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Animatronic statue comes to Bankside

An animatronic statue that reacts to and imitates the people around it has been unveiled in Bankside's Sumner Street.

Monument to the Unknown Artist by Greyworld
Monument to the Unknown Artist by Greyworld

Property developer Land Securities commissioned art collective Greyworld to create the piece to engage workers and shoppers at the Bankside 123 development.

The statue – called Monument to the Unknown Artist – is situated to the west of the Blue Fin Building and is located on the official walking route between Southwark Station and Tate Modern.

At first glance the figure seems to be a simple bronze statue standing on a stone plinth. However, the mischievous figure will observe the world around him and react to passers-by by mimicking poses they strike in front of him. The playful sculpture will even create his own poses if left alone.

"We are delighted to reveal Monument to the Unknown Artist which we believe perfectly reflects the artistic and performance-driven spirit of Bankside," says Land Securities' Mike Hussey.

"The sculpture breaks down barriers between art and the public, by inviting them to influence its movements. We believe it will engage the capital's residents and workers, as well as drawing visitors to the area."

Andrew Shoben, Greyworld's lead artist said: "The interactive nature of Monument to the Unknown Artist has enabled us to create the effect of a thousand sculptures in one. We believe that public art should truly engage the public and hope that this innovative piece of art at Bankside will challenge and inspire those who come to see it."

One of Greyworld's most famous works is The Source, a 32 metre installation seen daily on TV as it opens the London Stock Exchange's trading day every morning.

Monument to the Unknown Artist is situated a few yards away from another Land Securities art commission, Poured Lines, unveiled last year in Southwark Street.

• Restaurant chain Leon is about to open its latest branch at the base of the Blue Fin Building.

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