawrence Okoye, and Torch Bearers, ten life-size cut-out photographs of ten Olympic torchbearers shown floating above the ground, apparently stepping out in front of the gallery walls.

Anne Braybon: ‘For the Road to 2012 Nadav Kander’s compelling portraits of talented young athletes reference the iconic black and white portraits of the 1940s and 1950s such as Karsh, Brandt and Penn. Using dramatic lighting, and the interplay of highlights and dense rich shadows he focuses on the vulnerability he observed in his sitters. These contrast with his quiet sensitive portraits of ten torch bearers who represent 8000 ordinary people, nominated, for their extraordinary achievements, to run with the Olympic flame.’

These new portraits will be shown alongside 25 portraits by Brian Griffin, Bettina von Zwehl, Finlay McKay and Emma Hardy, who were commissioned over the last two years of the National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 project, which documents the preparations for London 2012.

Thanks to funding from BT, Road to 2012: Aiming High will conclude the journey to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games that started with the exhibition Road to 2012: Setting Out in 2010 and continued with last summer’s Road to 2012: Changing Pace.

Road to 2012: Aiming High is the largest of the Road to 2012 three-year summer cycle of exhibitions and is stylishly staged across several contrasting spaces throughout the Gallery. Celebrating the people who will collectively make the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games happen, each annual exhibition has been displayed free to the public at the Gallery.

Venue Map

Address:St Martin's Place
Venue Website:www.npg.org.uk
Phone:+44 (0) 20 7306 0055

Images from Road to 2012: Aiming High

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