Art on the Underground announces two major artworks by Alexandre da Cunha and Samara Scott for the Northern Line Extension.(TfL)

TfL Press Release - Art on the Underground announces two major artworks by Alexandre da Cunha and Samara Scott for the Northern Line Extension
Visualisation, Samara Scott at Nine Elms station – TfL image
  • The artworks will transform the entrances of the two new Underground stations on the Northern Line Extension – the first major Tube extension since the late 1990s
  • Alexandre da Cunha’s commission, a monumental kinetic sculpture reflecting on daily cycles titled Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset, will be installed at the new Tube station at Battersea
  • Samara Scott’s work at Nine Elms Tube station will mark the artist’s first permanent public commission internationally, and will take the form of a network of richly coloured pools embedded in the station architecture

Art on the Underground has announced details of the permanent artworks which will be incorporated into the ticket halls of the two new Underground stations on the Northern Line Extension.

The two new artworks are planned to be unveiled when the Northern Line Extension opens in autumn 2021. The extension will enable the regeneration of the Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea areas, spurring economic growth by supporting around 25,000 new jobs and more than 20,000 new homes.

Alexandre da Cunha’s work at Battersea, Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset, will stretch to almost 100 metres in length. Da Cunha uses an outdated advertising mechanism – the rotating billboard – to create two friezes which will face each other along the length of the ticket hall. Inspired by the former control room at Battersea Power Station and its system of vertical bars that regulated the production and output of electricity into the city, the work refers to cycles, routine, the everyday and eternity.

Visualisation of Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset, Alexandre da Cunha at Battersea Power Station. Ticket Hall view of the North Wall.   - TfL Image-2
Visualisation of Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset, Alexandre da Cunha at Battersea Power Station. Ticket Hall view of the North Wall. – TfL Image

The friezes will consist of three faces of a different colour, gradually fading from one colour to another over the length of the entire image. The colours have been extracted from photos of London sunsets and sunrises. Throughout the course of the day, the panels will rotate, presenting different combinations of colours into the ticket hall.

The three words of the title refer to the three faces of the vertical panels, their cyclical rotation and repetition. With over 3,500 individual panels, Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset will create an ever-changing environment within the station.

Alexandre da Cunha commented:

Although the core of this piece is colour and its reference to landscape, the work focuses on the idea of movement, cycle and repetition. The analogue aspect of the panels function as an antidote to our constant relationship with digital media, a counterpoint to screens acting as an extension of our bodies.”

For Nine Elms station, Samara Scott has conceived an ambitious nine metre high artwork set into the concrete panels of the ticket hall. Scott’s artwork will take the form of coloured liquid ‘spillages’ in excavated sections of the concrete panels, containing objects and materials collected from the local area. Scott will scavenge objects from local sites including food shops, flower markets, items washed up on the banks of the Thames, construction site debris, and soil and matter from the newly excavated tunnels of the Northern Line Extension.

Congealing these objects into richly coloured sap, Scott will form a new topology for the station that chronicles and fossilizes habits, customs, rituals and behaviours of the Nine Elms landscape. The work will cover an area of over 100 square metres and incorporate 28 separate panels.

Samara Scott commented:

“I am interested in archiving a rapidly mutating landscape; I find the Nine Elms area a surreal tapestry of high-rise 3D rendered bionic futurism, a horizon of furious construction. All these superimpositions, layers of Latin community over medieval river beds, office worker transit, squatter communities, gay subculture histories and Sunday junk markets all lapping at the tideline of the old motorway belt into the city: the Thames. I want to find a way to talk about these things simultaneously butting and bleeding into each other at the tideline, and the cultural pollution-pollination in a city through materiality.”

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said:

“Art on the Underground is London’s largest public art gallery. It has redefined public art, presenting ground-breaking work by pioneering artists to the millions travelling on the Tube.‎ So when the Northern line celebrates its historic extension, it’s only right that two dynamic art works will be in place to welcome Londoners and visitors to these brand new Tube stations. These exciting pieces will inspire a new generation and continue the rich tradition of art and design at London Underground.”

Eleanor Pinfield, Head of Art on the Underground said:

“These two commissions will create a unique identity for each station, bringing a wholly different perspective on the riverside community in which they are located. They will bring the work of these artists to thousands of people every day, enriching TfL’s long history of commissioning extraordinary artworks for our customers.

“Da Cunha’s monumental kinetic frieze will become synonymous with the station, drawing people through its ticket hall with its rhythmic daily flow and creating an illusion of a large window to a dramatic sky. Scott’s relief at Nine Elms draws together the detritus around us, pressing passers-by to question both the landscape and the objects we are surrounded by every day.”

Da Cunha’s and Scott’s artworks will join permanent works commissioned by Art on the Underground across the transport network, including Daniel Buren’s Diamonds and Circles, works in situ, at Tottenham Court Road station; Assemble and Matthew Raw’s Clay Station at Seven Sisters station; and Giles Round’s series of tile interventions Design Work Leisure, recently unveiled at Blackhorse Road, Victoria and Vauxhall stations.