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Art sensation Labyrinth celebrates 10 years

New Labyrinths join 270 others on the Tube network, marking the 10th anniversary of the commission and 160 years of the London Underground. The busy stations have seen more than 16.5m entries and exits since their 2021 opening. Transport for London (TfL) continues celebrations of the 160th anniversary of London Underground and marks 10 years of art installation Labyrinth with the unveiling of two new Labyrinths for Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms stations. In 2013, TfL’s Art on the Underground programme unveiled the largest ever commission of its kind, artist Mark Wallinger’s Labyrinth - 270 unique works, one for each of the 270 stations on the London Underground network. The commission was one of the highlights of a series of special events and commissions in 2013 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the London Underground. Two new stations joined the London Underground network in September 2021 with the opening of the extension of the Northern line. These two stations, Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms, have unveiled a new unique Labyrinth created by Wallinger.

Inspired by the language of the symbols of London Underground, Wallinger chose the ancient symbol of the Labyrinth, with its single path, as the theme of the expansive work. Each London Underground station has its own unique Labyrinth design, emblazoned in black and white on a single 60cm² enamel panel, representing the journey through the network taken by millions of individuals each year. The works are installed in prominent positions so that they are visible to the most amount of people, and alongside the unique Labyrinth design, each has a number marked out of 270, the number of London Underground stations in 2013. The original numbering referred to the Tube Challenge route - the optimum route to pass through all stations on the London Underground network in the fastest possible time – as set when the work was fabricated.

Mirroring the branching of the Northern line from Kennington to form the extension of the Northern line the two new designs are numerically linked to Kennington’s Labyrinth – numbered 110 / 270. The new stations are numbered 110a/270 and 110b/270.

Nine Elms (110a) is based on the embossed family of labyrinths, with nine concentric circles to hint at the station’s name. Battersea Power Station (110b) has a four-cornered structure within the circular outline, a nod to the location’s famous four-chimney landmark.

London Underground enthusiasts were the first to see the new Labyrinths at Battersea and Nine Elms stations be unveiled. The Labyrinths are located in each stations’ ticket hall and are now on permanent display.  

The artist Mark Wallinger, said: ‘‘I am delighted and thrilled to have been given the opportunity to use the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the unveiling of the original Labyrinths to create two new ones. The work was conceived as a celebration of the world’s greatest connective and welcoming public transport network. So I am immensely proud to be able to complete their presence across the network, and celebrate the underground’s reach through Nine Elms to the iconic Battersea Power Station, beloved by all Londoners.”

Eleanor Pinfield, TfL’s Head of Art on the Underground, said: “Labyrinth is one of Art on the Underground’s most recognisable and most loved art commissions. A unique artwork in every station, Labyrinth is seen by millions each day and has created a generation of ‘Labyrinth hunters’. As we celebrate 10 years of Labyrinth and 160 years of the Tube we are thrilled to present two new artworks, created for Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms Underground stations.”

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said: “The extension of the Northern line to Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms has brought a huge boost to the area, and it’s great they will now join all of the other 270 stations with their own bespoke Labyrinth artwork. The Labyrinth is a much-loved part of the London Underground, delighting passengers as they travel around our beloved city. It’s a fantastic example of how Art on the Underground is showcasing extraordinary artworks in our everyday life, helping us build a better London for everyone.”

The extension of the Northern line was the first major addition to the London Underground network this century, bringing key parts of south London within 15 minutes of the West End and the City. Since the Northern Line Extension opened in September 2021, the two new stations at Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station have hit more than 16.5m entries and exits.

A special 160th year roundel, Love the Tube, was unveiled by the Mayor of London at the start of the year at Gloucester Road, Brixton, Oxford Circus and Covent Garden Tube stations. A series of events has taken place over the course of the year, including a one-off return to the network of an original art-deco 1938 stock Tube train, and a podcast will launch soon featuring a range of voices with a connection to the London Underground network.

Nearby Battersea Power Station is hosting ‘Behind the Bricks’, a nine-day festival between 21 – 29 October to celebrate one-year since opening its doors to the public. Visitors can discover more about the heritage and restoration of the iconic London landmark, and its transformation into a new riverside neighbourhood where you can live, work, shop, dine and play.

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