International artists awarded major commissions for City's Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program

International artists awarded major commissions for City's Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program
 The City of Vancouver announced six Canadian and international artists chosen to create major public artworks as part of its Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program. From a multi-hued LED light work under the Cambie Street bridge, to a major sculptural installation at the Georgia Street entrance to Stanley Park, these new legacy artworks will enhance Olympic and Paralympic venues, as well as some of the City's most iconic landmarks.

The diversity and innovation of the works reflect the City's vision to support and invest in the creative arts and culture of Vancouver during the next decade. The selected artists, who represent both senior and emerging artists from around the world, are:

. Berlin-based artist Gunda Förster, whose light installations can be found in major cities throughout Europe, is particularly interested in the way art shifts people's perception of public spaces. Her light-based work for Vancouver City Hall, which is her first North American commission, will appear to viewers as a skim of shimmering ice gracing the edges of the building. In addition to its artistic qualities, the piece's use of LED lights will significantly reduce the power consumption of City Hall's external architectural lighting.

. With work in major museum collections around the world, Vancouver artist Rodney Graham is a key figure on the Canadian and international art scene. Well-known for his conceptual and often humorous sculptures, his piece for the Georgia St. entrance to Stanley Park plays with the theme of flight, a nod to the location's nearby seaplanes as well as the toy model planes seen with children and adults on the park's grounds.

. Currently based in Paris, Tania Ruiz Gutiérrez's imaginative open-space video art installations and programmed digital works have gained her considerable worldwide recognition. Her light-based sculptural work under the Cambie St. Bridge at West Second Ave. takes its inspiration from the geometric yet abstract patterns in weaving and will use a special heat camera to capture and record the movement of passers-by.

. Canadian artists Adrian Göllner and Pierre Poussin are recognized for site-specific works that incorporate a variety of mediums and contrasting materials to animate environments. For this Vancouver installation, their first collaboration, the duo has developed an artistic lighting scheme for Vancouver's downtown core, specifically along the Cambie/Hamilton St. corridor. Mounted to lampposts and using the latest LED technology, these decorative street lighting elements will not only be beautiful and playful, but they will also connect the City's two Olympic Live Sites during the Olympic Games.

. Most recently seen as part of the Vancouver Art Gallery's exhibition How Soon Is Now?, Vancouver artist Christian Kliegel's installations aim to contextualize materials within a given framework. His architectural-inspired structure on the north plaza of the Central Library will serve as an open-air theatre for a program of still and moving images and performances by local artists curated by Cate Rimmer, curator for the Charles H. Scott Gallery at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

All of the pieces are permanent installations, with the exception of the Central Library project, which will be mounted for one year. Installations will be complete by the beginning of 2010.

The winning artists and projects were selected by three independent juries following three international open calls that garnered more than 300 entries. All juries were comprised of artists, curators, design professionals and community members.

These six artists join Canadian artist Myfanwy MacLeod, whose permanent commission, The Birds, for Southeast False Creek Olympic Plaza was announced earlier this year.

The most ambitious civic public art program introduced to date, the City of Vancouver's Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program includes more than 20 commissioned public art projects, spanning large-scale legacy installations to artist-initiated community-based works. Additional projects will be announced in the coming weeks.

For more details about these artists and other Olympic and Paralympic Public Art projects, visit the Creative City section of Host City website at

Wendy Soobis
Cultural Services
T: + 1 604 873 7277

Concept image of Gunda Förster's light-based commission for Vancouver City Hall (Photo: Tania Ruiz Gutiérrez)