Art on the Underground, the art programme sponsored by Transport for London (TfL), has launched the latest pocket Tube map, one of the most widely viewed art commissions in the world. For this 22nd edition, Art on the Underground has commissioned London-based Argentinian artist Pablo Bronstein to create a cover, which will be printed on 12 million copies.
The artwork, entitled Design for a magnificent London Underground Grand Pendulum in gilt bronze, depicts a Tube tunnel entrance embellished with a Baroque-inspired clock. The artwork places 18th Century ornate design against the progressive ideals of the 19th Century urban architecture of the Underground, where form is dictated by function. Clocks have long served as objects of celebration for important events and Bronstein’s piece playfully reflects on the Tube itself, celebrating the experience of time and travel.
Bronstein’s wider practice is a homage to period design, particularly 18th Century neo-classicism and 20th Century postmodernism. Drawing, sculpture and performance explore ideas and possibilities for existing spaces and buildings. Ornate drawings feature real and imagined structures and sculptural works depict architectural fragments that often function as props in live works.
Major upcoming solo exhibitions include The Grand Tour at Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham and Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, UK (2015). Previous shows include REDCAT, Los Angeles (2014); Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (2013); Tate Modern, UK (2012); Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2011).
Eleanor Pinfield, Head of Art on the Underground, commented: “Our commissions are always created in response to London’s unique Tube, bus, and river networks, and Pablo’s work is an opulent tribute to the Underground. With this new commission, we are all reminded of the passage of time as we travel on the Tube.”
Pablo Bronstein, artist, said: “A clock is an extremely complicated object that has a wealth of accumulated scientific knowledge. For this commission I began to think of the Tube network as a similarly complicated machine in which the different parts need to be working as a whole. The clock I have drawn is rather theatrical, and I wanted it to contrast with the practical Modern design frequently used on the underground.”