There should always be art for Christmas. And in a year that has seen London at the centre of the world stage, what better art than that inspired by the iconic London Transport roundel?
In this 2008 project, repackaged for 2012 and the 150th anniversary of the Underground, 100 artists have taken Edward Johnston’s logo, a red circle and a blue bar, and used it to inspire a new piece of art.
Some are simple; Richard Woods has made a printing block from plywood and used household paint, while Toby Paterson has toned the red and blue down to pastel shades. Others (Polly Apfelbaum, Jim Iserman, Liam Gillick) have become obsessed with the simplicity of the design and repeated it, over and over again.
While some are very simple and graphic, others are more expressive, like Sophie von Hellerman’s ‘One of the Seven Sisters’, a lively watercolour portrait, or Paul Mc Devitt’s splashy, dripped take (which is on the cover). James ireland has made a simple sculptural version, from a roll of red sticky tape and a blue pen, and Rose Finn-Kelcey has carved the roundel through a loaf of sliced white bread.
Collectively, The Roundel is a very diverse collection of cultures, styles, approaches and imaginings but in all of them, the logo itself still stands out strong. And that might just be a metaphor for London itself.
The Roundel by Art On The Underground is published by Art/Books, ISBN 9781908970015. Please buy it from your local bookshop.