A large Modernist-inspired installation has been unveiled at Sudbury Town station

Brooke Theis
·2-min read
Photo credit: GG Archard
Photo credit: GG Archard

From Town & Country

Art on the Underground has revealed Lucy McKenzie’s large-scale installation at the Grade-II listed station Sudbury Town in the London Borough of Brent.

Titled Pleasure’s Inaccuracies, McKenzie’s work comprises two permanent hand-painted ceiling murals in the waiting-rooms, an architectural model of the building, large graphic billboards and a series of silk-screen posters. The commission responds to the original Modernist architecture of the Piccadilly Line stop, which was designed by Charles Holden in 1931 (who also created the University of London’s magnificent Senate House).

Photo credit: GG Archard
Photo credit: GG Archard
Photo credit:  © TfL from the London Transport Museum collection
Photo credit: © TfL from the London Transport Museum collection

“I was really looking forward to working with this station because of its important design history,” says the Glasgow-born, Brussels-based artist, who often refers to historical material in her paintings. For this commission, she conducted extensive research across a two-year period into Transport for London’s archives, where she found countless advertisements from the 1920s and 1930s, which inspired her own poster designs.

The painted ceiling frescoes feature maps of the immediate surrounding areas, highlighting local landmarks from the past and present. To make these, McKenzie sourced information from the town’s library and museum, even reaching out to residents’ groups that have an interest in local history. “I got a good overview of what’s been in the area in the past,” she explains. “Old dance halls, theatres – and one of the UK’s first crisp factories. You’ll see those on the murals.”

Photo credit: GG Archard
Photo credit: GG Archard

For the two large billboards on either side of the platform, McKenzie produced “special images that look like advertising from the period when the station was built”. She has also created a small-scale model of the station, because, she explains, “I want to allow people to really appreciate the beauty of the station.” For this, McKenzie took inspiration from the doll’s houses she had as a child. “I really loved the idea of shrinking down the station like in Alice in Wonderland.”

Photo credit: Mauricio Guillen
Photo credit: Mauricio Guillen

The project forms part of Art on the Underground’s 2020 programme which seeks to create space for quiet contemplation, reflection and solitude, with artists such as Phyllida Barlow and Vivian Suter also contributing public commissions this year. And McKenzie’s work does just this; as she says, “It gives people something to look at while they have to wait – and if I can get someone to look away from their phone for five minutes, that’s a great thing.”

Photo credit: GG Archard
Photo credit: GG Archard