Labyrinth by Mark Wallinger


Wallinger has been commissioned by Art on the Underground to commemorate the 150 anniversary of the tube. Given the subterranean, neon lit and warren like location that is the underground, it’s a fitting gallery for these enamel prints to hang. They have become a Transport Design icon and D&AD Yellow Pencil winner since their appearance in 2013. By the summer, there will be a Labyrinth in all 270 stations. I managed to find 12 designs shown below:

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Wallinger said he was inspired by tube icons – the tube map designed by Harry Beck and the network’s familiar roundels. From that came the idea of mazes and labyrinths and the strength of the latter was that there is only one way in and one way out, unlike mazes which set out to confuse with their tricks and dead ends. “As long as you keep going in a labyrinth you will come to your centre,” he said. Each work will have a red cross on it, representing a starting point.

More recently, I found this book in an Oxfam in Cambridge, which evidently served as the graphic beginnings for the Turner Prize winning artist.

This is by no means a design shaming exercise. T.S. Eliot had this to say about the creative process: “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.”

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