London: Dynamic new work by the Romanian artist Geta Bratescu features on the 28th edition of the Pocket Tube map, for Art on the Underground. This will mark the nonagenarian artist’s first public commission in the UK. For the fourth edition of the Night Tube Pocket map, a series working with emerging artists, Art on the Underground has commissioned London-based French artist Marie Jacotey to create new work for the cover. The commissions are part of a year-long programme of exclusively women artists in 2018 as part of #BehindEveryGreatCity – a major new campaign by the Mayor of London. The Tube maps will launch on 21 May 2018.
Brătescu’s commission has created a collage which forms part of her ongoing cycle Game of Forms (2009 – present). This work comprises vivid pink cut-outs with graphic, hand-drawn, black markings. Brătescu describes this collaging technique as ‘drawings with scissors’. The use of scissors give the vibrant pink triangles sharp contours while the imperfection of the heavy black lines, which are almost reminiscent of Japanese calligraphy, anchor the artwork in its materiality.
Born in Romania in 1926, Greta Bratescu spent much of her life under Communist regime and Ceaușescu’s totalitarian regime. Within these repressive contexts Greta Bratescu embraced the freedom of her studio, using whatever was available to her, often her own body, giving new life to unassuming and humble materials, adapting and recycling these to create infinite possibilities. Greta Bratescu works across a number of mediums including collage, performance, photography, textiles, print-making and film, however drawing is at the core of all these outputs. Within the modest scale of the Pocket Tube map, the artist has created a great sense of dynamism and movement; she explains that ‘there is a dance between drawing and collage.’ The artist was inspired by the crowds of people moving through London, for her, their movement is like a drawing in physical space; her geometric forms possess both playfulness and order.
Fourth edition Night Tube Pocket map – Marie Jacotey, You in my bedroom
The Night Tube map cover series, first launched in 2016, works with early career artists, and coincides with Art on the Underground’s long standing series of Pocket Tube map covers, established in 2004.
You in my bedroom presents a portrait in which Marie Jacotey turns the male gaze on its head, staging a voyeuristic image of a young man looking through his bedroom window at night. In the positioning of the subject with his back to the viewer, the portrait aims to evoke questions about the scene the observer is presented with. When making the work, Jacotey used her own experience of quiet, late night journeys by train and how these travels give space to ruminate and reflect. There is often a juxtaposition between loud, crowded groups heading towards or returning from late night social gatherings and tired, solitary travellers. For the cover of the map, Jacotey has drawn on this solitude using coloured pastel to create an intimate portrait of the night.
Jacotey’s work is a snapshot of contemporary relationships and social interactions in comic-strip form. Illustrated and interspersed with text, they are deeply material against the backdrop of our screen-based age. Collated from overheard conversations and images from social media, they are painful, tender, dark and comic ruminations on human encounters.