The first permanent public commission in the UK by the internationally acclaimed French artist, Daniel Buren, was officially inaugurated, this week utilising Tottenham Court Road Tube station as a backdrop to Buren’s signature geometric patterns and stripes. This replaces the controversial removal of the mosaic murals by the Modern British artist Eduardo Paolozzi.
Museums attract only a portion of the population. The public in the Tube station is everyone – Daniel Buren
150,000 customers a day passing through, the station will see the work of this celebrated living artists making it one of the biggest public art displays in the world. The commission is the highlight of a £500m programme to transform the station into one of the key transport interchanges in London.
Entitled Diamonds and Circles, works in situ, and linking the complex geometry and architecture of one of Europe’s busiest transport interchanges, Buren’s design uses vivid geometric shapes, each formed by a series of stripes or block colours, expressed in friezes and in three-dimensional works. The work occupies a series of prime sites in the station including the vast new central ticket hall and multiple station entrances.
Daniel Buren (b. Boulogne-Billancourt, 1938) is a world-renowned French conceptual artist whose work lies at the crossroads of sculpture and painting in works in situ. He has been the subject of major solo exhibitions at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York (2005) and the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2002). His work is also included in prestigious private and public collections worldwide. Buren has exhibited in the Venice Biennale more than 10 times and was awarded the Golden Lion for his French Pavilion in 1986. That same year, he produced his first and most controversial public commission, The Two Plateaux, for the main courtyard of the Palais-Royal in Paris. In 2007, he received the Praemium Imperiale for Painting from Japan. Most recently, he was selected to exhibit at MONUMENTA at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2012 and has had among other solo shows at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead (2014), the Fesspielhaus and Kunsthalle in Recklinghausen (2015), the MADRE in Naples (2015), the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels in 2016 and the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris (2016).
Since the 1980s, since Eduardo Paolozzi’s legendary mosaics were installed, Tottenham Court Road has been known as a hub for public art. Ninety-five per cent of Paolozzi’s iconic mosaics has been retained at the new station.
Building on the legacy of the legendary mosaics created by Eduardo Paolozzi in the 1980s, some now restored, others dismantled in boxes stored in Scotland, the new installation by Daniel Buren makes Tottenham Court Road Station again a must-see for art-lovers and a free art show for everyone.
Daniel Buren said: A public work is interesting for me because you can develop the place, the people who use the space, and connections between all of these things…Museums attract only a portion of the population. The public in the Tube station is everyone, and there is a constant flux of people running both ways. I want to offer them a beautiful bubble of oxygen for the spirit.
Eleanor Pinfield, Head of Art on the Underground, commented: “Today, after a decade of planning, we celebrate Daniel Buren’s iconic new work for Tottenham Court Road. ‘Diamonds and Circles’ measures out the transformed station with stripe, with shape, and with colour. It asks us to consider the pace and path we take as we pass through the station. Daniel Buren has brought the extraordinary into our everyday journey. With works by two of the finest artists of the past fifty years, Tottenham Court Road station is a testament to the power of art in public space.”
Photo: Daniel Buren unveils permanent artwork ‘Diamonds and Circles’ works ‘in situ’ commissioned by Art on the Underground at Tottenham Court Road Station, London.PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should: David Parry/PA Wire