#LondonIsOpen: the (poster) art movement for a city of unity
Oh, what a city. Mayor of London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, and British artist David Shrigley have launched a series of artist-designed posters for London’s Tube, which declare that the city “will not cut itself off from the rest of the world”. Art on the Underground, in collaboration with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has commissioned five artists to create limited edition artworks. Sol Calero, Alexandre da Cunha, Jeremy Deller, David Shrigley and Mark Titchner, have created posters that were handed out for free to Tube passengers at Tottenham Court Road, Vauxhall, King’s Cross St Pancras, Shepherd’s Bush and Stratford stations on Tuesday 22 November 2016 from 7.30am.
“Art is a hugely powerful way to say that London is open – open for business, open to ideas, and open to the people from across the world who have chosen to live and work here,” Khan explained. “We’ve asked some of the world’s leading artists like David Shrigley to help us communicate the simple but vital message that, despite the uncertainties around Brexit, London will remain an international city that embraces and celebrates diversity, a city where everyone is welcome, and a city that will not cut itself off from the rest of the world.” London was one of the only regions in England to overwhelmingly vote remain. Since the result, Khan has undertaken discussions with the British government to ensure that the city maintains its close ties to the European Union.
For the project every location had its own exclusive artwork, based on the themes of openness and diversity championed by the London is Open campaign. Prints have been produced in limited runs of 5,000 copies, sending a message across London of internationalism, diversity and commonality. The programme builds on a major new series of artworks on the Tube network, launched by the Mayor in July 2016 as part of #LondonIsOpen, following the results of the EU referendum.
Sol Calero on making “Londres abierto” (2016)
“Having left Venezuela for Europe when I was 17, my approach in my work has always been with the eye of an immigrant. I am particularly interested in preconception and lately I’ve been reflecting on Latin American cultures, their forms of aestheticization and the complex political and social histories behind the constructions of Latin identity. I create installations that become platforms for participatory or collaborative projects and I often reach out to local communities who I invite to contribute. In that sense, I really like the accessibility of London is Open and the idea of this poster going off to have thousands of lives of its own in all kinds of homes and workplaces throughout London, passing on some kind of warm feeling.”
Alexandre da Cunha on making “West Series Flags (Yellow)” (2016)
“For #LondonIsOpen I’ve created a new work based on my Flag Series. The works in the series are collages of pictures I’ve taken of iconic sunset locations that are then obstructed by geometric forms that refer to national flags. I’m commenting on the arbitrary construction and misrepresentation of cultural identities, at the same time pointing to the power that certain images have to transport us to other places.”
David Shrigley on “London: Everyone Welcome”
“My artwork says very simply that everyone in the world is included and welcome in London. What I love most about London is that, culturally speaking, you can see pretty much everything that there is to see in the world at some point in London.”
Jeremy Deller on “London & on & on” (2016)
“My artwork contribution ‘London & on & on’, is a hopefully funny play on an advert for washing machines in the 1990’s. It rifts on the advert’s catch phrase ‘Ariston and on and’. It feels like it’s appropriate to the theme that London Is Open – that London has its own momentum, it has been going for 2000 years after all.”