Turner Winner Wallinger Makes London Tube Stations Art

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Photographer: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Mark Wallinger unveils his artwork on the platform of St James's Park Station. His work will appear in all 270 stations of the London Underground.

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Photographer: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Mark Wallinger unveils his artwork on the platform of St James's Park Station. His work will appear in all 270 stations of the London Underground. Close

Mark Wallinger unveils his artwork on the platform of St James's Park Station. His work will appear in all 270... Read More

Photographer: Thierry Bal/Mark Wallinger/Anthony Reynolds Gallery via Bloomberg

Artist Mark Wallinger inspects one of the pieces he has designed for the London Underground. Wallinger has been commissioned to create a unique work for each one of the 270 stations in a series called "Labyrinth" (2013). Close

Artist Mark Wallinger inspects one of the pieces he has designed for the London Underground. Wallinger has been... Read More

Photographer: Thierry Bal/Mark Wallinger/Anthony Reynolds Gallery via Bloomberg

One of 270 unique artworks created by artist Mark Wallinger for the stations in the London Underground network. The series "Labyrinth" (2013) marks the 150th anniversary of the tube. Close

One of 270 unique artworks created by artist Mark Wallinger for the stations in the London Underground network. The... Read More

Source: Tate Britain via Bloomberg

Mark Wallinger, a British artist. Wallinger, born in 1959, won the Turner Prize in 2007 and he is known for his conceptual art. Close

Mark Wallinger, a British artist. Wallinger, born in 1959, won the Turner Prize in 2007 and he is known for his conceptual art.

Mark Wallinger, who in 2007 won the U.K.’s Turner Prize, is making art for all 270 of London Underground’s stations to mark the network’s 150th anniversary.

Using the labyrinth as his theme, Wallinger is creating a unique, picture-frame-sized enamel panel with a black-and-white design for display in each station. The “Labyrinth” series makes its debut today in 10 stations, including Baker Street, King’s Cross St. Pancras, and Victoria. Remaining stops will be furnished by June.

Other contemporary artists are being commissioned to produce work for the 150th anniversary, including a poster series. Details will be announced later this year.

“I’m a child of the Tube,” said Wallinger, who grew up in Chigwell outside London. “The train track was behind my childhood home: My mum still lives there.”

“It was the last thing at night dropping off to sleep -- ta-toom, ta-toom -- and getting up in the morning. So it was a very soothing presence,” he told journalists gathered around him on the Underground platform at St. James’s Park, where one of his first pieces was made public by Transport for London.

Wallinger said he wanted to see more projects in that vein. “There’s probably not enough public artworks out there,” he said. “I think they’ve become rather timid.”

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, hailed the commission.

“A formidable legacy of art” has been inspired by the Underground, he said. He mentioned the Tube map designed by Harry Beck and inventive posters providing traveler information.

Hirst, Emin

Wallinger belongs to the same generation as the so-called Young British Artists -- Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Jake & Dinos Chapman. Yet he has never been categorized as one of them.

He was the first artist commissioned to design a work for the empty sculpture platform in Trafalgar Square. His “Ecce Homo,” depicting the ailing Christ, occupied the Fourth Plinth in 1999.

In 2004, he dressed as a bear and roamed around a Berlin museum for 10 nights, using an animal that symbolizes Germany to reflect on the country’s past and present. Two years later, in “State Britain,” he replicated some 600 banners and placards put up by Iraq War protester Brian Haw outside the U.K. parliament.

In 2009, he staged a well-reviewed exhibition at the Hayward Gallery (“Mark Wallinger Curates: The Russian Linesman”) pulling together pieces he considered significant, including a double-headed Roman marble bust and a woodcut by Albrecht Durer.

Ebbsfleet Horse

The same year, he won a 2 million pound ($3.13 million) commission to put up a monumental horse sculpture in former cement quarries at Ebbsfleet in Kent, near London. The project has since been stalled for funding reasons.

“There are some promising leads, we’re still hopeful,” Wallinger said of the horse.

Other artists who have made art for the Underground over the last 13 years include Emin, Cindy Sherman, and Peter Blake.

For more information on art on the Underground, go to http://art.tfl.gov.uk/

To contact the writer on the story: Farah Nayeri in London at farahn@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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