Sarah Morris, the artist who has taken her site-specific “decoding” surveys of urban areas to spaces including the Lever House in Manhattan and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, says London will be the “starting point” when her commission for Art on the Underground – sprawling through 18 arches along a disused platform at Gloucester Road Tube Station – opens later this month.
© Sarah Morris / White Cube
The 12th work for the station is described as an “evolving spectrum of geometry and colour”, continuing Morris’s predilection for complex, precisely-angled abstract patterns. Originally part of a painting of Big Ben made for London 2012, she has now depicted the city as a complex grid of non-linear stories, converging as they pass the line of sight from carriages.
© Courtesy Sarah Morris / White Cube
“This is the first series of images where I’ve treated London as a subject,” says Morris.
“Stripped bare, Big Ben is a streamlined image of time, and ironically anti-authoritarian.
“No-one can control the politics of the future. I wanted to create a spectrum of colour that parallels the movement in and out of Gloucester Road – an image of arrival and departure.”
Those are themes Morris is adroit at pursuing. Two of her previous films, Beijing and 1972 (both made in 2008) explore the Olympics. Others, such as last year’s Chicago and Midtown, considered her seminal work from 1998, feature subway stations.
“Her work resonates very strongly, not only with London’s architecture and transport infrastructure, but most especially with the energy and excitement in the capital during 2012,” suggests Louise Coysh, the curator for Art on the Underground.
A limited edition print of the original work will be on display at Tate Britain as a poster for the Paralympics.
Two other underground stops, Southwark and Piccadilly, are showcasing the 12 official posters for the Games between now and December 2012.