Art in the London Underground

It is probably no surprise that I like my art. I roam museums, galleries and art fairs to be inspired and amazed by how artists bring us their view in creative ways on how they see the world or what troubles them. London is the best place to provide an endless stream of inspirational exposure of art. And while it shouldn’t be a surprise in a city like this, it is in the Underground that I find great examples of how art can make us turn heads.


Tottenham Court Road Station – it is just recently that the artwork by the famous French artist Daniel Buren was introduced at the opening of the new tube station at Tottenham Court Road. Buren is known by his stripes and vibrant colors. The first time I saw his artwork was at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam where he was commissioned for a (temporary) artwork. He put his famous stripes in 50 corners of the museum walls in 1976 and replicated this artwork again in 1993. This was disruptive, inspirational and vibrant, just as the artwork at Tottenham Court Road station.


Gloucester Road Station – a whole different league is what covers the walls at Gloucester Road Station. We see photos of a typical English landscape, maybe Surrey, covering the walls when waiting at the trains at the platform. And while I’m not sure whether we should call these photographic scenes artwork, it made me dream and wonder about a whole different world then the one I was in at that moment. Is that not what art is asked to stimulate?


Tottenham Court Road Station – being in the middle of the creative SOHO area in London it is this station that has been a dedicated space for a commissioned artwork before Buren was assigned. It is a mosaic from Paolozzi the Scottish artist, from 1984 that covers the hall way to the trains.


Piccadilly Circus Station – for a few months from 2013 to 2014 the artist Poncelet’s artwork Rewrap was placed at Piccadilly underground, at the hall ways leading up to the ticketing area. The artwork were companion pieces for the permanent artwork ‘Wrapper’ for a new building at Edgware Road Station. I love how Jacqueline Poncelet explains her work as ‘A pattern not only speaks of other places, but of changes in our culture and the passage of time’.


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