Heather Phillipson Unveils New Art on the Underground Commission




A major commission by British artist Heather Phillipson for the disused platform at Gloucester Road Underground station has been unveiled by Art on the Underground. Phillipson’s commission was unveiled today, 7 June 2018, filling the 80m platform at the station. my name is lettie eggsyrub is Phillipson’s first public commission in the UK, and will be on view for one year. As a focal point for Art on the Underground’s 2018 programme of exclusively female artists, the artwork is Art on the Underground’s most ambitious temporary project to date. The year-long programme forms part of #BehindEveryGreatCity – a major new campaign by the Mayor of London.

I wanted Gloucester Road station to become a parallel ‘scape’ – a subterranean disturbance – Heather Phillipson

London-based Phillipson works in video, sculpture, online media, music, drawing, poetry and installation. Relationships between human and non-human animals are a recurring theme in her work, and for this commission, she focuses on the egg as an object of reproduction, subject to human interference. In her space-filling sculptural and video installation for Gloucester Road’s disused platform, Phillipson uses video game-style layout techniques to magnify eggs and avian body-parts to monstrous proportions.

Phillipson states: “my name is lettie eggsyrub enlarges the egg as a nucleus of conflict. I wanted Gloucester Road station to become a parallel ‘scape’ – a subterranean disturbance, in which hyper-real, creaturely simulations and analogue counterparts dwarf passengers. Using the bold, simplified visual techniques of early computer gaming graphics, both stylistically and as an organising principle, the passing platform becomes a sequence of overlapping vulnerabilities and escape tactics, in which so-called human and avian – winner/loser – roles might reverse. We too begin as eggs. According to this logic, humans are also at the mercy of weaponised food, exposed embryos, dangling, leaking and mechanical equipment, unignorable disorder and potential revolt. Throughout, the egg recurs as a harbinger and taunt – not only as one of the most fundamental forms in reproductive systems and as representation of fertility, strength, birth and futurity, but also, crucially, (over)production, consumption, exploitation and fragility.”
Assembled across the disused platform, this work features various large-scale sculptures including two 4-metre-high 3D eggs, a huge automated whisk, twelve 65” video screens and 16 printed panels alongside oversized suspended images. Computer game aesthetics featuring egg sandwiches, scientific diagrams of chicken foetuses, and tomato ketchup and custard tarts speeding through sci-fi graphics, suggest a present tense of menace and dominion.

Phillipson’s installation at Gloucester Road Underground station conjures many understandings of the egg – as new life and possibility, as a clichéd reference, as human-animal consumption, as cultural projection, as online anonymity about the former default Twitter avatar, and as indicative of a general detachment from foodstuffs and their origins. Phillipson uses surreal, and at times comic, at times uncomfortable, images to blast assumed positions. In all her work, humour appears in subversive and provocative manners to question dominant power- and thought-structures.
As an extension of this work, Phillipson created a sequence of images and slogans on the vinyl panels which run the length of the escalator panels at Notting Hill Gate and Bethnal Green stations.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Heather Phillipson is a bold voice in contemporary British art, and her work at Gloucester Road station is an ambitious project that makes the most of this disused platform space. This artwork is part of a year-long programme focusing on women artists, commissioned by Art on the Underground to mark 100 years since the first women secured the right to vote. It champions contemporary women artists in the biggest public art gallery in the world, and I encourage everyone to look out for artworks at Southwark and Brixton station too.”
Eleanor Pinfield, Head of Art on the Underground stated: “The disused platform at Gloucester Road is a unique location within the London Underground and one that Art on the Underground has been used since the programme’s inception. This new work by Phillipson is the most expansive work ever created for this site and demonstrates our ambition. Heather has created a phenomenal work with large-scale sculpture and video that will be seen and enjoyed by millions. Art on the Underground’s 2018 programme is bringing a broad range of female artist’s voices to London, questioning dominant power structures of the city. Through her new work, Phillipson more than rises to that challenge, questioning our everyday reality and the very basis of our existence – the egg and its myriad social meanings.”
Mark Wild, London Underground Managing Director, said: “This is a truly exceptional installation and I’m thrilled that an artwork of this magnitude is on display on the Tube and can add a creative highlight to everyone who uses it every day.”

2018 is the 100 year anniversary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which gave some women the vote. To mark this occasion, Art on the Underground has commissioned a year-long programme of exclusively of women artists. This includes major commissions from Heather Philipson at Gloucester Road station and Linder at Southwark station, the first in a new programme of works at Brixton station by Nigerian-born artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby, and Tube Map covers by Romanian nonagenarian artist Geta Brătescu, French artist Marie Jacotey, and British artist Jade Monserrat. The programme is part of #BehindEveryGreatCity – a major new campaign by the Mayor of London to draw attention to the progress that has been made by women over the past 100 years and champion the achievements and contributions that women make to London.. Phillipson’s commission was unveiled today, 7 June 2018, filling the 80m platform at the station. my name is lettie eggsyrub is Phillipson’s first public commission in the UK, and will be on view for one year. As a focal point for Art on the Underground’s 2018 programme of exclusively female artists, the artwork is Art on the Underground’s most ambitious temporary project to date. The year-long programme forms part of #BehindEveryGreatCity – a major new campaign by the Mayor of London.

London-based Phillipson works in video, sculpture, online media, music, drawing, poetry and installation. Relationships between human and non-human animals are a recurring theme in her work, and for this commission, she focuses on the egg as an object of reproduction, subject to human interference. In her space-filling sculptural and video installation for Gloucester Road’s disused platform, Phillipson uses video game-style layout techniques to magnify eggs and avian body-parts to monstrous proportions.

Phillipson states: “my name is lettie eggsyrub enlarges the egg as a nucleus of conflict. I wanted Gloucester Road station to become a parallel ‘scape’ – a subterranean disturbance, in which hyper-real, creaturely simulations and analogue counterparts dwarf passengers. Using the bold, simplified visual techniques of early computer gaming graphics, both stylistically and as an organising principle, the passing platform becomes a sequence of overlapping vulnerabilities and escape tactics, in which so-called human and avian – winner/loser – roles might reverse. We too begin as eggs. According to this logic, humans are also at the mercy of weaponised food, exposed embryos, dangling, leaking and mechanical equipment, unignorable disorder and potential revolt. Throughout, the egg recurs as a harbinger and taunt – not only as one of the most fundamental forms in reproductive systems and as representation of fertility, strength, birth and futurity, but also, crucially, (over)production, consumption, exploitation and fragility.”
Assembled across the disused platform, this work features various large-scale sculptures including two 4-metre-high 3D eggs, a huge automated whisk, twelve 65” video screens and 16 printed panels alongside oversized suspended images. Computer game aesthetics featuring egg sandwiches, scientific diagrams of chicken foetuses, and tomato ketchup and custard tarts speeding through sci-fi graphics, suggest a present tense of menace and dominion.

Phillipson’s installation at Gloucester Road Underground station conjures many understandings of the egg – as new life and possibility, as a clichéd reference, as human-animal consumption, as cultural projection, as online anonymity about the former default Twitter avatar, and as indicative of a general detachment from foodstuffs and their origins. Phillipson uses surreal, and at times comic, at times uncomfortable, images to blast assumed positions. In all her work, humour appears in subversive and provocative manners to question dominant power- and thought-structures.

As an extension of this work, Phillipson created a sequence of images and slogans on the vinyl panels which run the length of the escalator panels at Notting Hill Gate and Bethnal Green stations.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Heather Phillipson is a bold voice in contemporary British art, and her work at Gloucester Road station is an ambitious project that makes the most of this disused platform space. This artwork is part of a year-long programme focusing on women artists, commissioned by Art on the Underground to mark 100 years since the first women secured the right to vote. It champions contemporary women artists in the biggest public art gallery in the world, and I encourage everyone to look out for artworks at Southwark and Brixton station too.”

Eleanor Pinfield, Head of Art on the Underground stated: “The disused platform at Gloucester Road is a unique location within the London Underground and one that Art on the Underground has been used since the programme’s inception. This new work by Phillipson is the most expansive work ever created for this site and demonstrates our ambition. Heather has created a phenomenal work with large-scale sculpture and video that will be seen and enjoyed by millions. Art on the Underground’s 2018 programme is bringing a broad range of female artist’s voices to London, questioning dominant power structures of the city. Through her new work, Phillipson more than rises to that challenge, questioning our everyday reality and the very basis of our existence – the egg and its myriad social meanings.”

2018 is the 100 year anniversary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which gave some women the vote. To mark this occasion, Art on the Underground has commissioned a year-long programme of exclusively of women artists. This includes major commissions from Heather Philipson at Gloucester Road station and Linder at Southwark station, the first in a new programme of works at Brixton station by Nigerian-born artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby, and Tube Map covers by Romanian nonagenarian artist Geta Brătescu, French artist Marie Jacotey, and British artist Jade Monserrat. The programme is part of #BehindEveryGreatCity – a major new campaign by the Mayor of London to draw attention to the progress that has been made by women over the past 100 years and champion the achievements and contributions that women make to London.

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