2012 Olympic Posters Revealed

This is London: They show Britain in all its off-beat, colourful and eccentric glory. And they are almost certainly not the sleek images that an advertising guru would recommend.

The 12 official posters for the Olympic and Paralympic Games unveiled today will offer every Briton and visitor a chance to own a slice of the imagination of Tracey Emin, Chris Ofili or Bridget Riley for £7.

Michael Craig-Martin, the artist who also taught the YBA generation of Damien Hirst, presents a simple command, Go, in his trademark black lines and block colours.

Some present pivotal moments of the Games in their own terms such as Martin Creed's extended podium of five steps in the colours of the Olympic rings.

Yet others seem as gloriously abstract as only an artist with no interest in the actual sport could produce - as in Howard Hodgkin's deep swirl of blue entitled simply Swimming.

Ruth Mackenzie, artistic director of the Cultural Olympiad and one of the panel who selected the artists from a longlist of more than 100, said she would buy one of each.

"I think they're beautiful and very touching," she said. "One of our ambitions was to put art at the heart of the Games so it's really great to get the official posters to showcase UK visual artists to the world."

Tracey Emin said she was nervous unveiling her poster, having taken much flak when she was chosen to create one, and that it had been "really difficult" to come up with her idea. Organisers rejected the slogan "I might not come first but I still enjoy sex" before accepting "You inspire me with your determination and I love you". She added: "I think it's good that they chose artists, not designers or publicists or marketing people." The other artists are Fiona Banner, Gary Hume, Sarah Morris, Bob and Roberta Smith, Rachel Whiteread and Streatham artist Anthea Hamilton.

Click here to see a slideshow of all the posters


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