Olympic prints and posters have been commissioned by the Games since 1912, with the likes of David Hockney, Bridget Riley and Chris Ofili all previously creating visuals for the sports world’s greatest event. Now Rio 2016 has come round, Counter Editions are publishing eight limited edition works from artists including Eddie Peake, Sam Taylor-Johnson, David Shrigley and Tracey Emin for Team GB. Here we present all of the official posters, along with some of the inspirations behind them.
“I wanted to make a ravey screenprint edition in which each print is effectively unique because of the way that colours are blended in the screenprinting process. I wanted there to be text, and for the text to be a poetic but also literal description of watching the superhero – like athletes in the Olympics – and for the description to be one that could also be a applied to other situations like, say, group sex, or dancing with people at a nightclub.”
“I was thinking firstly about the history of early Olympic posters. Also I wanted to use colours chosen for the Rio emblem to represent Brazil; blue, yellow, green. The green glass object is a spiral. The spiral as a motif often represents energy in a number of cultures. The yellow sphere contains many other smaller yellow spheres, which made me think about aspiration and the constant effort and dedication required to achieve Olympic standards. It’s elevated on an upturned glass, hovering. Upheld. The objects are set against a blue backdrop, contained as if in a cabinet; preserved like a trophy. There’s a history of the Olympics being documented, drawn, pictured. It’s important to continue this; to celebrate achievement and a coming together and to reflect on such through artistic projects.”
“I’m interested in the athletes’ moment of training – they try to attain perfect form, rhythm and balance. I aim to create visual metaphors for this in my design. My pictures are carefully choreographed moments. In this print, perfect bodies are woven together with abstract patterns. The swimmers are in the midst of training, fine honing their performance through repetition. Like an efficient machine, all the parts work in harmony with each other.”
“Reflection shows a space built in my studio, using salvaged materials, round mirrors, ropes and balls. It’s meant to suggest a space of action, potentially the residue of performances, exercises or games. I think about my photographic works and the installation works I make as physically existent ‘head’ spaces – physical projections of psychological spaces; liminal spaces at the periphery of our world that are a metaphor for something within us. I wanted to achieve a sense of anticipation, of what might, or already has happened.”
Prices start from £475 and are available to buy online at countereditions.com
Main image: Howard Hodgkin The Road to Rio 2016 Screenprint Edition of 350 76 x 60cm
All images © Counter Editions, London and Team GB Launch of the Official Limited Edition Prints for Team GB at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games