Tick Tock

Sarah Morris, Big Ben, poster for  London Olympics 2012

We didn’t see the official London Olympics posters much here in America (not sure about my friends in other nations) but Londoner’s reactions to them were decidedly negative.


From the classically British

Oh dear… not very good are they?

to the scathing

Thought this may have been a joke at first, still have a hard time believing this is actually tied in to the Olympics, or anything respectable really. Does being a “well known” artist mean you don’t have to try anymore?

I’m featuring my pick from these slim pickin’s. Sarah Morris’s Big Ben 2012. 

As you might realize from the onset, she features London’s most iconic time piece as a double entendre for both the city and the reality that the Olympic machine turns on seconds and milliseconds. Gold and silver decided by a razor edge of time, seconds sliced down to decimal places incomprehensible.

She’s plucked the minute and hour hands from their traditional place and multiplied them.  Stretched them into taut bolts, arrows both coming and going. Time as a weapon? A severed dream. Arrow – can you hit the mark? On your marks.

The concentric circles tell the story of  the clock face and suggest the Olympic rings piled one on top another. A flag-like diversity of color embraces the panoply of countries gathered.

It’s cool, strong and graphic with layers of meaning. Will it be a winner in the art legacy of Olympic posters? Only time will be the tell.