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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Art on the London Underground

Tube Installations

On the way to my Book Group last night I got off at Piccadilly Circus and as I was early (for once) decided to have a look at the art in the station. As part of the London Underground's
Platform for Art there are always some "interesting" modern art installations at that station and it must be a great way for artists to get seen by the millions of people passing through it over the months.

However, I simply could not for the life of me work out what this piece by Divyesh Bhanderi was about:

Divyesh Bhanderi at Piccadilly Circus


I love the way the tourists are pointing at the map next to it and looking puzzled as I was much more confused by Divyesh's art. Does anyone have any ideas what it's about?

However an interesting art project that makes more sense to me is Richard Wentworth's "If London Looked in the Mirror" project.

If London Looked in The Mirror Project


He's taken an outline of places in London and reversed them so that the West of London has moved East and the East of London has moved West (this also effects positions of places in the North and South). It's been made into a poster which I've seen around at tube stations a lot but at Piccadilly Circus there were posters of the piece which had been made into leaflets for people to take away.

Wentworth says rather "artily" "When is a Londoner not a Londoner? When does a long term visitor become a Londoner? What makes people into Londoners? What must you know to be a Londoner? How long does it last?" (a lot this was in the "How to tell if you're a Londoner" quiz blogger earlier)

".....It is common to know small pieces of London intimately, and a few other parts perhaps associated with work and friendships. These are sometimes described as false proximities joined up by lines of desire.......

"What, for example, if the city had grown in its mirror image, if north were south, or suppose, the East End and West End swapped places? Would we swap their activities or only their names? (Could they be disconnected and how long would it take?)
"

The art also explores a lot of other ideas about widening the Thames and also gives a list of places in London and suggests that they might be twinned with their "mirror image" - "to ensure that their inhabitants become thoroughly familarised with previously unknown areas". My town of Richmond would be twinned with Erith, a place I hadn't even heard of.

Anyway, if you want to see the poster in a larger format click here, alternatively I'm sure tube stations other than Piccadilly Circus will be carrying the leaflets. But it's a really interesting concept and I'm now thinking about what it would be like to be an East Ender rather than the West Londoner that I've been for most of my life.


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