Look Out For These Artworks At Stratford, Bethnal Green, Notting Hill Gate And Heathrow

Look Out For These Artworks At Stratford, Bethnal Green, Notting Hill Gate And Heathrow
The artwork displays in the curved ceiling of a tube station concourse
Artwork detail: Art on the Underground/Rhea Storr

The escalators and concourses of four tube stations are now awash with pinks, purples and fuchsias — but there's a lot going on behind the vibrant colours.

Rhea Storr's work, Uncommon Observations: The Ground that Moves Us, is installed at Stratford, Bethnal Green, Notting Hill Gate and Heathrow Terminal 4. The four unique works feature performance artist, Jade Blackstock, and were shot on common land across London.

Artwork detail: Art on the Underground/Rhea Storr

The luminous images aren't Photoshop filters, but created using an outdated military surveillance photographic film, which turns reflections of infra-red light into vivid shades of red and pink and centres Blackstock herself, drawing focus to human movement.

The work, says Storr, plays with the idea of who is looking at who, who is visible and who is in control of the image.

The title of the artwork at the top of an escalator
Artwork detail: Art on the Underground/Rhea Storr

Says the artist: "It was important to me to use this military film which has been used as an instrument of violence and otherness, to think critically about visibility and control, particularly when we think about the representation of the Black subject.

"Black bodies are not fixed, but instead constantly moving, from being observed and admired to moving to evade or refuse monitoring."

A woman passes the artwork on an escalator
Artwork detail: Art on the Underground/Rhea Storr

Captions appear beneath the images; these were informed by conversations Storr had with TfL staff working at the stations. They were asked what they notice about people, what aspects of travelling are hidden, and how does race, visibility or dress affect the way that they or the people they observe move around the Underground?

The purple hued artwork flanking both sides of an escalator
Artwork detail: Art on the Underground/Rhea Storr

Says Storr: "Exhibiting these works in public space is key to how we receive their meaning. We encounter these images between information notices, advertising, images for consumption and direction, where our movements are choreographed by the station's design.

"This artwork asks if it is possible to re-narrate or revise our experiences, as passengers, members of the public, workers, communities, and individuals, in constant movement and under observation."

You can see the artworks until July 2023.

Last Updated 25 July 2022