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Concern for the Fate of the Paolozzi Murals

23 January 2015 | Updated 01 January 1970

The worries have been expressed by the Twentieth Century Society (TCS) concern over two Paolozzi murals at the tube station that make up part of the 1980s’ artistic scheme for the station.

The mosaics at Tottenham Court Road station were commissioned in 1980 by London Transport and completed in 1984.

The TCS argues that the demolition of these two elements – a double set of tiled arches over the escalators in the main concourse and a large decorative panel at the entrance to the south side of Oxford Street, would be a ‘major loss’ to London. At the very least, TCS wants to see every effort made to relocate or retain them in the new station.

“These two pieces are integral to Paolozzi’s comprehensive scheme for the station,” said Henrietta Billings, Senior Conservation Adviser TCS. “They form an important part of a very special and unique work of public art that is seen by thousands of people every day. We’ve raised our concerns with TfL and we are meeting with Roger Hawkins next week.”

Ms Billings stated that while TCS appreciates that TfL has worked hard to retain as much of the murals at platform level as possible and that integrating Crossrail is “immensely complex”. However, she believed that both of these pieces are of “very high quality and we believe they could be successfully retained within the new station – or relocated. To destroy them would be a tragic loss and London deserves better.”

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1924-2005) was one of Britain’s most prolific artists and sculptors of the twentieth century. Knighted in 1989, he was a Royal Academician and Her Majesty’s Sculptor-in-Ordinary for Scotland. Over 350 works, including sculptures and art works are in the Tate gallery collection, and a total of 27 works are housed in the Scottish National Gallery of Scotland. His work is also owned by the Government Art Collection, the Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy, and the Museum of Modern Art Collection, New York.

Pictured: One of the Paolozzi murals at Tottenham Court Road Underground station which is under threat of removal because of the Crossrail redevelopment.

Article written by Mike Gannon | Published 23 January 2015


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