The Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage (OFCH) announces the programme for its inaugural Olympic Agora, set to take place around the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in the heart of the host city. On view from 1 July to 15 August 2021, the new initiative will present a series of art installations and an exhibition on the Olympic spirit and ideals, leading with the landmark commission of a permanent, site-specific sculpture by French artist Xavier Veilhan.
To mark the opening of the Olympic Agora ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the OFCH has commissioned Veilhan, who represented France at the 57th Venice Art Biennale in 2017, to create a permanent installation interpreting the Olympic values. Known for his exhibitions challenging viewers’ perceptions, Veilhan will present a life-sized sculptural work entitled The Audience, consisting of five human figures of various ages, genders and nationalities gathered in sport spectatorship. This legacy sculpture will be unveiled on 30 June, a day before the public opening of the Olympic Agora.
Veilhan said of The Audience: “The sculpture is intentionally a tribute to the audience of the Olympic Games, going beyond the sporting feats that are usually celebrated and bringing the focus to non-heroic figures, to highlight the importance of the public.” The artist continued: “This year in particular, the public—the audience—is somewhat the missing star of the Olympic Games. The Audience is not only the title of my work, but is also the summary of the current situation that we are all undeniably living through. It is for me a reason to give existence to this international public, who may be absent physically but all the more watching throughout the world. The sculpture will be its ambassador.”
The Audience comes as part of a series of artist commissions for the IOC’s Olympic Art Visions, an initiative directed by the OFCH. The programme engages leading contemporary artists to reinterpret the Olympic values for global audiences. In 2018, the OFCH commissioned Argentine conceptual artist Leandro Erlich to create a large-scale, temporary installation inaugurating the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.
Virtual tours of all Olympic Agora presentations and related programming will be available to local and international audiences free of charge on www.olympics.com/olympic-agora.