The vast kinetic art of Alexandre da Cunha for Battersea Power Station Tube
At the new London Underground Battersea Power Station, Brazilian artist Alexandre da Cunha unveiled Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset a public kinetic work of art inspired by the old power plant control room and the rhythms of city life
Brazilian artist Alexandre da Cunha has unveiled his biggest work to date at London’s new Battersea Power Station. The vast kinetic sculpture, titled Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset, is a new permanent feature of the new extension of the North Line, which will be seen by millions of people passing through the ticket office at the station.
The nearly 100m piece, commissioned by Art on the Underground and designed before the pandemic, includes more than 3,500 individual panels and marks the first time the artist has used kinetics in her work. Da Cunha used an old-fashioned advertising mechanism – the rotating billboard – to create two friezes inspired by the old control room of Battersea Power Station and its system of vertical bars that regulated the output of electricity to London .
Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset will change shape throughout the day, each of its three faces changing from one color to another in response to London’s sunrises and sunsets. The piece reflects the rhythmic flow of everyday life, routine and the passage of time. “Although the heart of this piece is color and its reference to the landscape, the work focuses on the idea of movement, cycle and repetition,” explains da Cunha, known for her modernist works that permeate objects of the daily and ready-mades of spiritual stories. “The analog aspect of the panels works as an antidote to our constant relationship with digital media, a counterpoint to screens acting as an extension of our body.”
“This meditative sculpture brings a whole different perspective to Battersea Power Station, well beyond the visual language of the digital screens that surround us,” says Eleanor Pinfield, Head of Art on the Underground. “Da Cunha’s monumental kinetic frieze will become synonymous with the station, drawing people in through its ticket office with its rhythmic daily flow. “
Da Cunha’s work is the latest in a series of standing orders from Art on the Underground located across the transportation system, including that of Daniel Buren Diamonds and Circles, in situ works, at Tottenham Court Road station (2017). Details of Nine Elms Station’s new permanent artwork will be announced soon. §