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Game of Forms

For the 28th edition of the pocket Tube map, Art on the Underground have commissioned Romanian artist Geta Brătescu to create a new artwork – marking the nonagenarian artist’s first public commission in the UK.

For Brătescu’s commission, she has created a collage which is part of her ongoing cycle Game of Forms (2009 – present). This work comprises vivid pink cut-outs with graphic, hand-drawn, black markings. Brătescu describes this collaging technique as ‘drawings with scissors’. The use of scissors give the vibrant pink triangles sharp contours while the imperfection of the heavy black lines, which are almost reminiscent of Japanese calligraphy, anchor the artwork in its materiality.

You in my bedroom

The Night Tube map cover series, first launched in 2016, works with early career artists, and coincides with Art on the Underground’s long standing series of Pocket Tube map covers, established in 2004.

You in my bedroom presents a portrait in which Marie Jacotey turns the male gaze o­­n its head, staging a voyeuristic image of a young man looking through his bedroom window at night. In the positioning of the subject with his back to the viewer, the portrait aims to evoke questions about the scene the observer is presented with. When making the work, Jacotey used her own experience of quiet, late night journeys by train and how these travels give space to ruminate and reflect. There is often a juxtaposition between loud, crowded groups heading towards or returning from late night social gatherings and tired, solitary travellers. For the cover of the map, Jacotey has drawn on this solitude using coloured pastel to create an intimate portrait of the night.

my name is lettie eggsyrub

Art on the Underground present a major new commission by British artist Heather Phillipson for the disused platform at Gloucester Road Underground station. my name is lettie eggsyrub, Phillipson’s first public commission in the U.K, will fill the 80m platform at the station and be on view for one year.

London-based Phillipson works in video, sculpture, online media, music, drawing, poetry and what she calls walk-in collages. Relationships between human and non-human animals are a recurring theme in her work and for this commission she focusses on the egg as an object of reproduction, subject to human interference. In her space-filling sculptural and video installation for Gloucester Road’s disused platform, Phillipson will use video game-style layout techniques to magnify eggs and avian body-parts to monstrous proportions.

2018 Programme Announcement

Art on the Underground will commission a year-long programme of women artists in 2018, which marks 100 years since the Representation of the People Act, enabling all men and some women over the age of 30 to vote for the first time.

To mark this, Art on the Underground, Transport for London’s public art programme, has commissioned work by an international selection of women artists with highlights including:

  • A major project with British artist Heather Phillipson filling the 80 metre long disused platform at Gloucester Road station
  • A major new billboard commission by British artist Linder at Southwark station
  • Tube map covers by Romanian artist Geta Brătescu, French artist Marie Jacotey and  British artist Jade Montserrat
  • The first commission in a new programme at Brixton station taking the Brixton murals as an initial point of departure, by Nigerian-born artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby
  • A new commission by Nina Wakeford to coincide with the new Northern Line Extension

 

Throughout history, women artists have questioned feminist identities, gender roles and sexual politics to push for social change. The programme will give space to the diverse publics that make up our society, addressing structural gender imbalance which is prevalent in the arts and in particular the public arts.

The programme will have mass presence across London; at street level on billboards at Brixton and Southwark, on the cover of over 25 million Tube maps, and in a hugely ambitious sculptural intervention on an 80 metre long platform at Gloucester Road Station. There are almost six million journeys taken on London Underground each day, and Art on the Underground’s 2018 programme will put women at the forefront of public space.

Rainbow Aphorisms

Art on the Underground have worked with Studio Voltaire and the Estate of David McDiarmid to present a selection of the artist’s Rainbow Aphorisms series at Brixton Underground station.

David McDiarmid (1952–1995) was an Australian artist, designer and activist, recognised for his prominent and sustained artistic engagement in issues relating to queer identity and history. Rainbow Aphorisms are a series of printed multiples, produced from 1993 until the artist’s death in 1995 of AIDS–related  illnesses. McDiarmid produced these works in response to his own, and his community’s, experience of the AIDS crisis, and the multiple forms of devastations it manifests –political, emotional, intellectual and medical.

“I wanted to express myself and I wanted to respond to what was going on and I wanted to reach a gay male audience. I wanted to express very complex emotions and I didn’t know how to do it … I was in a bit of a dilemma. I thought, well, how can I get across these complex messages. I didn’t think it was simply a matter of saying gay is good.” – David McDiarmid, 1992.

Pimlico Tiles

The construction of the Victoria line began in the early 1960s, with a uniform clean design for each station. Individual character is brought into stations by a unique tile design sitting behind benches on the platforms. At Pimlico station, it was decided that a contemporary artist would be appropriate to link the station to the Tate Gallery (now Tate Britain), just a few minutes walk away. Peter Sedgley was chosen. In the 1960s, Sedgley was developing his ‘op-art’ style of work, optically confusing artworks that challenge your perceptions. He based his design at Pimlico on his painting ‘Go’ of 1968. Many of Sedgley’s works can be found in Tate’s collection. Other bench recess designs along the Victoria line feature work by designers and graphic artists Abram Games, Edward Bawden, Hans Unger, Alan Fletcher, Tom Eckersley, George Smith and Julia Black.

Paolozzi Restoration at Tottenham Court Road station

Eduardo Paolozzi’s mosaics at Tottenham Court Road are one of the most spectacular examples of public art in London. Completed in 1986, the glass mosaics cover 950 sq metres featuring prominently on the Northern line and Central line platforms and an array of interconnecting spaces. The mosaics reflect Paolozzi’s interpretation of the local area and his wider interest in mechanisation, urbanisation, popular culture and everyday life.

As part of a major renovation of the station, the mosaics have undergone significant restoration and conservation work. Around 95 percent of the mosaics have been retained at the station while it underwent a huge expansion to prepare for the introduction of the Elizabeth line and meet the needs of London’s growing population. Restoration and repair work has taken place on the Northern and Central line platforms, and in the Rotunda.

One of the final and most complex aspects of the project was the relocation of the striking mosaic panel from the former Oxford Street entrance. Following intensive planning and consultation with conservation experts, the artwork was carefully removed from the wall in one piece and lowered down a lift shaft to begin its new life at platform level.

Sections of the arches that could not be relocated within the station were transported to the world-renowned Edinburgh College of Art, based in the city where Eduardo Paolozzi studied in 1943 and later became a visiting professor. They are currently being used in teaching a new undergraduate programme, ‘Edinburgh Collections’, and the University is consulting with specialists over how best to reconstruct the mosaics into a new piece of public art.

To find out more about the restoration project, watch our documentary below.

you don't know what nights are like?

The project focuses on night-time workers, with a number of interviews made with those who regularly work nights across a wide range of job roles. Those interviewed often work between 8 to 12 hour shifts, some have been doing so for over 15 years.

Tabrizian has taken an abstract approach to representing night-time workers. She has photographed the image of an individual walking through an empty landscape. The boundary of day to night is captured through a gloaming sky. The landscape appears at first glance to be rural, but is in fact in the city, with glimpsed train tracks and flat blocks beyond.

In a second image, devoid of people, an isolated building stands alone against a wide sky in a dawning light. These images stand in for a wider community of night time workers living as if on the edge of the city.

The works are displayed at huge scale at Southwark station, utilising billboards on The Cut and Blackfriars Road. Sitting prominently in the city centre, the project is an attempt to bring the margin to the centre, to indicate the significance of the people whose work is essential to London’s existence, without which the city would not survive.

Beauty < Immortality

Visionary London Transport CEO Frank Pick, whose designs have influenced London travel since 1906, is commemorated with a permanent memorial by Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell.

The work, entitled Beauty < Immortality, commissioned by London Transport Museum and Art on the Underground was unveiled on Monday 7 November 2016 at Piccadilly Circus station, the 75th anniversary of Pick’s death.

Langlands & Bell’s striking wall installation features the famous London Underground logo, the roundel, and solid bronze letters in Johnston Font, which was commissioned by Pick in 1915 and is still used across the London transport network today.

The words of the commission relate to Pick’s philosophy on beauty, utility, goodness and truth, and were discovered by the artists in Pick’s personal papers, which are conserved in the London Transport Archive. The memorial emphasises Langlands & Bell’s shared conviction with Pick that the quality of our surroundings contributes decisively to our quality of life.

Beauty < Immortality is an exquisite addition to Piccadilly Circus, one of the stations Frank Pick commissioned leading British modernist architect Charles Holden to design.

 

Underline: Design Work Leisure

Art on the Underground is pleased to announce a new series of permanent artworks devised by Design Work Leisure (DWL) installed at Blackhorse Road, Victoria and Vauxhall stations between 2015 – 2017.

Design Work Leisure (DWL) is a design office established by artist Giles Round in 2015 as part of Underline a series of art commissions for the Victoria line. DWL revisits the values and vision of Arts & Crafts exponent William Morris who believed that great art should be for everybody. The project also celebrates the legacy of Frank Pick, managing director of London Underground in the early 20th century who commissioned many of the great design tropes of London Underground including the Johnston typeface and Harry Beck’s Tube map.

DWL’s designs utilise historical models of production, working with London Underground tile manufacturers Craven Dunnill Jackfield and in doing so the project provides a critical lens to examine contemporary aesthetics and the hierarchies between applied and fine arts.

Drawing on the belief that good design leads to a better society, Round’s office launched in Summer 2015 with a design directive for the Victoria line. Distributed for free in every Underground station, the Directive outlined DWL’s design aims and objectives for producing functional yet quality crafted objects for use in the network. Over the 12-month period of the project, Design Work Leisure built on London Underground’s rich design heritage to devise, research and develop bespoke products for the physical environment of the network, for staff and passengers to enjoy.