Art is all around us, whether in a piece of graffiti on the inner tunnel of a bridge or on a spotlight-hit wall at the MoMa. However, this is truest perhaps in Stockholm, whose entire Metro system is in essence, one huge underground art gallery. Out of 110 stations, just over 90 feature art created by some 150 artists. And the best bit? For little more than the price of a Stockholm Metro ticket, you can see everything from sculptures to mosaics, paintings to installations, messages from the 1950s right through to the 2000s. Stockholm Syndrome – take that.
Beginning at T-centralen station, you will find 1950s tiling and reliefs on the walls, while at the Arsenalsgatan (blue line), you’ll see an archaeological installation of a dig complete with ancient columns. Solna Centrum station (blue line) is one of our favourites, morbid may it be. With a cavernous, blood red ceiling, from which the escalators break through, it appears more like a staircase to hell than a welcoming entrance to the Metro. In other words, we like.
Construction of the underground began in 1941, with the most recent addition completed in 1994. As many of the yawning hollow interiors where left with unfinished bedrock exposed, others were tiled or even embellished with Romanesque statues. In the 1950s, artists Vera Nilsson and Siri Derkert were behind the campaign to produce art in the Metro and in 1955, two motions on art in the Metro were submitted to Stockholm City Council in quick succession, the first by the Left Party, the second by the Social Democratic Party. And so work began.