Untitled (Tube Map) by Barbara Kruger

Untitled (Tube Map) by Barbara Kruger

Internationally renowned, American artist, Barbara Kruger (b.1945) is the latest creative talent to design the new Pocket Tube Map cover. Kruger uses the language of publicity to draw attention to advertising and its manipulative power. Her trademark subversive tactics are played out in her Untitled (Tube Map)where the familiar imagery of the map is used to relate her own feelings about London, a city she loves and knows well.

Kruger’s London show, Paste Up, which opened at the tail end of an incredibly complicated year, making it a timely reappraisal of her early practice. In addition to offering an acute cultural insight, Kruger’s work also presents a serious conceptual exploration into the juxtaposition of language and image. By using contrasting layers, Kruger’s work has for almost three decades questioned the nature of a media-saturated society in late capitalism, and the significance of highly evolved cultures of consumerism and the making of social identities.

Her fusion of text and image is inimitable and resonates in the mainstay of today’s over-saturated consumer world. READ the full feature by clicking here.

So, to see her work on the Tube Map is not only relevant, but incredibly exciting. The image shows a section of the Tube map in which the station names have been replaced by words that relate to Kruger’s experience of that part of London. Taking the very familiar visual language of the Tube map, she keeps the main image intact but changes the words – still in their daily uniform of the classic New Johnston Font – and liberates them from their daily function. St. James’s Park is momentarily renamed ‘Fame’, Westminster station becomes ‘Reason’ and Victoria station as ‘Pride’ completes a humorous triumvirate

Kruger’s is the 12th Pocket Tube Map design to be commissioned by Art on the Underground. Other artists in the series include Jeremy Deller, Richard Long, David Shrigley and Mark Wallinger. The maps are becoming recognised as collectors’ items as the portfolio grows. Available for free from stations across the network, the map has one of the largest print runs for any organisation in Europe, with over five million printed per design and almost 15 million per year.

Sally Shaw, curator for Art on the Underground, said: “We are excited and privileged to be working with Barbara Kruger on this project. Untitled (Tube Map) presents a subtly humorous and human interpretation of life in the city, navigated via the Tube. I am looking forward to hearing what our customers think about Barbara’s work and the others in the series via our website.”

You will be able to pick up Kruger’s map for free at Tube stations across London from 21 May 2010.

For more information about Art on the Underground, please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/art

Images © the artists
Barbara Kruger
Paul Noble
Richard Long