Spectacular New Tile Mosaic Decorates London Subway Entrance

new tilesBonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

London's Underground subway system has a proud history of providing art along with transport. Their Art on the Underground programme puts contemporary art front and centre in the entrances and walls of the massive subway system.

A new addition to their artistic and design legacy has just been unveiled. It's a huge enamel artwork, covering the front (and back) of a non-descript London Underground power station. And what a glorious piece of work it is. Makes a boring building look spectacular.

Jacqueline Poncelet Wrapper Commissioned and produced by Art on the Underground, 2012

Created by ceramic artist Jacqueline Poncelet, it's a 3 storey mosaic of abstract patterns and colour. Located next to the Edgware Road Tube, it is made of 700 panels, covering 1,500 metres, and is inspired by the history of the area.

Jacqueline Poncelet Wrapper Commissioned and produced by Art on the Underground, 2012

Called Wrapper , (and it does look a bit like a candy wrapper, as well as wrapping around the building) examine it carefully and you can see references to the Tube map, nearby canals, architecture and repeated motifs. As the artist explains:

Pattern can identify different cultures at a glance, can suggest other places, can conjure varieties of feeling, can change expectation, relieve boredom and calm what is cluttered.

these artistsBonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

Amazingly, the back of the building is also covered with the mosaic tiles, making it the largest vitreous enamel artwork in Europe.

new tileBonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

At the entrance to the Edgware Road Tube station is a notice of another piece of work called Everything Meets Here, by Jessie Brennan.

new tileBonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

Inside the entrance hall is a minutely detailed black and white 3 metre long pencil drawing of an imaginary landscape.

new tileBonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

It's a participatory work. The artist spent a year talking to London Underground staff, the local historic society, residents of the area and students. As a result, the work includes bits of "local knowledge and personal experiences, memories, folklore and myths" collected from these conversations over the year.

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