Panda heads down the Tube

Commuters travelling through London’s Gloucester Road underground station today will catch the first glimpse of Brian Griffith’s largest-ever public installation.

Commuters travelling through London’s Gloucester Road underground station today will catch the first glimpse of Brian Griffith’s largest-ever public installation.

The artist has created a 70m long mock stage that will depict ‘inspiring’ scenes using recovered items such as a panda’s head, scaffolding towers, half a caravan, ramps, bicycles, buckets and tyres.

Life is a Laugh is the largest commission yet by London Underground for its Platform for Art scheme, which has been running since 2000.

According to director for Platform for Art Tamsin Dillon, the installation marks a new scale in the commissioning programme for the site.

‘The scheme started out as a series of exhibitions, where artists displayed existing work to the commuter audience. It has now evolved into something much bigger, with commissions for site-specific work made on an annual basis,’ says Dillon. ‘This is the first time we’ve commissioned 3-D work,’ she adds.

The Platform for Art scheme, at a cost of around £300 000 a year, is funded by Transport for London and comes out of its marketing and communications budget.

Last summer, Gloucester Road underground station was transformed by Japanese artist Chiho Aoshima, with manga-style graphic scenes filling  the station’s 17 arches (DW 3 August 2006).

Life is a Laugh will be shown at Gloucester Road for a year.

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