Art on the Underground has commissioned French artist Daniel Buren to create a new artwork for the 21st edition of the Tube map cover series. Each Tube map cover offers a unique artwork to customers travelling by Tube. This small-scale, yet monumental commission now in its 10th year, places the best international art into the hands of millions of travellers.
The artist came to prominence in the 1960s and is known for the use of contrasting coloured stripes and abstraction in an effort to integrate his artworks into architectural environments. This interest in making art in response to a particular site is explored both formally and conceptually in his new artwork for the Tube map cover.
‘From A Single One To Millions: Ink on Paper’, 2014 and ‘From a Single One To Millions, Part 2’ reference the Underground both as a mass transport system, whilst responding to with the graphic language and dimensions of both the Tube map cover and its accompanying Underground poster.
Buren is the first artist in this series to use the Underground’s iconic Roundel symbol in their artwork. A grid emerges by layering, rotating and repeating this famous logo, resulting in a lattice framework. The branding panel at the bottom of the map is incorporated in the artwork with the official Roundel appearing as if it has broken free from the pattern of red and blue. Responding to the context of the Underground, this work highlights the multitude of journeys undertaken on the network, whilst spotlighting the individual.
The larger format of the Tube poster provides the artist with a further opportunity to develop this idea and the space to apply his trademark repetitive stripes. Resulting in an altogether new artwork, From ‘A Single One To Millions, Part 2’: Ink On Paper is a modification of the artwork presented on the Tube map.
Together these two connected artworks offer carefully framed fragments of an idea responding to the Underground network. With no definitive beginning or end, the artworks allude to a larger repetitive pattern that could feasibly go on for eternity.
‘From A Single One To Millions: Ink On Paper’, is a two-part prelude to Buren’s forthcoming permanent artwork commissioned in conjunction with the major upgrade at Tottenham Court Road station, launching in 2015.