Art on the Underground, the organisation funded by Transport for London that invites artists to create projects for London Underground, has commissioned two pieces of original art for the Northern line extension.
Samara Scott, who lives and works in London, has conceived an ambitious nine-metre-high artwork set into the concrete panels of Nine Elms station’s ticket hall. Her artwork will take the form of coloured liquid ‘spillages’ in excavated sections of the concrete panels, containing objects and materials collected from the local area.
To obtain suitable material, Samara will scavenge objects from local sites including food shops, flower markets, items washed up on the banks of the Thames, construction site debris, and soil and matter from the newly excavated tunnels of the Northern Line Extension.
London-based Brazilian Alexandre da Cunha’s commission, a monumental kinetic sculpture reflecting on daily cycles titled ‘Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset’, will be installed at the new Tube station at Battersea. Using an outdated advertising mechanism – the rotating billboard – he will create two friezes which will face each other along the length of the ticket hall.
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, the work refers to cycles, routine, the everyday and eternity.
The friezes will consist of three faces of a different colour, gradually fading from one colour to another over the length of the entire image. The colours have been extracted from photos of London sunsets and sunrises. Throughout the course of the day, the panels will rotate, presenting different combinations of colours into the ticket hall.
The two new artworks are planned to be unveiled when the Northern Line Extension opens in autumn 2021.
Eleanor Pinfield, head of Art on the Underground, said: “These two commissions will create a unique identity for each station, bringing a wholly different perspective on the riverside community in which they are located. They will bring the work of these artists to thousands of people every day, enriching TfL’s long history of commissioning extraordinary artworks for our customers.
“Da Cunha’s monumental kinetic frieze will become synonymous with the station, drawing people through its ticket hall with its rhythmic daily flow and creating an illusion of a large window to a dramatic sky. Scott’s relief at Nine Elms draws together the detritus around us, pressing passers-by to question both the landscape and the objects we are surrounded by every day.”
Da Cunha’s and Scott’s artworks will join other permanent works commissioned by Art on the Underground, including Daniel Buren’s Diamonds and Circles, works in situ, at Tottenham Court Road station; Assemble and Matthew Raw’s Clay Station at Seven Sisters station; and Giles Round’s series of tile interventions Design Work Leisure, recently unveiled at Blackhorse Road, Victoria and Vauxhall stations.