The Eduardo Paolozzi Mosaics commissioned for London Underground’s Tottenham Court Rd tube station, which were controversially removed to make way for the newly designed Crossrail friendly station, are to find a new home. The sculptor’s best known work is to be reassembled in Scotland, at the University of Edinburgh, who already hold around 150 other works by the artist.
The mosaics have been gifted to the University by Transport for London. The iconic murals which formed arches over the escalators in the station’s concourse will go on permanent display when the conservation work is complete. In the next academic year, the university will reassemble the mosaic murals in a new undergraduate course titled, Edinburgh Collections. They will be used to teach conservation training after being digitally photographed and mapped by experts who will virtually reconstruct the work before it is physically reassembled by students, researchers and conservators.
Edinburgh University’s art collections curator, Neil Lebeter, stated: “I am delighted that the university is able to provide a home for this work. “The mosaics will be a very important addition to our Art Collection. We expect the murals to become an important part of the campus – a major draw for students and wider public.
“The possibilities for creative engagement through this project are hugely exciting.”
Eleanor Pinfield, head of Art On The Underground, said: “We’re proud of the Underground’s artistic and architectural heritage, and understand our key role in preserving it.
“We have worked hard to preserve the Paolozzi mosaics in Tottenham Court Road, with the vast majority remaining in situ. Working with the University of Edinburgh, we now have a fitting home for the remainder. “We are delighted that these pieces will have a new lease of life in the artist’s home city.”
Toby Treves, the Paolozzi Foundation, said: “Eduardo Paolozzi was one of the most important British artists of the late 20th Century, whose art captured the breadth of the modern world. “His work at Tottenham Court Road station has delighted Tube passengers for over 30 years and will continue to do so far into the future.
“The work with Edinburgh will provide a fitting home for the pieces that could not be accommodated at the station as it is modernised.
“It will also serve to further promote public appreciation of the fine arts and the extraordinary contribution of Eduardo Paolozzi”.
Created in 1984, the mosaics are based on early depictions of computer graphics which reference George Orwell’s novel 1984. They contain depictions of commuters, and objects from the British Museum located nearby.
Eduardo Paolozzi, is one of the best known sculptors of his generation. He is closely associated with the British Pop Art movement. Born in Leith in 1924, he studied at Edinburgh College of Art, after brief military service, in 1944 he attended St Martin’s School of Art in London, and from 1945 to 1947 he studied sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art, in the late 1940s. A keen collagist, printmaker, filmmaker and writer, he taught as a visiting professor at Edinburgh college in the 1990s.
Photo Courtesy penccil.com