Remember the public outcry over the Paolozzi mosaics removed from Tottenham Court Road during the ongoing refurbishment of the tube station?
As it turned out, just 5% of the mosaics were being removed, as my Londonist colleague Rachel found out:
The arched mosaics above the escalators are supported by the roof, which is being demolished as part of the station upgrade. TfL even looked into taking down each of the tiles individually, but because of the type of mortar they’re set into, only 5% of the tiles would come away undamaged.
TfL has revealed that the 5% of tiles removed will be sent to the Edinburgh College of Art, which has a nice symmetry, as Eduardo Paolozzi studied there in 1943 and later became a visiting professor. The mosaics will be used in conservation teaching, and the pieces will be photographed and digitally mapped before being physically reassembled for public display. University Art Collections curator Neil Lebeter said:
“I am delighted that we are able to provide a future for this work. The mosaics will be a very important addition to the Art Collection both in terms of Paolozzi’s significance and his links to Edinburgh. We see the murals becoming an important part of the campus; a destination in the city for students and public alike. The possibilities for creative engagement through this project are hugely exciting.”
Which is a pretty good outcome by most people’s standards.
Next year, the remaining Paolozzi’s mosaic at Tottenham Court Road will be joined by work from the artist, Daniel Buren, situated around the Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road entrances as well as the ticket halls. You can see what this will look like here.
Further art in the Crossrail part of the station will be created by Douglas Gordon and Richard Wright. Wright’s commission will see gold-leaf hand-gilded on the ceiling above the eastern ticket hall, while Gordon’s work in the station’s Dean Street ticket hall will use evocative images of Soho history and culture. Head of Art on the Underground Eleanor Pinfield said:
“We have worked hard to ensure that 95 per cent of the mosaics are retained at the station, and now have a fitting home for the remainder, through which the pieces will have a new lease of life.
“Tottenham Court Road station is richer for the Paolozzi mosaics, and will be even more so when they are joined by important new pieces by Daniel Buren, Douglas Gordon and Richard Wright.”