Mark Wallinger

Chigwell UK 1959, lives and works in London, UK

Labyrinth 64 (Waterloo)
2013
vitreous enamelled steel plate, powder-coated aluminium frame
63.5 x 63.5 cm
2013.MW.04

These Labyrinths are part of Mark Wallinger’s groundbreaking new Art on the Underground commission marking the 150th Anniversary of the London Underground in 2013.

Inspired by the lexicon of signs on the London Underground that have become some of the most recognised in the world, Wallinger chose the ancient symbol of the labyrinth as the theme of this major work installed in all 270 stations on the Tube network. Each station will have its unique Labyrinth design, permanently installed in a prominent location. In addition, the artist and Art on the Underground have authorised the release of just one further copy of each of these iconic images. 

The rumble of trains was a reassuring presence in Wallinger’s childhood, with the Central line running close by his family home in Chigwell, Essex. The Tube provided him with a connection from the countryside to the complexities and possibilities of the metropolis. This personal relationship with the Underground has informed his interest in public transport and fuelled a fascination with the idea of being ‘transported’ in an imaginative or spiritual sense. This idea gave rise to the ancient symbol that lies at the heart of this commission: the labyrinth, which represents this idea of the spiritual journey in many different traditions across the globe. An example of a significant labyrinth from the 13th century can be seen today on the floor of Chartres Cathedral, where visitors are invited to walk its circuitous path as a form of pilgrimage. For Wallinger, the labyrinth is a fitting analogy for the millions of journeys that are made across the Tube network every day.