London Tube Issues Artistic Map

LONDON -- Art on the Underground has commissioned British-based German artist Tomma Abts to make a new artwork for the cover of the Pocket Tube Map, the 23rd edition in the series since 2004.

Art collectors of Art Kabinett social media network use these artistic maps to navigate the city's subway system.

For the cover Abts has made a colored pencil on paper work. Six colored lines, their palette adopted from London Underground colors, glide across a sparse white background. Sharp pencil shadows add a three dimensional effect and defy any single, real source of light.

The result is an image that conveys balance and movement that extends beyond the confines of the paper.

Grounded in process and materiality, Abts’ complex paintings and works on paper are painstakingly constructed, each work guided largely by intuition with little preconceived idea for its outcome.

Working from no preliminary sketches, Abts’ methodical process of over-painting and reworking an image results in variations in surface, texture, edge, tonality and color. Interlocking lines, colours and shapes are densely layered creating images with a confidence that seek to represent themselves.

Eleanor Pinfield, Head of Art on the Underground, commented: “Tomma Abts has created a beautiful interpretation of London Underground. Her work is a unique pencil drawing that calls on the familiar colours of the tube lines, with shadow, texture and movement. We are delighted that Tomma took on this commission in her twentieth year in London. Her work will be enjoyed by millions of people traveling across the city.”

Tomma Abts said “This year marks my twentieth anniversary of living in London, and I was very pleased to be asked to design the London Tube map cover. The drawing was made on a scale of 1:1, meaning it is not enlarged or reduced in size for reproduction. The design for the accompanying poster is likewise drawn in actual size for the larger format.”

Recent solo exhibitions include David Zwirner, New York, NY; Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO (2014); Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne (2013); greengrassi, London (2011); Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf (2011); Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch, Berlin (2009); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2008); New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2008.

Recent group exhibitions include Made In Britain: Contemporary Art from the British Council Collection 1980 – 2010, Benaki Museum, Greece; Albanian National Gallery, Tirana; Maribor, Slovenia; Ankara, Turkey, David Zwirner, New York, NY (2012); The Indiscipline of Painting, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre (2012); The Indiscipline of Painting, Tate St Ives, Cornwall (2011); PPP, Public Private Paintings, Mu.ZEE, Oostende (2011); Absentee Landlord, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (curated byJohn Waters, 2011); Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA, Chicago (curated by Julie Rodrigues Widholm,2011)).

Abts was the first female painter to win the Turner Prize, London (2006).