Mark Wallinger, one of the UK’s leading contemporary artists, has created a major new artwork for London Underground to celebrate its 150th anniversary. The result, commissioned by Art on the Underground, is a multi-part work on a huge scale that will be installed in every one of the Tube’s 270 stations.
Rendered in bold black, white and red graphics, the artworks are produced in vitreous enamel, a material used for signs throughout London Underground, including the Tube’s roundel logo, whose circular nature the labyrinth design also echoes. Positioned at the entrance of each labyrinth is a red X. This simple mark, drawing on the language of maps, is a cue to enter the pathway. The tactile quality of the artwork’s surface invites the viewer to trace the route with a finger, and to understand the labyrinth as a single meandering path into the centre and back out again – a route reminiscent of the Tube traveller’s journey.
Hauser Wirth Gallery
Labyrinth was installed in 2013.
I have travelled on the London Underground most days in my adult life. I never understood Labyrinth (especially the odd numbering system) until I read a book about an attempt to break the world record for the quickest time to visit all the stations in one day.
The art appears at various places in the stations and sometimes you have to search them out, which adds to the fun. I have about 15 of these on my phone, I will one day visit all the stations and collect a pic of them all, a strange desire but one which doesn't seem to be going away.