Friday 15 August 2014 – Media Release

Public Art comes to life in Canary Wharf

Amongst the bustle of shoppers and workers in Canary Wharf’s Cabot Square sits the bronze sculpture ‘Couple on Seat’ by renowned artist Lynn Chadwick. On 19 August, Canary Wharf Group’s ‘Couple’ will become the latest statue in London to be given its own voice as part of the ‘Talking Statues’ project led by Colette Hiller. Passers-by can swipe their smart phones on a nearby tag to hear the bronze figures come to life with monologues that offer a comedic take on the two sides of a marriage voiced by celebrated British comedians and actors Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar and fabulously written by author of Meatspace and Coconut Unlimited, Nikesh Shukla.

The national Talking Statues initiative animates 35 sculptures in London and Manchester for a year, coupling humorous monologues that have been inspired by each of the individual works of art. The producers, Sing London, have commissioned some of the nation’s most celebrated writers to pen soliloquies for this range of iconic figures, each read and interpreted by a cast of equally talented actors, comedians and celebrities.

This interactive addition to the Canary Wharf cultural landscape offers a unique, engaging interaction with an artistic landmark, in a piece which Syal says will ‘make people think and laugh’. The statues will come to life on 19 August and promise to offer a creative spot on the Estate for people to enjoy a brief escape into the world of ‘Talking Statues’.

Visitors can incorporate a trip hearing from ‘Couple on Seat’ into a whole tour of public sculpture and art, with Canary Wharf’s downloadable art map which uncovers the hidden gems in one of the UK’s largest collections of public art. There are over 65 artworks and sculptures integrated into the estate, all free to view and produced by some of the most inspired artists, designers and craftsmen of today.


Event details

‘Couple on Seat’ in Cabot Square
From August 19

For further information, please contact:

Rachel Bowen / Charlie Smith
The Communication Group plc
T: 020 7630 1411


About Canary Wharf Group plc
Canary Wharf Group plc is an integrated property development, investment and management group of companies. It is focussed on the design, construction, leasing and management of grade A office space and high-quality retail, residential and leisure facilities in central London. Over the past 20 years Canary Wharf Group has regenerated derelict wharves into one of the world’s premier business and shopping districts, constructing over 16m sq ft of office space; more than any other company in London. These buildings are now occupied by over 100,000 people.

Canary Wharf Group’s tenants, clients and occupiers include some of the world’s leading business organisations from the media, legal, accounting, financial services, IT, energy and transport sectors. Canary Wharf Group has also developed and successfully let over 300 shops, bars, cafes and restaurants including many of Britain’s leading brands.

In addition to development on the Canary Wharf Estate, the Group is also involved with projects across London. The Pan Peninsula and Drapers Gardens developments have been successfully completed and construction continues on 20 Fenchurch Street (Walkie Talkie) in the City of London which is already 87% let. The Group is also in a joint venture with Qatari Diar for the redevelopment of the Shell Centre on London’s South Bank.

About Canary Wharf Group’s Public Art Programme

Canary Wharf has one of the UK’s largest collections of public art and provides year-round exhibitions by leading artists, all free to view.

In 2010 Canary Wharf Group won the Christie’s Award for Best Corporate Art Collection and Programme at the International Art and Work Awards, beating entries from around the world.

Canary Wharf’s permanent collection now numbers over 65 works of art, including stand-alone pieces and integrated artist-architectural works, all executed by some of the most inspired artists, designers and craftsmen of today. Among these are a lighting installation by Bill Culbert, bespoke railings by Bruce McLean, floor and wall mosaics by Emma Biggs, together with numerous sculptural works and site-specific commissions by artists including Eilis O’Connell, Charles Hadcock, Danny Lane and Wendy Ramshaw. An illustrated Art Map is available showing the locations for the works of art found throughout the Estate.

‘Sculpture at Work’, the programme of temporary exhibitions held in the Lobby of One Canada Square and Jubilee Park, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2011 with the publication of ‘Sculpture at Canary Wharf: A Decade of Exhibitions’. Curated by Ann Elliott in collaboration with Canary Wharf’s Public Art team, the programme has shown more than 60 exhibitions in which over 150 artists have participated. Exhibitors have included Sir Anthony Caro OM, Lynn Chadwick, Laura Ford, Dan Graham, Charles Hadcock, Phillip King CBE PPRA, Eilis O’Connell, Wendy Taylor CBE and Franz West. Royal Academicians who have exhibited at Canary Wharf include Ivor Abrahams, Phyllida Barlow, Ann Christopher, Maurice Cockrill, Stephen Cox, Nigel Hall, Christopher Le Brun, John Maine and David Nash, and many younger artists have also shown their work here at the start of their careers.

Lynn Chadwick, Couple on Seat, 1984, bronze
Courtesy of the Lypiatt Studios and Pangolin Editions.
Lynn Chadwick (1914-2003) began his career as an architectural draughtsman but after World War II he took up sculpture. Couple on Seat is one of his later works. He produced many pieces with figures, following in the tradition of sculptor Henry Moore. This work is reminiscent of earlier sculptures in which he combined polished, faceted surfaces with rougher areas, supported on thin spindly legs. Chadwick created a permanent exhibition of his work at his home at Lypiatt Park in Gloucestershire.

About Talking Statues

The technology behind ‘Talking Statues’ has been developed by Antenna Lab, a division of Antenna International, leading cultural technologists and creators of Museum Guides.

Sing London is a non-profit arts organisation whose events aim to lift the public’s spirit. Whether they’re filling the streets with pianos or with public ping-pong tables, Sing London projects strive to connect people to each other, and to the public spaces around us all.

‘Statues can’t just talk by themselves!’ Talking Statues is made possible with financial support from NESTA’s Digital R&D Fund. Additional support comes from who have produced the recordings and from The John Ellerman Foundation, and Google Fieldtrip.

For further information, to request interviews or to enquire about filming, audio and photography opportunities please contact:
Anwen Hooson / Sophie Stott
Riot Communications
T: 020 3174 0118
E: /