Tunnel/Map/Draw

An artwork created by Joy Gerrard with students from City of London School

Tunnel/Map/Draw

is an artwork created by Joy Gerrard with students from City of London School, and commissioned by Tideway, 2016

About the art work:

Working with 24 Year-3 pupils from the nearby boys’ school, Gerrard has produced a dynamic artwork that responds to the great expanse of water that moves through our city and the extraordinary engineering feat of the Thames Tideway Tunnel that is being created beneath the surface. The artwork was installed beneath Blackfriars Bridge from November 2016 to February 2017.

Gerrard and the children considered the River from distinct but related perspectives – mapping and engineering. Drawing inspiration from the bold visual language of artist Kazimir Malevich and the Russian constructivists, the team created ‘mental’ maps based on their walking routes around the River. Generating a graphic representation of the multiple levels of layering and planning that go beneath, through and around the Thames. Punctuating the map are photographs that capture the hands-on experience of the students who visually investigated the engineering concepts of how to control liquid.

Their combined efforts offer a visualisation that reveals the hidden and complex systems of transformative engineering projects in an urban setting.

Visitors to the artwork commented that the hoarding made them think of ‘the river as the heart of industry, and that fact that it has always been at the centre of the economy, historically.’ … ‘Christmas presents, stars and planets and road maps.’ And that it was ‘bright, cheerful and uplifting’.

The artwork