Abeona, inspired by the architecture of travel, was commissioned by JCDecaux for its London HQ in 2022. The commission is informed by the history and heritage of Paddington station nearby, and aims to bring to life the complex infrastructure of rail travel and the pathways or ‘tracks’ that connect us in our work, communities and relationships. The work references not only the scale and history of Paddington station but also draws attention to the physical human connection which transport hubs such as this facilitate.
The form of the sculpture is lifted directly from the artist’s line drawing of Paddington railway tracks receding to a vanishing point and it is the sketched, wavering pen on paper that gives the sculpture its organic quality. The fluid nature of the line gives a personal and human feel to the industrial imagery and the sculpture peels away from the wall like a page from a sketchbook.
Abeona is named after the Roman goddess of outbound travel who protects travellers particularly children, and ensures a safe passage. The sculpture plays with perspective, appearing to extend beyond the frame of the building and into the sky, giving a sense of taking off. The title Abeona evokes the beginning of epic journeys and reminds us of the thrill of a child’s first steps.
Abeona’s kinetic lighting is inspired by the movement of trains shunting slowly into a station and casts shifting shadows across the sculpture. This gently fluctuating shadow play also suggests the careful movement of a pen across paper, reflecting the notion of the artwork as a three-dimensional drawing.