Olympic village sculptor gets solo Chinese exhibition

Anna Chromy, who designed the ‘Olympic Spirit’ sculpture for the Olympic Village in London in 2012, has become the first European to be invited to put on a one person show at the National Museum on Tiananmen Square in China’s capital, Beijing.

The show is on this month (12-25 October) and features 15 of her large sculptures, 20 small sculptures and 30 drawings.

Anna Chromy has 60 sculptures in public places across Europe.

In 2012 the President of the British Olympic Committee, Lord Moynihan, invited Anna to design the sculpture for the athletes’ Olympic village. Many athletes thought it lucky to touch it. It stood in front of the Team GB accommodation.

Anna is a Czech who grew up in Austria and is now based on the Mediterranean in Monte Carlo. She is perhaps best known for a monumental 50-tonne work in white Carrara marble titled ‘The Cloak of Conscience’. It is so big you can walk inside it.

A painter for many years, Anna was in a serious car accident in 1992 which had a profound effect on her. As she recovered she decided to start making sculptures.

In June 2005 at a mass for her 40th wedding anniversary, the Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Saint Francis in Assisi asked Anna if she could conceive the Cloak as a space of meditation, according to the words of Saint Francis “to use in the absence of a consecrated space our own body as a place for prayer and contemplation”.

This was the moment that launched the project that Anna had cherished since her first painting of the Cloak – to carve the cloak from a single block of white marble. Anna had to wait for a year until she received, on Christmas Eve 2006, the news that the quarry in the Apuan Mountains in Tuscany had extracted a piece of marble weighing 250tonnes, from which the cloak could be carved.

It is now seeking a permanent home. Jerusalem has been mooted.