Londoners – and visitors to the English capital – are waiting impatiently for the new Tube line to open at the end of the year. In the meantime, they can get a preview of the public art planned for the line at a free exhibition in East London.
Art Capital: Art for the Elizabeth Line runs at the Whitechapel Gallery until 6 May, giving the public a preview of some of the spectacular public art they can expect to appear at stations along the new underground route.
There are works commissioned from nine internationally-renowned artists, including Yayoi Kusama, Spencer Finch and Richard Wright, with most of them appearing along the central stations. Each artist was tasked with creating a work that reflects the location, history or the functionality of the individual stations.
To that end, Douglas Gordon has created a big neon sign for the Tottenham Court Road station, which commuters will see on their way to Soho, one of the city’s main entertainment districts, and is inspired by the nightlife in the area in the 1960s. The Whitechapel commission will be a vibrant portrait of an East Ender by UK artist Chantal Joffe.
The exhibition will consist of the sketches and prototypes of the art and installations, showing the process of bringing the artists’ vision to life. There will also be a short film illustrating the project.
The Crossrail Art Programme worked with art galleries around London to create what they call “the largest collaborative public art commissioning process in a generation.” In a statement, the chair of Crossrail Terry Morgan said “the Elizabeth line will be the single biggest addition to the capital’s public art scene in a generation and will cement London’s place as a global capital for arts and culture.”
The new Elizabeth Line will run through 41 stations in total, providing another line to Heathrow airport and connecting as far as Reading in the west and and Shenfield and Abbey Wood to the east.