For the past 15 years now, the Art on the Underground scheme has been giving London’s harried and harassed commuters something to smile about as they slide between Stratford and Stanmore at seven in the morning.
During that time the likes of Jeremy Deller, Yayoi Kusama, Barbara Kruger and Rachel Whiteread have been invited by Transport for London (TfL) to make the city’s subterranean stations hotbeds for public-facing artistic endeavours. Today sees the launch of the 30th edition of their long-running series of pocket-friendly Tube maps, and it’s French artist Laure Prouvost who has been given the nod.
A press release accompanying the news of Laure’s contribution states that “the map is amongst the most significant series of art commissions in the world,” due to the fact that millions of the mini-masterpieces find themselves stuffed deep into the pockets of the capital’s train-dwelling travellers.
Drawing, almost literally, on what TfL describes as Laure’s “tradition of hand painted signs” her contribution to the multiplicity of maps sees the slightly odd phrase “In Grand ma’s dream this map would always be with you and would resist the passing of time,” taking centre stage.
It heralds the arrival of a new TfL-activated commission – entitled you are deeper than what you think – which will see Laure’s work appearing at all 270 stations in the form of specially made posters which will occupy sites usually used for advertising hoardings.
The map will be available in stations across the entire Transport for London network as of today. We’re told, by TfL admittedly, that die-hard collectors are keen to get their sooty mitts all over every single map released under the scheme, so grab yours now and maybe, just maybe, you’ll find yourself in for a Tube-centric windfall somewhere down the line.
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