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Central line series: Anna Barham and Alice Channer

Date uploaded: April 16, 2012

Central line series: Anna Barham and Alice Channer

Two new site specific commissions have just launched as part of the Central line series: Anna Barham at White City station and Alice Channer at Notting Hill Gate station.

Anna Barham: White City

White City is a new art work by Anna Barham created for White City Underground station as part of Art on the Underground’s Central line series.

The work is in two parts: a series of posters at the station and a series of directly related video works to be viewed online.

Please click here to see the posters and watch the video works.

Visitors to the station will see the posters in its passageways. Many feature seemingly identical pixelated squares. These increasingly commonplace symbols are Quick Response, or QR, codes, a type of barcode or graphic data storage device. They carry information that can be accessed with appropriate reader software and a smartphone.

For this new work, Barham has exploited the functional aspect and the form of the QR code, but has inserted images in place of the solid colour of which the codes are usually made up. The effect has apparently been to ‘corrupt’ the images, though it is still possible to discern the range of scenes they depict. They are all taken from journeys along the Central line, including interiors of stations and train carriages, design details and close-ups of the Eduardo Paolozzi mosaics at Tottenham Court Road Underground station.

Taking White City station and the Central line as subject and substance, White City continues Barham’s longstanding interest in the processes of constructing meaning through language, whose malleable aspects she often further explores through anagrams. From the letters of the station’s name emerges the word Tyche, the Greek goddess of chance and fortune, who becomes the main figure of the project.

White City comprises multiple elements that the viewer can assemble and reassemble in order to make their own ‘route’ through the work and draw their own conclusions. Barham’s exploration and manipulation of the QR codes is a development of her interest in text and language and its flexible, imprecise nature, which she uses like a building material that can be constantly reconfigured into new combinations that make sense in a plurality of ways.

Tamsin Dillon, Head of Art on the Underground, said: “I’ve been intrigued and excited by Anna’s proposal since she first talked to us about it – particularly the way she is using very new technology in the form of QR codes as works of art in themselves and as a vehicle to take the viewer to the films she has made for the project. I’m sure people will enjoy the multiple layers of this work, from the anagrams of all the stations on the Central line to the subtle images embedded in the posters at White City station”.

Click here for more information about White City.

Alice Channer: Hard Metal Body

Hard Metal Body is a new art work by Alice Channer created for Notting Hill Gate Underground station.

The work is installed along each stretch of wall on either side of the escalators leading to the Central line platforms.

A succession of rough ellipses, varying in size, seems to float above the handrails. These rings are the detailed imprints, reproduced on vinyl, of elastic waistbands from clothing. Moving alongside them up or down the escalators recalls the stop-frame images of a flip book.

Made in response to the Central line series’ theme of communication and exchange, as well as to the nature of the site, Hard Metal Body expresses Channer’s desire to inhabit and communicate with the industrial surfaces of the tunnel. She attempts to set up an exchange between her own soft human body and the cold metal surfaces of the tunnel. This is achieved through an indirect reference to her human body in the form of the stretchy clothing that we usually wear close to our skin.

Describing her work as ‘figurative sculpture without the body’, Channer uses a combination of manual, industrial and post-industrial processes both to confuse and define the edges between human and non-human entities. Making the work involves cutting the waistbands from clothing, manually rolling ink over them and then pressing them against paper. The results of this primitive printing method are digitally scanned and manipulated, and then reproduced on vinyl that is installed on the wall. At the end of the process, the details of the imprint are so clear that the flattened down waistbands still evoke the original 3D objects.

Hard Metal Body is a playful continuation of Channer’s interest in pinpointing a new human subjectivity defined by the industrial and post-industrial materials and techniques that constitute our late-capitalist era. She lives and breathes through these plastic processes that shape and form her works, almost as if, as she says, they ‘are authored by many different beings, and only one of these is me’.

Tamsin Dillon, Head of Art on the Underground, said: “I think Alice Channer’s response to a very challenging site at Notting Hill Gate station should make for a rich variety of reactions from our customers. The work she has made for the escalator panels uses the space brilliantly and has a great way of echoing another work in her concurrent exhibition at the South London Gallery*.”

Click here for more information about Hard Metal Body.

Alice Channer: Out of Body, an installation of entirely new sculptural works by Alice Channer, is on view at the South London Gallery from 2 March until 13 May 2012. For more information on the exhibition and related events, please visit the South London Gallery website.

Click here to find out more about Art on the Underground's Central line series.

Hard Metal Body: Alice Channer

Hard Metal Body: Alice Channer