London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games posters

Here are twelve posters that have been created by leading British artists to celebrate London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The artists were asked to create imagery that celebrates the Olympic Games coming to London and expresses the values of the Olympics and Paralympics.

The images will go on show at Tate Britain in a free exhibition as part of the London 2012 Festival this summer, full details can be found on the festival website The images will also be featured as part of a high profile campaign to promote the London 2012 Games.

The posters (at a cost of £7) and a small number of limited edition prints are available to order on the London 2012 online shop.

Rachel Whiteread – LOndOn 2O12
For her print, she has composed a pattern of overlapping rings in the Olympic colours. The rings explore the emblem of the Olympic Games, and also represent marks left by drinking bottles or glasses. They act as memories of a social gathering, such as the athletes in the stadium during the opening ceremony or the spectators of the Olympic Games.

Anthea Hamilton – Divers
In Divers the poised legs seem to capture a gymnastic pose or show, perhaps a synchronised swimmer diver holding a balletic position. Interestingly, the only Olympic sport exclusively contested by women is synchronised swimming. Divers evokes the engaging theatricality of synchronised swimming.

Sarah Morris – Big Ben 2012
To celebrate the Paralympic Games coming to London Morris has created an abstract representation of one of the city’s most iconic landmarks – Big Ben. The grids and vivid colours create a sense of dynamism and also evoke images of athletic tracks, swimming lanes, and field markings.

Bridget Riley – Rose Rose
For her Olympic print, Riley has arranged colours in horizontal stripes, indicating the direction of athletic tracks or swimming lanes. The relationships between the colours create a sensation of movement capturing the energy of sport and the Olympic Games.

Chris Ofili – For the Unknown Runner
Chris Ofili creates paintings inspired by personal experience, race, folklore, biblical narrative, and, for the last few years the island of Trinidad where he lives. In For the Unknown Runner a figure, somewhere between super-athlete and mythical being, sprints past a watching crowd. The figure is framed by a vase motif – a reference to the Ancient Olympic Games, which provided an arena for artistic and cultural expression as well as sporting excellence.

Martin Creed – Work No. 1273
For Work No.1273, Creed has made five single brush marks using a palette derived from the Olympic colours. The marks are arranged in an ascending form that seems to represent an extended podium offering places beyond first, second and third.

Howard Hodgkin – Swimming
Howard Hodgkin describes his paintings as representational pictures of emotional situations. For his Olympic print Hodgkin has created Swimming – a deep, swirling mass of blue flooding across the page.

Michael Craig-Martin – GO
In combining the word GO with a stopwatch Craig-Martin conveys with a sense of immediacy the excitement and anticipation experienced in the moments before the starter pistol is fired, and the roar of the crowd as they encourage their favourite athlete towards the finish line.

Gary Hume – Capital
The large, circular form represents the wheel of the wheelchair and the black tennis ball hangs suspended in space, with the tennis racquet poised to smash the ball across the net. The large circular form can also be seen as a mouth cheering from the audience.

Fiona Banner – Superhuman Nude
Banner’s print is a nude study of a Paralympic Athlete. The title alludes to the extraordinary physicality of this body. She focuses on strength and physicality but also on the fragility of a human awaiting competition.

Bob and Roberta Smith – LOVE
Taking the values of the Paralympic Games as a starting point, Bob and Roberta Smith propose the core elements of the athlete experience: courage, inspiration, love, and of course sweat.

Tracey Emin – Birds 2012
Emin took the Paralympic values of Inspiration and Determination as the starting point for her print and created what she describes as a ‘love letter’. Two small birds, delicately perched on branches, appear to kiss beneath the words ‘You inspire me with Your determination And I love you’.

Leave a comment