An exhibition celebrating the launch of Labyrinth, Mark Wallinger’s groundbreaking new Art on the Underground commission marking the 150th Anniversary of the London Underground.
Inspired by the lexicon of signs on the London Underground that have become some of the most recognised in the world, Wallinger chose the ancient symbol of the labyrinth as the theme of this major work installed in all 270 stations on the Tube network. Each station will have its unique Labyrinth design, permanently installed in a prominent location.
In addition, the artist and Art on the Underground have authorised the release of just one further copy of each of these iconic images. This exhibition will feature the first group of theseLabyrinths as displayed in the following Tube stations: Westminster, St James’s Park, Oxford Circus, Victoria, Embankment, Green Park, Bank, Kings Cross St Pancras, Baker Street, Tottenham Court Road. These are unique representations of landmarks, by one of the ’s most important living artists. Thereafter, from Finchley Central to Lambeth North, from Arnos Grove to Aldgate East, every station will feature its own Labyrinth as the work is rolled out over the network during the coming months. Each station surely has a particular significance to individual passengers; a starting point, a finishing point, a memory of a meeting, a celebration, an adventure.
“Daedalus built the Labyrinth and we follow his namesake in James Joyce’s Ulysses, as he sets off through a day wandering the city, charting his encounters before a significant meeting sees him returning home a changed man. Every day has that possibility. Mostly we go about our business, journeying to work on the tube and returning home along a prescribed route. The seeming chaos of the rush hour is really just the mass of individuals following the thread of their lives home.
In this work there is a unique labyrinth for every station on the Underground network. Each acts as a mental map, a representation of the orientation and contemplation which are the everyday experience of millions of Londoners and their days spent on the Labyrinthine network. ‘You are here’, they seem to say but in a rather more contemplative way. A spiritual journey perhaps, the mind and its chambers, the two hemispheres. (Mark Wallinger)”
To complement this work in the gallery there will also be a rare opportunity to see an earlier video installation inspired by the London Underground, When Parallel Lines Meet At Infinity(1998-2001). This mesmerizing piece takes the form of a complete circuit of the Circle Line Tube as seen from the front of the train. On the image wall, at the vanishing point of the perspective, is painted a single black spot. The train circles endlessly; still images transform into moving images and vice versa; and the fixed black spot appears to move while being constantly in the sights of the circling train chasing its perspectival target to infinity. As the Circle line is no longer a circle, the piece also becomes an elegy for a lost transport experience.
Many of Wallinger’s most memorable works have demonstrated a preoccupation with the symbolism of transport, physical and spiritual, and the significance of thresholds and frontiers. In 2009 he curated a hugely popular exhibition for the Hayward Gallery in London entitled The Russian Linesman which was a magical and inspiring dissertation on the subject, drawing on 2000 years of the history of art. His video work Threshold To The Kingdom (2000) is one of the most moving contemporary expositions of the notion of spiritual transport and his monumental installation State Britain (2007) which addressed political boundaries, of freedom of speech and rights to protest, was described by Yve-Alain Bois in Artforum as ‘one of the most remarkable political works of art ever’.
Mark Wallinger was born in in 1959. He represented at the 2001 Venice Biennale and was awarded the Turner Prize in 2007. Among his most celebrated works are Ecce Homo, the first commission for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square (1999), State Britain (2007) at Tate Britain, the proposed Ebbsfleet Landmark Commission White Horse (2009), Via Dolorosa, installed in the crypt of the Duomo in Milan, and Sinema Amnesia (2012) for Turner Contemporary in Margate (2012). Among many solo exhibitions have been those at the Serpentine Gallery, London, Tate Liverpool, Vienna Secession, Museum for Gegenwartskunst, Basel, Palais Des Beaux Arts, Brussels, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, and Museum de Pont, Tilburg, His most recent public exhibition, SITE, took place in 2012 at Baltic, Gateshead. He was one of three artists commissioned for Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 at the National Gallery in London as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. His work is in the collections of leading international museums including Tate, MoMA New York and Centre Pompidou Paris.
Easter opening times:
Friday 29 March- Monday 1st April - CLOSED
Normal hours resume Tuesday 2nd April