Those who might have been expecting something more ... err... Olympic themed will be disappointed. But it's certainly a bit of a coup for TfL to get one of the most talked about British artists to produce the map cover. The design is in a video at London Transport Museum's new Mind the Map exhibition which opens to the public on 18th May 2012. I was invited to the launch of the exhibition tonight, where there is a video of Tracey talking about her inspiration for the design and what she wanted to achieve.
For some reason in the video she is holding the design the wrong way around and says that the Central Line is a Tube Line she uses a lot "The Central Line has big landmark stations, so I used that, so that people would have an idea of going from West to East." She's cottoned on to the fact that tourists can find the Tube map confusing and felt a bird would help to make it feel "friendlier".
She said “I don't want them to think "Oh, I'm in this massive big city and I'm lost and I don't know where to go. When people look at the Tube
map I want them to smile and feel reassured.”
The Map cover's title is 'The Central line', but the only stations
marked on the line are Liverpool Street, Oxford Circus and, I imagine with some artistic licence, Shoreditch High Street. It shows Tracey's
personal use of the line to taking her from her home in the East End home to the West End.
Tracey is used to people paying to see her art and found the concept of producing something that will end up in bins or on the floor quite daunting.
TfL have praised Emin’s
artwork for adapting “the iconography of the original map to reflect her
personal experience of the network and her ideas and experience of place.”
Tamsin Dillon, head of Art on the Underground said the design is “a moving
and unique interpretation of the Capital” .
That's certainly one way to describe it. Like much of Tracey's work it will be talked about. Whether the maps end up becoming collectors items or as Tracey herself says "in bins or on the floor", this is one Tube Map cover that many people will have firm opinions about.
What do you think of it? Particularly as a choice for a map that will be used over the London Olympics.