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Sculpture by Idris Khan unveiled at One Blackfriars

London SE1 website team

A new public artwork by Idris Khan OBE has been unveiled at the foot of the One Blackfriars skyscraper.

Sculpture by Idris Khan unveiled at One Blackfriars

Southwark Council commissioned the work, titled 65,000 Photographs, on behalf of developer St George, who funded the sculpture through a section 106 agreement.

The artwork sits in the middle of the new piazza between the One Blackfriars tower of luxury flats and the adjacent low-rise Bankside Hotel.

"It is a great honour to make my first permanent public sculpture for London, and a pleasure to situate it within Southwark's rich history of art and culture," said Idris Khan.

"I first moved to London in 2002 and the city has given me so much in shaping the art I create.

"I am delighted I can now place something in the urban landscape that will invite viewers to reflect on their own thoughts about passing time.

"I am grateful to Southwark Council for helping me to realise this ambitious project." 

The towering sculpture is a product of Khan's personal archive of images from the past six years – some 65,000 images. Using this number of photographs, he created a monumental column for One Blackfriars.

The sculpture represents the volume of photography in the modern age and draws attention to the almost forgotten art of photographic printing, in our ever more digitised world.

Cast in aluminium, the textured surface of the sculpture echoes the delicate edges of each photographic print. At eight metres tall, the structure escalates skywards, its constituent blocks growing in size in relation to the dimensions of standard photographic prints: 5 x 7, 10 x, 7, 12 x 16 inches and so on.

Cllr Peter John, leader of Southwark Council, said: "We are delighted to welcome Idris Khan to Southwark and proud to host his first permanent public artwork in the UK.

"This striking and thought provoking new sculpture will add to Southwark's rich cultural offer and draw people to this fresh, new public space." 

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