Mark Wallinger new works for Tube have moved me to write about them, and I haven’t even seen them yet!

Mark Wallinger was commissioned to make work to celebrate 150 years od the Tube in London. He has come up with Labyrinth – a series of monochrome enamel signs that are all different and will over time appear at every Tube Station. The artwork is utterly beautiful, from its conception to its delivery. I want to share why I think this is so.

* It’s relevant – it’s immediately clear there’s an empathy with the visual order of the Tube map
* Each is unique and tells its own story, yet it’s a coherent set
* The allusion to entry and exit, one way in and one way out, is how you FEEL when you navigate the network
* They all resemble a brain – there are 2 sides – one solution – it takes both logic and creativity to complete them
* The material quality if perfect – being made by the sign-makers that create all the other industrial signs for the Tube – these guys know their materials, their enamels and their process. It’s loyalty to process and product.
* Whilst that sounds like a conveyor belt system – it’s not, they are very much  hand-made, using screens, enamel inks and kilns (this is the part of the film that made me sigh with pleasure, to see how they were made!)
* Being black and white with the red cross they provide a simple visual system that steps over language difference. We all know a red cross marks the spot where we stand
* The red cross is associated with emergency, maybe here we have ’emergence’ – the imminent emergence of coming up for air, escaping from the fuggy, airless underground
* claustrophobic’s could calmly trace their fingers around, a mandala for reducing stress

Sam Blair and Jared Schiller have made an excellent film of the making of the Labyrinth series. Watch the film and keep going until you see them being made. Wonderful that the process has been shared, this is how good arts projects should be – sharing the magic! And there’s more information about the work on that site too. Enjoy!

I for one can’t wait to see them!

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