Art on the Underground commissioned artist Alexandre da Cunha to create a permanent artwork for the Northern Line Extension. Da Cunha’s work is installed at the new Underground station at Battersea Power Station, which opened on 20 September 2021.
‘Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset’ is a monumental kinetic sculpture reflecting on daily cycles. Stretching 100m and 60m in length, the artwork incorporates two friezes that face each other along the length of the ticket hall. Made using an outdated advertising mechanism – the rotating billboard – Alexandre da Cunha has created a moving sculpture. The artwork was inspired by the former control room at Battersea Power Station and its system of vertical bars that regulated the production and output of electricity into the city. Bringing these resonances together with the daily flow of dawn to dusk, Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset refers to cycles, routine, the everyday and eternity.
The friezes consist of three faces of different colours, gradually fading from one colour to another over the length of the entire panel. The colours are informed by London sunsets and sunrises. Throughout the course of the day the panels rotate, seemingly at random, presenting different combinations of colours into the ticket hall. The long strip of gradient colours creates an illusion of a large window to a dramatic sky.
The three words of the title refer to the three faces of the vertical panels, their cyclical rotation and repetition. With over 3,500 individual colour panels, Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset creates an ever-changing environment within the station.
Alexandre da Cunha commented: “Although the core of this piece is colour and its reference to landscape, the work focuses on the idea of movement, cycle and repetition. The analogue aspect of the panels function as an antidote to our constant relationship with digital media, a counterpoint to screens acting an extension of our bodies.”
Alexandre da Cunha was born in Rio de Janeiro and lives and works in London. He has exhibited widely throughout the world, and his work is included in major private and institutional collections, including Tate, UK, ICA Boston, U.S.A and Inhotim, Brazil.