Azam: Antarctica - London Underground & Tokyo Subway


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This April, we are carrying out our most ambitious takeover of advertising space yet. 
In a dual public art display in the Tokyo metro and London Underground thousands of commuters will be confronted and refreshed by a diametrically opposed scene: the frozen and desolate wastes of Antarctica and one struggling dedicated artist - a dot in the huge icy canvas - the extraordinary Nasser Azam.

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Azam relishes giving us extreme art in the most challenging of circumstances.
Previously artist in residence at London's County Hall Gallery, and creator of the critically-acclaimed 'Anatomica' exhibition; in July 2008 Azam completed two triptychs in zero gravity, done as a homage to the artist Francis Bacon.

In February 2010, accompanied by a camera crew, Azam further pushed back the boundaries of his comfort zone to draw inspiration from the frozen tundra of Antarctica where he endured extreme weather conditions to produce a series of large abstract oil paintings.

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For 2 weeks, starting 11th April, Azam will dominate the billboard space on 2 platforms 6000 miles apart in Tokyo's Shibuya station and London's Liverpool Street Station with images of his Antarctica series.

Azam commented "I wanted to expose the desolate, silent, spacious and empty environment of the South Pole in probably the most crowded, hectic, busy and noisy space in the world"

Accompanying the poster display on the Liverpool Street station platform, We will be taking over a 3 meter wide digital projection screen, piloting an international video link enabling London's travelers to view the Tokyo platform - the poster display and all the public activity going on around it.

Playing on the same video loop will be a 2 minute film made in collaboration with Bafta nominated British Film Director Ed Blum. Here we see Nasser Azam creating canvasses at the limits.  In temperatures of minus 40 degrees and buffeted by gales, he paints in different settings: on glaciers, by frozen lakes, in ice caves. Nasser says "I am confronted by a magnitude of blinding light, by wind and intense cold."  The Lonely figure paints on in these extreme settings.  Some of his canvases are lost on the Antarctic gale.  But most are here for us to see. 

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Such ordeals need preparation.  Azam prepared for this venture in the huge freezer of Billingsgate Butchers Market, devising brushes that would work in such temperatures, and acrylic paint that did not clog.

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Art Below made the policy decision to persist with this display in Tokyo despite Tsunami, Earthquake and Nuclear fallout.  Ben Moore says 'We did this in the sure conviction that Tokyo's commuters will appreciate such a diversion from their adversities. Now is not the time to withdraw our custom.'  This will be the third exhibition they have staged in the Tokyo metro.  see www.artbelow.org.uk/artists/tokyo

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Nasser Azam's 'Antarctica' film, the Tokyo underground video link, and images of Nasser's work will be viewable on www.artbelow.org.uk/artists/nasserazam