Go to: Main Content Go to: Navigation

Transport for London

Project details


Tube map cover by Tracey Emin

18 May 2012

Tube map cover by Tracey Emin

Available in stations from 8th June 2012

Add your comments or feedback

Art on the Underground is pleased to present the 16th cover of the Tube map by Tracey Emin.

Well known for her deeply revealing works, Emin has been commissioned by Art on the Underground to make a pocket Tube map cover for the London Olympic and Paralympic year.

The artwork, entitled The Central line, features a chirping bird sitting on a ‘branch’ of the Northern line.

When Emin was invited to make a new work for the cover, she was interested in the prospect of making something that would be distributed amongst such a large and diverse audience and that would be an integral element of a travel tool that millions pick up and use every day. She aimed to create an image that would reflect the personal and intimate nature of this object, and would make people to feel reassured about travelling on the Underground.

The artwork made by Emin utilises a technique frequently seen as part of her practise, a line drawing made as a mono-print. It depicts a bird sitting on a branch of the Northern line, which is connected to the Central line. The clear link to the Tube map, without the use of the colours, and to nature, combine two elements that Emin felt would offer her audience something compelling yet comforting to contemplate.

The bird as a motif has been important in Emin’s work for many years. Her focus on the Central line is also personal to her because it’s the line she uses most frequently; it takes her from her home in East London to the centre of the City. She has also added the names of a handful of stations and places that represent something of importance for her, for example, Oxford Circus, Victoria, and Shoreditch. The personal references within her artworks have been at the very core of Emin’s artistic output throughout her career and the use of the hand-drawn image defines one of the most important strands in her work.

This new artwork will be on public display for the first time from Friday 18 May at the London Transport Museum exhibition Mind the Map where a film interviewing the artists commissioned for the series will be presented. The map also coincides with Emin’s show at Turner Contemporary She Lay Down Deep Beneath The Sea, 26 May -23 September 2012.

Tamsin Dillon, Head of Art on the Underground, said ‘We are excited and privileged to be working with Tracey Emin on this new work to mark the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The artwork presents a moving and unique interpretation of the capital. I am looking forward to hearing what our customers think about this new work and the others in the series via our website.”

The map featuring Tracey Emin’s artwork will appear in stations in June 2012. Posters featuring the artwork will be available to buy from the London Transport Museum and Turner Contemporary in Margate.

Read more about Art on the Underground's previous Tube map cover commissions

Tracey Emin

Comments from the public

Post a comment

Comment posted by jack17blog, 18 Aug 2012

Adding this to twitter great info.

Comment posted by Rikki, 25 Jul 2012

What a scruffy talentless doodle it is. It makes the tube map look second hand and scribbled on while still brand new. Obviously Ms Emin has got exceedingly lazy in the last few years. What a complete waste of money. 10 out of 10 for who ever wrote the pretentious twaddle about it though "two elements that Emin felt would offer her audience something compelling yet comforting to contemplate" Get real - it is rubbish.

Comment posted by KAthrin Singer, 03 Jul 2012

I love it. So sweet and kind and different. Every time a joy to see the new designs.

Comment posted by Lucienne, 02 Jul 2012

Tracey has got Boring - I think it's more than great to have artists working with the Underground. I hope the Paolozzi murals will still be at Tottenham Ct Rd!!!

Comment posted by An oldie, 23 Jun 2012

You must be mad to take such rubbish seriously. I despair when remembering the great art London Transport used to publish!

Comment posted by Maz, 20 Jun 2012

I LOVE the new tube map cover. I collect them and I was delighted to see this lovely drawing this morning. One more to add to the collection. Yay!

Comment posted by Pat Caplan, 18 May 2012

Ironic that TFL's contractors have spent the last 2 years cutting down all the trees which border the Northern Line. Where will the birds sit to sing? Alas, nothing to smile about!

Add a comment

Back to Transport for London