Arty cover for new pocket Tube map

Art on the Underground has commissioned a new front cover for the pocket version of the Tube map, to be unveiled this month, designed by acclaimed UK artist Cornelia Parker.

Entitled Underground Abstract, the bold cover design echoes the symmetrical images used by psychoanalysts to ‘map’ their patients’ emotional states, playing on the idea of orientation.

Tamsin Dillon, head of Art on the Underground, says, ‘Creating the Tube map cover is a difficult challenge for artists to take on because it’s such a small space and a tight brief. The image needs to stand out, but also needs to relate to the Tube somehow and have a visual reference point that people understand.’

Harking back to the Underground’s rich creative heritage, Parker uses the iconic colours from Harry Beck’s original 1933 Tube map and makes clear references to David Booth’s 1986 poster The Tate Gallery By Tube, which depicts tubes of paint squeezing out the multi-coloured lines.

Art on the Underground has previously commissioned work by some leading UK artists including Jeremy Deller, David Shrigley, Liam Gillick and Gary Hume. With more than three million passengers using the Tube network every day, it is one of the biggest contemporary art audiences in Europe.

Dillon says, ‘Art on the Underground is about offering an opportunity to the passenger that’s not advertising and enhances their journey in a different way. London Underground has been working with artists and designers since the 1930s, so we are building on a well-established legacy and bringing it forward with a contemporary focus.’

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