‘Horizon Line’, ‘Shadow Line’ and ‘Time Line’ by Darren Almond, 2017
British artist Darren Almond has created three abstract artworks for the spaces above and around the new Bond Street station western ticket hall, located at Davies Street. In form and style, they each resemble large-scale adaptations of the embossed metal nameplates that were affixed to early British locomotives. Each work is made by the same heritage sign company that made many of the boilerplates for locomotives of the past.
'Horizon Line’ is a large grid of fragmented numbers made up of 144 hand individual hand-polished aluminium tiles. The artwork is positioned over the main escalators in the entrance hall and presents passengers with a numerical array that echoes the path of travellers as they descend underground.
The tiles create a landscape of continual movement and ever-changing subjectivity. At a distant point near the horizon rises a single complete number: a zero, the eternal symbol of the infinite and balance point of the absolute.
“Before you’ve even physically begun a journey you are already thinking in a numerical language: the first question we all ask ourselves is, ‘What time is the train?’ So it seemed appropriate to mark the starting point of the journey with a work engaged with a similar language.”
- Darren Almond
‘Shadow Line’ and 'Time Line' are artworks that draw upon the tradition of naming early British locomotives with cast bronze nameplates. However, these train plates bear poetic phrases that offer a philosophical proposition to each passerby.
‘REFLECT FROM YOUR SHADOW’ addresses the passenger in transit, poised between journeys, past, present and future. Situated above the entrance to the lower escalator to the Elizabeth line platforms, this phrase evokes a sense of departure and leaving something in your wake.
“Reflect from your shadow serves as an ever-changing point of reference. It is at once an affirmation of existence and a guide to help forge a clear path. It asks you to consider your experience and what you leave in your wake, both at personal and collective level. It highlights who we are: without light there would be no shadow.”
- Darren Almond
His final piece, ‘Time Line’, presents another evocative phrase, ‘From Under the Glacier’. Here, the words have been divided up into a sequence of four single word plates, designed to be viewed as you begin your ascent to the surface. The piece reminds us of a much slower passage of time: how our journey through this network of tunnels has literally cut through geological time itself. Glaciers are believed to have reached as far south as London during the last Ice Age.
“We are in those strata and literally coming up from under the glacier. What could be more dramatic than to be reminded that your physical presence here, at this very point, is only made possible by passing though geological time itself?”
- Darren Almond
Abstract in nature, the three artworks seek to activate a discussion around the mechanics of time and place and the narratives implied in the daily rhythm of the station - descent, ascent, arrival and departure.
Sponsor: Selfridges & the City of London Corporation
Gallery partner: White Cube