The autumn installation on London Cannon Street station is Glimmers of Hope on Cannon Street by Maria Alvarez Echenique’s, created in memory of those who were injured or killed in London trying to keep the capital’s railways moving. An artist talk will take place at 6.45pm on Thursday, 18th December 2014 at the station [tell us you are coming here].
Image Copyright: Eva Bachmann
During both World Wars, London was regularly bombed, initially by Zeppelins during the First World War (1914-18) and then by the Luftwaffe and V-Rockets in the Second World War (1939-1945).
Throughout these attacks thousands worked on the railways as drivers, guards, porters, cleaners, engineers, signalmen, managers and security to keep the trains running. Transport was particularly vulnerable to attack making this work exceptionally dangerous, and sometimes fatal.
There appears to be no records of the men and women who were injured and killed while keeping London moving; while most people sheltered below ground these workers took perilous risks above ground, yet no one appears to remember.
Maria Alvarez Echenique’s installation in collaboration with Platform-7, and on display at London Cannon Street station throughout November 2014, has been made in memory of all those who were injured or killed in London trying to keep the capital running.
Maria’s ceramic figures have no visible limbs, but all have more or less complete faces with enigmatic expressions. All the figures have graceful, sinuous, undulating bodies, as if they are strange new shoots rising up from the damaged earth. Something in the movement of their swaying growth seems both organic and optimistic. The darkness of the devastation of war is clearly there, but somehow counter-balanced and even defied by these qualities of movement and light in the ceramic figure.
Since 2007 Alvarez Echenique’s art has aimed to spark some thought on man’s place in the natural world, not through polemics or overtly ‘political’ work, but through the languages of art, sculpture and ceramics, through the creation of striking juxtapositions, strange metamorphoses and multi-layered surreal images.
It is hoped that this work will allow for reflection, and hopefully someone will begin to find out more about the sacrifice people working on the railways in London made.
The work can be seen at the beginning of platform seven beyond the barriers at London Cannon Street mainline station until 23rd December 2014