The 2012 Olympic swimming poster

I give you the Olympic swimming poster (not literally obviously):


Limited edition prints of this are available for the low, low price of only £1000. And lest that be considered pricey, I’d like to point out that it includes free shipping. In the UK.

I posted this on Twitter and elsewhere, and separately from the different artistic tastes of people, ( I think it’s rubbish) I was interested in the responses. It’s not relevant whether one person likes or dislikes it, that a matter of personal taste.

Though the overwhelming reaction from swimmers was negative, one response was: “The lack of appreciation for abstract art (amongst swimmers) is disappointing. Every great painter I’ve known has been a swimmer. Isn’t there some correlation between the beauty of the sport and the beauty of the process and colour here that can be appreciated or understood?”

Implicit in responses of this kind is that it a failure of artistic appreciation of the viewer(s). That the viewer with the negative taste must be a Philistine. Not that the viewers might have a specific artistic tastes of their own. There seems little cognizance that swimmers might have very specific feelings about their sport and its environments. Of course art isn’t a popularity contest. One definition is that art should provoke.

Swimming for me isn’t so simple unimaginative as blue swirls, as you have seen from a lot of photos and writing here, and the original tagline of the site: “These are the colours of open water swimming“.

Swimming is grey and green and white and turquoise and black and umber and sienna, light and shadows and dark. Water isn’t blue, it merely reflects the blue of the sky or pool tiles, and to me this shows a lack of imagination.

Swimming is the penultimate freedom. It is freedom of motion in liquid medium, our origins pursued. It is a quantum act, which collapses waves of potentiality, and the probability becomes reified, where what the swimmer can do and what the swimmer does are exclusive and the collapsing waveform is a motion of limited flying and it is the pursuit of limits. The shifting lines scribed across the surface blaze for us. The swimmer strives beyond expectations and boundaries. It is a world of curves, the swing of an arm, the parabola of entry, a pelagic motion, where I can never express the colours behind my eyes … but I keep swimming so I keep trying.

Twitter: where people on the other side of the world can instantly tell you what you are not allowed to say or think.

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