The Buck stopped here

The Buck stopped here is a weekly blog by our contemporary art correspondent Louisa Buck covering the hottest events and must-see exhibitions in London and beyond

Mark Titchner's 'carnivalesque' posters deliver optimistic rallying cry to locked down London

Mark Titchner's posters are now displayed around London Bridge Station © Mark Titchner

At the beginning of lockdown Mark Titchner cheered our spirits with his giant vivid posters that appeared on billboards across ten UK cities and entreated us to "please believe these days will pass". Now he’s back again, with a set of four new positive-message posters which are displayed around London Bridge train station and on public sites across the capital.

Declaring that "hope reveals the world" and "the future will be built from today", the overall tone is an optimistic rallying cry, even if the current circumstances are not quite what Titchner intended when he devised this latest body of work back in the summer. “The idea was that they were to welcome everybody back to London Bridge and celebrate being back on the streets when everything all opened up again,” he says. “But obviously with the second lockdown that never really happened.”

Now with the UK back behind closed doors, Titchner sees his latest posters as “carnivalesque” and a positive presence as London heads into the grey winter months. "Aesthetically they are very highly coloured, bright and jubilant and I want them to break up the rhythm of the grey brick and concrete of the city,” he says.

Although still vivid and striking, the four new works are different in appearance to his previous text pieces, with the words emerging out of a densely layered background of abstracted forms that resembling fragments of letters. Titchner views them as less soothing and more celebratory than his earlier series. He compares them to “tickertape or firework explosions” and hopes that “when people see them over a protracted period of time they will notice a bit more every time they walk past.” And who knows, if we get a Covid vaccine in the next few weeks, then there may still be something to celebrate .