The final art commission of London Underground’s 150th anniversary year has been revealed. It is the new edition of the Pocket Tube map released in time Christmas, which will have a cover by Imran Qureshi commissioned through Art on the Underground.
Possibly one of the most widely viewed art commissions in the world, 12 million copies are distributed throughout the London tube network. For his cover artwork, entitled All Time Would be Perpetual Spring, Qureshi has used the techniques of traditional Mughalminiature painting from his native Pakistan to present an intricate floral design for each line on the network, inspired by their distinct colours.
Speaking about the commission, Imran Qureshi said: “I was inspired by a life, an activity, and an amazing energy going on hundreds offeet down below the ground. Each colour represents life – colourful flora which are growing and creating a completely new atmosphere and a positive energy.”
Imran Qureshi lives in Lahore, Pakistan, where he teaches at the National College of Art. In his paintings and installations, he combines the centuries-old Islamic art form of miniature painting with conceptual approaches and elements of contemporary abstract painting. His work is currently on show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Roof Garden Commission, until February 2014) and he has recently shown at the 55th Venice Biennale (The Encyclopedic Palace). Among his international exhibitions in 2014, his work will be presented as part of the Ikon Gallery’s 50th anniversary.
Head of Art on the Underground, Tamsin Dillon, said: “Qureshi has made a fantastic work for the new pocket Tube map; I love the way it references the actual London Underground map with its vibrant colours inspired by the various Tube lines.
This new artwork works brilliantly on this traditional ‘hands-on’ guide to the Tube. This format has proved to be a challenging and inspiring way for 19 artists so far to respond to the Tube and it works really well amongst the range of ways that people can access travel information on the Underground.”
Over the course of 2013, Art on the Underground initiated a series of major new commissions for the London Underground’s 150th Anniversary. These include Mark Wallinger’s Labyrinth, the largest commission ever to a single artist for a new permanent work for all 270 stations on the London Underground; 15 for 150 – fifteen new tube posters designed by Pablo Bronstein, Melissa Gordon, Runa Islam, Idris Khan, Sarah Lucas, Goshka Macuga, Robert Orchardson, Martha Rosler, Nedko Solakov, Frances Stark,, Corin Sworn, Wolfgang Tilmans, Gillian Wearing, Lawrence Weiner and Haegue Yang; Harold Offeh’s Transporter on the central line; a new season of works as part of Canary Wharf Screen; and the Labyrinth engagement programme, a series of talks, interactive workshops and children’s projects across London led by Marina Warner, Mark Wallinger, Chris Budd and Peter York.
Since 2004, Art on the Underground has commissioned 18 previous tube map covers from leading contemporary artists. Other artists in the series: Jeremy Deller (with Paul Ryan), Tracey Emin, Liam Gillick, MonaHatoum, Gary Hume, Emma Kay, Yayoi Kusama, Barbara Kruger, Richard Long, Michael Landy, Sarah Morris, Paul Noble, Cornelia Parker, Eva Rothschild, Yinka Shonibare MBE, David Shrigley, Mark Wallinger and Pae White.