Painting TT2


Since November 2009 Robert Soden has been making paintings of the tunneling and engineering work involved in the construction of the Tyne Tunnel 2 (TT2) river crossing.

The paintings are an important record of the unseen aspects of a major civil engineering event - they are also full of the excitement and trepidation that Soden felt every time he went on site and climbed down many layers of scaffolding to the excavations.  As he says,” I understood how Frank Auerbach felt when making the paintings of building sites during post-war reconstruction in London. It was a sublime experience, a mixture of awe and fear, I could never forget that a great mass of water lay just behind the transition wall”.

The paintings were made directly in front of the subjects that they depict - this was made possible when Bouyges and TT2 granted Soden site access. The paintings show all the major stages of the work, which motorists stuck in rush-hour traffic never saw, including the removal of the transition wall from the north sector and views of tunneling activities in shafts 1, 2 and 3. 

The Tyne Tunnel paintings can be seen in Tunnel Vision at Bede’s World, Jarrow,
14 May – 11 June  2011 and at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery as part of the Tyne Crossings exhibition, 22.10.2011 – 28.1.2012

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