Alexandre da Cunha Brings Sunrise and Sunset to London Underground
Made using the same technology found in mechanical billboards, the installation was revealed at the opening of the Battersea Power Station Underground today.
Alexandre da Cunha, Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset (2021). Battersea Power Station Underground station. Commissioned by Art on the Underground. Courtesy the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery. Photo: GG Archard, 2021.
Over 3,500 three-sided panels rotate to suggest the changing hues of sunrise and sunset in an installation commissioned for the new Battersea Power Station tube stop on London's Northern Line.
The work, entitled Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset (2021) consists of two friezes that face each other across the station's ticket hall, one of which is almost 100 metres long.
'Although the core of this piece is colour and its reference to landscape, the work focuses on the idea of movement, cycle and repetition,' said its creator, Alexandre da Cunha, who was born in Rio de Janeiro and now lives in London.
Before LED screens were so cheap and ubiquitous, mechanical three-sided panels were frequently used on Trivision billboards, also known as three-message signs, to display multiple advertisements. Da Cunha's use of this outmoded technology was inspired by his ambivalence towards the screens we're so often glued to on our commutes.
'The analogue aspect of the panels function as an antidote to our constant relationship with digital media, a counterpoint to screens acting as an extension of our bodies,' he said.
Da Cunha also took inspiration from the system of vertical bars displaying the production and output of electricity in the control room of the coal-fired Battersea Power Station, which was decommissioned in 1975.
Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset was commissioned by Art on The Underground, a curatorial programme established in 2000. The programme aims to place artworks where they will be seen by millions of travellers while contributing to London's identity.
From 11 November, Art on the Underground will present works by Brixton-based artist Joy Labinjo as part of their Brixton Mural programme. Drawing on her British-Nigerian heritage, the work will highlight the the role hair salons play in Black female culture. —[O]