It is estimated that around 900,000 people travel underground everyday in the large Stockholm metropolitan area. The underground metro network (so-called “tunnelbana”) encompasses 7 lines, 100 stations that span 105.7 km is length: it must require a complicate mathematical model to solve the flow of passengers, the arrival and departure of trains……however, there is one thing that we know for sure: art is the ubiquitous underground language.
Do you know that:
In terms of length, Stockholm’s metro is the longest art gallery in the world
>90 of its 100 stations are covered by certain forms of artworks
The art project was initiated in 1957, some of it is still undergoing today
Let’s start with the all-time favourites:
The exposed bedrock is the most enchanting feature of Stockholm’s metro. Here, it is both the carrier and the raw material of art.
#1 Solna Centrum
If Dante is looking for the entrance to the inferno, he shall take the escalator at Solna Central.
Painted in 1973, the original motive why the artists, Ennol Hallek and Åke Pallarp depicted a rainbow on the sky-blue background in Station station is not clear now. Despite of that, it will continuously be the inspiration of art, and the unhindered love.
The sedating colors of blue and white is the theme of blue lines at T-centralen. Perhaps that is the reason that it feels so “cool”?
ART THAT HAS A NAME
Art not only resumes a shape; it also has a name. Let me give you some examples of artworks that arise from the name of the metro station:
#4 Midsommarkransen (English: the mid-summer crown)
Speak it loudly with me: “Midsummerkransen without midsummerkransen is not midsummerkransen.”
#5 Björkshagen (Björk = birch tree)
The birch trees must be indispensable to a metro station.
#6 Skogskyrkogården (English: forrest cemetery)
Photo: source is unclear
Sitting in a forrest on a wooden chair, the trains and time come forth and go.
Stockholm’s metro is a place that you must explore at least once by yourself. Here, let me give you three take-home questions pertaining to three of my my favourite stations:
#7 Stockholms Odenplan
David Svensson’s work “Life Line” shall resemble heartbeat on electrocardiogram. What kind of heartbeat it is, do you think?
#8 Tekniska Högskolan (KTH)
It is said that four Plato’s elements plus ether are hidden at the metro station KTH. Can you find them?
The university is a reservoir of wisdom, so is the university metro station. Walking on the platform of Universitetet, you are flipping through pages of textbooks in geography/anatomy/astronomy etc. Below is a famous motto from Socrates:
Try to find out another scientist that you know!
- While writing this blog, I obtained a lot of useful and in-depth information regarding the metro art in Stockholm from this book: En guide till konsten i tunnelbanan och i den övriga SL-trafiken from Maria Andersson and Hans Ekestang
- I tried my best to cite the sources of all photos in the blog. If there is any infringement of copy right, the owner(s) of the those photos are welcomed to contact me.
- A reader recommends me a website for an interactive view of art in various metro lines: expedia.se/vc/c/konstsparet/en. Try to click and slide between nodes and see what happens 😉