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19th April 2001

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The Great Bear

If you were given the instructions to get on at Michael Caine and alight at Saturn many would no doubt question the sense of the directions given. They are all however stops along The Great Bear, the wonderfully subversive copy of the London Underground map which is up for auction this week.

London Underground
Instantly recognisable and used by millions of underground travellers, Harry Beck’s simplified diagram of the labyrinth of underground lines beneath the City of London has become one of city’s most significant symbols and is now widely acknowledged as a 20th- century design classic.

Simon Patterson
In 1992 conceptualist artist Simon Patterson created his own parody of the familiar icon, with the lithograph entitled the Great Bear. Patterson re-titled the map after a constellation and gave the stations names of a whole host of philosophers, saints, footballers, explorers, politicians, journalists, Italian artists, film actors and planets.


Twisted Logic
Patterson’s anarchic take on the map carries it’s own kind of twisted logic with actors positioned along the Northern line and philosophers on the Circle line. Observers can take their own imaginary journey between stops and only wonder at their connections. One of 50 copies produced, it's expected to fetch between £10,000 and £15,000.


The Great Bear fetched £14,950.


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