One Thing Leads to Another – Everything is Connected was the title for a series of artists’ commissions focused on the Jubilee line which culminated in an off-network exhibition at City Hall in 2010.
The exhibition provided a glimpse of all the projects on the line, and presented other works by the commissioned artists. The Series’ title is taken from a print by Richard Long that was given away to thousands of Jubilee line customers. The print shows an image of the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland, where the artist made a solitary walk, capturing features and elements that he encountered en route. This image contrasts significantly with the landscape in which London Underground customers encountered the final print at stations, from Stanmore to Stratford. This interplay between travel and place was the starting point for the exhibition. It provided an insight into the ideas connecting each artwork and the complexities of the Underground network in which they were located.
The artists were invited to make new works at a variety of locations on the Jubilee line, which was first opened in 1979. Since June 2009, they investigated ideas such as time, economics and travel and our changing relationship with them over the last 30 years. Each work brings a new understanding to these concepts in the context of the Tube, providing insights into how we use our time when we travel, what broader ideas influence our reasons for travel and the nature of our individual and collective relationships with time and the network.
John Gerrard’s real-time digital projection Oil Stick Work (Angelo Martinez / Richfield, Kansas) 2008 at Canary Wharf Underground station links the daily labour of the eponymous Mexican-American to our above-ground speculative world of shares and commodity values. Other projects in the series draw upon the individuals and communities that influence, inhabit or work on the Underground.
In Linear, Dryden Goodwin has created an intimate and diverse social portrait of Jubilee line staff, through 60 pencil portraits of employees at work, and 60 films recording conversations and the drawings being made. Nadia Bettega and young people from Brent Youth Inclusion Programme went on a week-long journey to explore portraiture and place through photography.
Daria Martin undertook a survey to research customers’ daydreams on the Jubilee line. Matt Stokes worked with East End performers to create a new multi-channel film work and intervention for Stratford station that draws from the heritage of entertainment in the area. Finally, six artists and writers from Goldsmiths MFA Art Writing programme were ‘in residence’ at London Bridge Underground station and have developed a collection of new writing inspired by their experiences and observations about travel.
By working with world-class artists to reveal unique aspects of the London Underground for its diverse customers, Art on the Underground delivers an award-winning programme of contemporary art. These commissions further London Underground’s role as a leading patron of art over the last century, forming the newest layer in a unique history of exciting artworks that connect Londoners with London.
I enjoyed the speeches at this event. They really made me appreciate the thoughts behind the artwork and their importance to both London Underground and the areas in which the line runs. My only comment would be that the works placed along the ‘scoop’ of city hall could have been given more viewing space by moving the tables and chairs back. Overall an evening I would recommend.