Cross and Cave

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Emerging like ruins from the future, Cross and Cave appear as two elemental shelters that create inviting cave-like spaces within their simple arrangement of leaning concrete slabs. Cross has two shelter spaces, formed by intersecting slabs, while Cave provides a secluded space accessible from one side. The dark colour and angular construction reflect the industrial history of this area.


Artists Heather and Ivan Morison are known for their shelters in public spaces. Their practice investigates the edges of cities, landscapes that are halfway between the urban and the wilderness. For the artists, caves are portals through which we can escape, as well as shelters from the things we can’t escape.


Cross and Cave are made from concrete cast in wooden moulds. The timber was first burnt with a blowtorch to transform the wood and bring out its unique texture so that the sculptures would bear the marks of the wood grain directly onto their surfaces. Local timber from the south of England and Wales was used, because of its wider grain. As each artwork measures over five metres wide they could only be transported to the Park at night, and were lowered into place at dawn on an April morning in 2013.


The Cross and Cave commission was supported by a group of young filmmakers from East London. You can watch their five-minute documentary about the artworks at QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk/arts-and-culture.