Boris Johnson's hopes for Brexit on the slide, says Orbit artist Kapoor
Sir Anish Kapoor has said he hopes Boris Johnson's feet land "firmly in Europe" when he tries out the new slide at Kapoor's Orbit sculpture.
The British-Indian artist said he would "pray, hope and work to stay in" the European Union ahead of the referendum on June 23.
The Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, east London, will open the next day.
It was designed by German-Belgian artist Carsten Holler at Sir Anish's invitiation to wrap around the sculpture he created in time for the London 2012 Olympics.
Sir Anish said he hopes to be among the first people to travel down The Slide with the mayor of London, adding: " I've got a little to conquer in myself before I can be the first but yes, I will do it with Boris. We want Boris to be the first and we want to make sure that Boris's feet land firmly in Europe."
Asked if that means he hopes for a vote to stay in the EU, he gestured to Holler and said: " Most certainly, this is a good European collaboration between the two of us."
Mr Johnson, who is backing the Leave campaign, will be out of office when The Slide opens as London will elect a new mayor on May 5.
Sir Anish emphasised that a vote for Brexit would impact creative projects, adding: " It will certainly have an effect on our ability, outside of Europe, to make projects like this, so we pray and hope and work to stay in."
The Slide, which will see thrill-seekers hit up to 15mph and twist and turn 12 times, will be the world's tallest and longest tunnel slide at 178 metres long and 76 metres high.
It will feature a tight corkscrew section called the "bettfeder", after the German word for bedspring, and will end with a 50-metre straight run to the ground.
Sir Anish, who is responsible for some of the most famous public sculptures in the world, including Chicago's Cloud Gate and Dirty Corner in Versailles, said he thinks The Slide will give new life to his work.
He said: " I think this idea of grafting one thing on to another is very important in allowing both to have a life.
"It doesn't diminish Orbit to have a slide, I think it does the opposite, so we are looking for the way meaning and experience join up with each other."
Holler said: " I don't want to hang this on being the longest and tallest slide in the world, which it is, it's really more a unique possibility for a unique experience for the people of Europe."
Tickets for The Slide are on sale now at www.acelormittalorbit.com.