For the 28th edition of the pocket Tube map, Art on the Underground 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 created a collage as part of her ongoing cycle Game of Forms (2009 – 2018). This work comprises vivid pink cut-outs with graphic, hand-drawn, black markings. Brătescu described 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.
Born in Romania in 1926, Brătescu spent much of her life under Communist regime and Ceaușescu’s totalitarian regime. Within these repressive contexts Brătescu embraced the freedom of her studio, using whatever was available to her, often her own body, giving new life to unassuming and humble materials, adapting and recycling these to create infinite possibilities. Brătescu worked across a number of mediums including collage, performance, photography, textiles, print-making and film, however drawing was at the core of all these outputs.
Within the modest scale of the Pocket Tube map, the artist created a great sense of dynamism and movement; she explained that ‘there is a dance between drawing and collage.’ The artist was inspired by the crowds of people moving through London, for her, their movement is like a drawing in physical space; her geometric forms possess both playfulness and order.
Geta Brătescu died in Bucharest, Romania in 2018.