Monster Chetwynd’s Pond Life | Artwork at Gloucester Road Station
As you whizz along the District and Circle lines, keep your eyes peeled for a new artwork at Gloucester Road Station, it’s called Pond Life: Albertopolis and the Lily by Monster Chetwynd.
Along the 80 metres of disused platform, Chetwynd has installed five huge circular sculptures.
You can spy turtles, newts, beetles, bugs and other slithery creates writhing about on the massive white discs.
The appear to be working collaboratively on a construction project which culminates in a recognisable final structure.
One panel is clearly the Crystal Palace, the mammoth exhibition space that housed the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park.
It was the success of the Great Exhibition which prompted the development of today’s South Kensington, sometimes called Albertopolis in reference to Prince Albert, the brainchild of the exhibition.
Gloucester Road Station itself is a byproduct of the Great Exhibition, opening in 1868 in part to allow more public access to the new museums (The V&A, Science Museum and Natural History Museum) which proliferated in the area.
The circular shapes are a nod to the commemorative coins produced as official (and unofficial) souvenirs for the Great Exhibition.
The final element along the platform is a lone salamander, standing below a giant Amazonian waterlilly. In its hands is a little tadpole or larvae.
The image of the waterlily became a big influence on Chetwynd’s final piece. During her research she was inspired by the discovery that Joseph Paxton – arhcitect of the Crystal Palace – had intensely studied the network of veins in the structure of waterlilles and this had a direct impact on his final design in glass and cast iron.
So whether you think they’re creepy or brilliant, it certainly adds a bit of intrigue to the daily commute!
It’s also not the first time Monster Chetwynd has installed something eye-catching in London. Who could forget the epic slugs who slimed all over the Tate Britain?
You can admire it until May 2024 along the Eastbound Circle and District line platforms at Gloucester Road Station. What do you think?
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