Anna Barriball’s minimal typographic artwork About 60 miles of beautiful views was commissioned in 2008 and is still widely visible on the network today in poster and advertising sites thorughout the centre of the city.
Barriball collected evocative phrases taken from the back of found photographs and reworked them as printed typographic posters displayed in advertising spaces across the network. Customers travelling on the Underground encounter unexpected phrases like ”About 60 miles of beautiful views.’ or ‘On way to birthday party.’ or ‘Looking back the way we had come.’. These cryptic texts are loaded with personal memory, yet connect with individual reasons for travel and the millions of private thoughts customers carry with them on their journeys.
The phrases are distinctly personal and strangely visual, creating small windows into imagined vistas or glimpses into unidentified personal worlds, open to interpretation in their new context.
Anna Barriball’s work often steps between the parallel languages of drawing and sculpture. Her practice produces objects that combine a minimalistic rigour and the attempt to make sense of the world of objects by empirical study. In the context of the Tube this approach will inject moments of quiet contemplation into a busy, working landscape.
Tamsin Dillon, Head of Art on the Underground, says: “Anna’s project is exciting because it offers customers the chance to encounter artworks across the entire Tube network. We hope that these encounters result in pleasantly unexpected asides to daily journeys”.
This series of Art works is fantastic – I’m not a person who likes art per-se or goes to many galleries etc (no I don’t consider pickled cows/unmade beds art either!) HOWEVER… I LOVE THIS SERIES! I can relate to each of the posters and they are mirrors of the thoughts that travelling on the Underground provoke. Little snapshots of poetry that are just big enough to digest when do the mile-a-minute walk along a platform or skipping down an row of stairs. They are simple, effective and bring a smile to my day when I see them (or a row of them going alongside an escalator or running the length of a walkway.
absolutly beautifull and thought provoking….where can i get a print of her work?
I can’t believe how split opinion is on these! I was coming online to see if I could get a copy of ‘looking back the way we had come’ for my first childs’ nursery. I’m currently 8 months pregnant, and it may be the hormones, but travelling up the escalator at Moorgate every morning, looking at these posters makes me think about my family back in Belfast and how I’m about to have the next generation. I’d like to have the poster with photos of our family around it on the nursery wall – I did consider trying to take one but thought a criminal record best avoided!
Yes, I like them. They are evocative, simple and brave. The full points and commas used at this size make me smile a little. We can be enjoy the shapes for their starry quality, but I think Johnston, who seems to have been a very correct and conservative sort of chap, would frown at somebody exploiting quirks of his type designed to cope with newsprint at text sizes in this way.
I travel everyday on the tube and every time I see a poster from this series by Anna Barriball (which seems to be everywhere), it never fails to irritate me. I love art and I do enjoy reading and seeing the other ‘art on the underground’ posters but feel that this particular series is a very poor choice for the tube as the disjointed texts do not make any sense to people who read it without understanding the context. Only reason why I am on this site is because these posters have been annoying me for months that I made it a point to remember the artist’s name from the poster so I can look it up on the web to understand what this jumble of words meant…that’s how much it has annoyed me. I also know for a fact that I’m not alone in feeling this way about them! Commuters only have a few seconds to see these posters and art that can touch people and convey a message in that time would be a better use of that space.
I’m amazed that anyone could find these works anything other than evocative and actually rather beautiful – they’re sort of serendipitous haikus IMHO. Perhaps too much time being compressed into sweltering rush hour tube trains has desensitised some people to the point where they can longer relate to this art? ;-)
Nothing evocative about this at all. Each poster should have a note explaining the disonnected phrase. And if you have to explain it, why bnother? I agree – Rubbish!
Absolute rubbish. I realise that contemporary art can be anything, and take any form, but surely if art is going to be commissioned to be shown on the Underground, it should be in some way beautiful or inspiring – not abstract text written in the same boring, horrible font as Transport for London’s, and black text on a white background. Whoever commissioned this needs their head read – or needs to spend some actual time travelling on the Tube to realise that what might make everyone’s journey a bit more pleasant is something beautiful. (Yes, not all art needs to be ‘attractive’. But if anything needs prettying up – it’s the Underground).
Does anybody know the variant of the typeface that’s used on these posters? It’s obviously a version of Johnston, but with little scallops on the dot of the ‘i’, full stops and so on. It looks substantially different, and slightly old-fashioned, subtly standing out from the rest of the tube signage around it. Lovely posters, by the way.
Johnston’s Underground font really looks fantastic in this size and it’s not often that we get to really enjoy its little oddities. The comments are so pertinent.
I love this exhibition. it is thought provoking, funny and intelligent. i would love to be able to buy one of the anna barriball posters. any idea where i can get one? thanks