Art of Angel: the tube station becomes a gallery
Commuters rushing through Angel tube station will find something more than adverts for weight loss drugs and West End musicals lining the walls of the station for the next two weeks.
ArtBelow’s Art of Angel exhibition, featuring the work of 24 international artists, will be hijacking billboard spots normally reserved for more mundane use and converting the underground corridors into pop-up gallery spaces.
It’s one of the free, diverse, curated events that has defined ArtBelow for the past six years that brings the public into contact with artists at all stages of their careers, opening possibilities for encounters between producers and consumers of art that would otherwise be unlikely.
Despite highly visible programs like Art on the Underground, which create the image of a public art-embracing, accessible corporate face, it’s incredibly difficult for artists to have their work shown in the London Underground network. For those without professional representation it can be a strictly need-not-apply situation.
Ben Moore founded ArtBelow in 2006 to as a platform for artists to access the incredible audience of tube travellers without having to fight their way through the curation policies that govern their artistic delivery programme. But the ArtBelow mission doesn’t end with the London Underground.
Based in Fulham, ArtBelow curates a wide range of high-class artists from all walks of life, all nations, and all stages of professional development, to bring cutting-edge contemporary art to commuters around the world.
The current exhibition includes work by artists from Pakistan, France, America, and the UK among other points of origin. In addition to the showings in the Angel tube station, there is a companion exhibit in the nearby Candid Arts Trust where the Art of Angel works are showing along with a stable of other ArtBelow artists.
When asked how he selects artists to join his portfolio, Moore said that he looks for “art that’s public” – art that can be easily consumed by the passer-by, offering India Ritchie’s Contamination and its Associates as a perfect example. This is art with a “message” that anyone can pick up in the moment they have to digest it as they rush past on their way to work.
The art on display is all visual, with pieces in the exhibition ranging from lenticular prints to sculptures. There is a series of hand-drawn sketches by Moore’s four year-old son (a commentary on sceptical viewers’ common reaction to postmodern art, the suggestion that it “could have been done by a four year-old”), alongside prints of works like Bran Symondson’s Commodities, originally part of last year’s AKA Peace exhibition.
The works on display in the Angel tube station are also presented as a linear series of smaller prints, where one can view all of them together at once. Though the artworks themselves can be somewhat disparate, the overall impression is of a collection of work intended to get the viewer thinking and considering.
ArtBelow is about art that speaks to businesspeople, parents, young people, people going somewhere. In short, it’s about art that speaks to all of us.
Art of Angel is at Angel tube station until 28th January 2013. For further information visit here.