The Stockholm metro is filled with eye-popping modern art and bright colors, the world’s longest art gallery. Each stop presents riders with a different visual feast as if they have been transported to a new magical underworld through street art.
The metro has 100 stations you’ll find are more than 90 works of art installations, some of the cavernous interiors where left with crude bedrock exposed, others have been tiled or even embedded with Romanesque statues, all of which were created by 150 artists beginning in the 1950s.
The idea of creating art in the metro was born from a debate which many felt contemporary art needed to be more accessible to all community instead of being a culture enjoyed only in the private salons of Sweden’s elite.
“Art was very political in Sweden in the 1970s,” says Fredrik Landegren, who painted the Fruängen station about a decade ago. “If there was not a strong message behind your work, there was little chance you’d be offered a job on the subway. But I think that was the case with art throughout Europe. It changed in the 1980s when things became much more about individualism and later post-modernism.”
“Högdalen is an outdoor station with a big park on one side and a main road on the other,” another artist explains. “It’s quite windy and lonely there, apart from at rush hour. Subway stations can be rough areas at night so I wanted to put some company on the platform. I decided to make these tulips in bronze. They’re designed so it appears they’re also waiting for the next train. I hoped that would plant a little smile in the minds of the people waiting alongside them, even if just for a fleeting moment.”