The Great Bear

Patterson, Simon
Simon Patterson's The Great Bear, 1992, at first glance, could be mistaken for London’s iconic underground tube map. The map is an exact replica of Henry (Harry) C. Beck’s (1903-74) 1931 map in type, layout and even the steel frame as used in stations. Patterson, however, has authentically reproduced the map of the underground system replacing the names of the stations with those of well known people including engineers, philosophers, explorers, planets, journalists, footballers, musicians, film actors, saints, Italian artists, Chinese scholars, comedians and French kings. As well as changing the names of stops, Patterson has wittily given the work the title The Great Bear, which references the constellation Ursa Major. The tube stops become the 'stars' in the galaxy of fame. Patterson comments that "the underground map moved on from being an underground map … as a fixed logical thing, to a meaning that, like music, is in the mind. I started with a map that is to some extent an abstraction of the urban landscape … the tube stops … can be seen as stars in a constellation, where you imagine the lines to connect the dots."
  • Artwork Details: 109.2 x 134.5cm
  • Edition: 25/50
  • Material description: colour lithograph on paper in anodized aluminium frame
  • Credit line: © the artist
  • Theme: Cityscape
  • Medium: Print
  • Accession number: ACC10/1993



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