Art on the Underground’s programme for 2019 comprised major new works from internationally renowned artists. As we approached the prospect of the UK leaving the European Union and edged towards an uncertain future, the 2019 programme explored what it means to be ‘on edge’, individually, collectively, politically and socially. The 2019 programme looked at the role artists can play in developing utopian ideas of togetherness and belonging.
Bringing leading international artists to London, Art on the Underground’s programme discussed the emotional weight of longing and belonging to the city as it crossed this edge. Major commissions situated across London included:
- For her first UK public commission, Aliza Nisenbaum was in residence at Brixton station for two months, painting Transport for London staff.
- Laure Prouvost created her first public commission in the UK, an ambitious city-wide series of signs and slogans, infiltrating all 270 London Underground stations and was seen by millions of people each day.
- Denzil Forrester reinterpreted his seminal painting ‘Three Wicked Men’ from 1982 for his first public commission in over three decades.
- Larry Achiampong re-imagined London Underground’s iconic logo, the Roundel, in a configuration of his ongoing series, the ‘PAN AFRICAN FLAG FOR THE RELIC TRAVELLERS’ ALLIANCE’.
- Nina Wakeford presented her two-year research project alongside the new Northern Line Extension programme in South London.
- For the Pocket Tube map, Bedwyr Williams created one of his iconic drawings which merge art and life with a comedic twist.
‘Edges involve extremes. Edges are borders. Edges are very much about identity, about who you are … Who are you?’Ali Smith, ‘On Edge’, Artful, Hamish Hamilton, 2012
“Our 2019 programme reminds us that edges are not neutral, that crossing a threshold can question your very right to belong, to locate yourself, to be seen and to have your voice heard. Contemporary discourse has a tendency to emphasise similarities, a position at odds with the complex make-up of societies and our individual experiences within them; forcing complex experiences into a single definition of culture risks misrepresentation and dislocation. Through our 2019 commissions, the programme interrogates questions applied unequally in society; who is unprotected, overlooked, ignored or mistranslated and what artistic positions might counter this?” commented Eleanor Pinfield, Head of Art on the Underground.