28 May 2012

Unveiling of Tony Heaton’s Monument to the Unintended Performer

view of the Channel 4 Headquarters in London, with Tony Heaton's monumental sculpture Monument to the Unintended Performer

“Channel 4’s Chief Executive David Abraham today unveiled the latest installation on the ‘Big 4′ outside the corporation’s Horseferry Road headquarters – the design of which celebrates Channel 4’s involvement and commitment to the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The installation, Monument to the Unintended Performer, is by disabled sculptor and artist Tony Heaton.  The piece brings together three elements in addition to the Big 4: the first based on the classical Greek sculpture Discobulus, the discus thrower, evoking the spirit of the Olympics; the second element, a circle, representing the wheel of the international symbol of access; and lastly, the introduction of gold, silver and bronze considers hierarchy.” (from the press release from Channel 4, here)

“I haven’t been very complimentary about public art in Britain over the years … But one building has been consistent in its original and striking use of space. The Channel 4 headquarters in Westminster has a vast figure four in front of its entrance. Last year, it was covered in a diverting collection of coloured umbrellas that brought smiles to the faces of passers-by. 

For the Olympics and Paralympics, the “Big 4″ has been transformed into an amalgam of a discus-thrower and a wheel that doubles as a wheelchair. This Monument to the Unintended Performer was designed by Tony Heaton, who himself uses a wheelchair, but the image encapsulates the spirit of both Olympics and Paralympics. It is huge, elegant and at once comprehensible on several levels. It deserves to have a life after this summer’s sports fest is over. An honourable place, perhaps, in the made-over Olympic Park?” (Mary Dejevsky in The Independent, 27 August 2012)