Art on the Underground has commissioned British-based German artist Tomma Abts to make a new artwork for the cover of the pocket Tube map, the 23rd edition in the series since 2004.
For the cover Abts has made a coloured pencil on paper work. Six coloured lines, their palette adopted from London Underground colours, glide across a sparse white background. Sharp pencil shadows add a three dimensional effect and defy any single, real source of light. The result is an image that conveys balance and movement that extends beyond the confines of the paper.
Grounded in process and materiality, Abts’ complex paintings and works on paper are painstakingly constructed, each work guided largely by intuition with little preconceived idea for its outcome. Working from no preliminary sketches, Abts’ methodical process of over-painting and reworking an image results in variations in surface, texture, edge, tonality and colour. Interlocking lines, colours and shapes are densely layered creating images with a confidence that seek to represent themselves.