Today Art on the Underground unveiled a new major permanent artwork by London-based Brazilian artist Alexandre da Cunha, installed at Battersea Power Station Underground station on the new Northern Line Extension. The new artwork is a central part of the Northern Line Extension which opens today, 20th September 2021, connecting Battersea Power Station to Nine Elms and Kennington.
Installed in the ticket hall of the new station, Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset stretches to over 150 metres in length in total. Da Cunha uses an outdated advertising mechanism – the rotating billboard – to create two friezes that face each other along the length of the ticket hall. The longer of the two panels is 95 metres, the other just over 60 metres. Combined, the panels feature 1,193 individual prisms. Inspired by the former control room at Battersea Power Station and its system of vertical bars that regulated the production and output of electricity into the city, the work refers to cycles, routine, the everyday and eternity.
The friezes consist of three faces, each a different colour informed by London sunsets and sunrises, gradually fading from one colour to another over the length of the entire panel. Throughout the course of the day, the panels rotate seemingly at random, presenting different combinations of colours into the ticket hall. The three words of the title refer to the three vertical panels, their cyclical rotation and repetition. With over 3,500 individual panels, Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset will create an ever-changing environment within the station.
From da Cunha’s extensive experience in creating works for public and exhibition spaces, this is the first time the artist has incorporated kinetics into his work. The unanticipated rotation of the panels sitting within periods of static display sets a tempo to our movement through the station. Much like a large window to a dramatic sky, Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset changes throughout the course of the day.
“Although the core of this piece is colour and its reference to landscape, the work focuses on the idea of movement, cycle and repetition. 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.”Alexandre da Cunha
A series of public programme events will accompany the launch of the artwork. Working with local community gardening collective, Urban Canopy, workshops are taking place in the ‘Sundial Garden’ on the Patmore Estate, continuing throughout September 2021. Collaborating with Photography Centre Photofusion, a series of activities have been programmed, including dusk photography walks, a 2-day solargraphy masterclass and a cyanotype workshop. Alexandre da Cunha will join a community launch taking place at the R.O.S.E Community Clubhouse in the autumn. A second talk with the artist will take place in November 2021 at the Royal College of Art. For more information, please see our website. art.tfl.gov.uk/projects/sunset-sunrise-sunset/
About the Artist
Alexandre da Cunha was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1969 and lives and works in London and São Paulo. He has exhibited widely throughout the world with selected solo exhibitions including: Duplex, Brighton CCA, Brighton, England (forthcoming, 2021); Duologue with Phillip King, Royal Society of Sculptors, London, England (2018); Boom, Pivô, São Paulo, Brazil (2017); Free Fall, Thomas Dane Gallery, London, England (2016); the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago IL (2015); Dublê, Centro Cultural São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (2011), and Laissez-Faire, Camden Arts Centre, London, England (2009). Da Cunha’s work is included in major private and institutional collections including the Tate, England; Zabludowicz Collection, London, England; ICA Boston, USA; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, USA; Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; and Inhotim, Brazil.
Major outdoor sculptures by da Cunha are on permanent view at the Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis, MI, the Monsoon Building in London, and the Rochaverá Tower in São Paulo.