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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tracey Emin designs Tube Map Cover for Olympic Games period

Tracey Emin's design of a bird on a "branch" of the Northern Line intersecting with the Central Line, will be the Tube Map cover we'll be seeing over the London Olympic period this year.  She's the latest artist whose work will now be seen by millions picking up a London Underground pocket map.  Around 18 million in fact, one of the largest print runs the pocket map has seen.  It will be available from stations from June 2012.

Tracey Emin Tube Map Cover - June 2012

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.


Tracey Emin's Tube Map Cover Design

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".
Tracey Emin explains Tube Map Cover 
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.

Tracey Emin on where Tube Map Cover will end up 

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.

Related posts
Photos from Mind the Map Exhibition at London Transport Museum
Olympic Tube Map Renames Stations with names of Sporting Celebrities
Olympics Tube Map Cover we'd like to see
Rejected Tube Map Cover Designs 


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