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Elasticised waistbands arrive at Notting Hill Gate Tube station

Date uploaded: April 2, 2012

Elasticised waistbands arrive at Notting Hill Gate Tube station

A new artwork called Hard Metal Body by artist Alice Channer, commissioned by Art on the Underground, will be displayed along the length of the escalators at Notting Hill Gate Tube from 29 March for customers to enjoy as they travel through the station.

British artist Alice Channer often describes her work as ‘figurative sculpture without the body’. For her new site specific installation Hard Metal Body she uses a combination of processes and materials to both blur and define the boundaries between the human and non-human entities at the Tube station.

Hard Metal Body is part of Art on the Underground’s Central line series, which to date has included projects by artists Michael Landy and Ruth Ewan. This spring also sees Anna Barham’s WHITE CITY at White City Underground station. All have communication and exchange as their theme.

Alice’s installation at Notting Hill Gate station looks at the way that the body inhabits and responds to the tunnels of the Underground. The work consists of vinyl friezes stretching either side of the 30m escalators, on the walls, that lead to the Central line platforms. From a distance the images appear to be a succession of rough ellipses. On closer inspection, we see that these are the imprints of elastic waistbands from clothing. The imprints vary in size and figuration so that travelling past them in quick succession on the escalator recalls the stop-frame images of a flick book.

According to the artist, “the work describes my attempt as a human being and as an artist to breathe through and with (rather than against) the things that shape the work. It describes an exchange between human and non-human forces”.

Making the work involves cutting the waistbands from the clothes, manually rolling ink over them and then pressing them against paper. The results of this somewhat 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.

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.”

The launch event at Gate Theatre in Notting Hill will be accompanied by a conversation between artists Anna Barham and Alice Channer, chaired by art critic Rachel Withers.

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 www.southlondongallery.org

Alice Channer on the TfL website