Hew Locke | Art on the Underground

June 15, 2016

Hales Gallery is delighted to announce a special commision of Hew Locke's work for the London Underground pocket tube map.


His Tube map cover, entitled ‘Tunnel Vision’, is a life-size mask made from vibrant cord and string glued together to mimic the Tube lines. The artist’s own eye, glares all-seeing from the centre.


The eye in the image is life-size so that the map can be held up to one’s face to form a mask. It is joyful, playful and uncomfortable - the eye stares directly at us, reminding us of the observations we encounter every day - from the way we move around the city, to social media, we are always watching one another.


Hew Locke’s work includes explorations of history, how people and nations display their power and wealth, migration, globalisation and military conflict. He is particularly renowned for his installations of boat-sculptures, and his collages of establishment figures embellished with beads, sequins, plastic toys and kitsch ephemera, every element meticulously placed. His permanent sculpture ‘The Jurors’ (2015) sits at Runnymede, created to celebrate the 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta.


Hew Locke said: “This commission is a major opportunity for me to make work that is universally available to all and a chance for me to be part of the long tradition of the arts associated with the London Underground. I have lived in London for over 25 years and I'm a regular user of the Underground.”


Eleanor Pinfield, Head of Art on the Underground, said: “Hew Locke has created a powerful image for London with this commission. He has taken a bold approach by reimagining the two dimensional lines of the Tube map as a three-dimensional object, forming a mask that is pierced by his own eye at the centre. Hew’s work stares out from the physical confines of the Tube map cover, and will be enjoyed by millions of people across the city.”


To hear Hew Locke talk about 'Tunnel VIsion' in a video for Art on the Underground please click here.