Underground Art: 11 Subterranean Galleries & Installations Delve Deep

Borderlife: Secret Rooms in Manholes by Biancoshock

“If some problems cannot be avoided, make them comfortable,” says street artist Biancoshock of his installation ‘Borderlife,’ which inserts tiny rooms into manholes to call attention to people who are forced to live in extreme conditions. The artist takes inspiration from an example in Bucharest, where more than 600 people live underground, in the sewers.

The World’s Only Light Art Museum

In another underground first, the world’s only light art museum can be found within the storage cellars of the former Linden brewery in the German city of Unna. The Centre for International Light Art was established in 2001 and contains 11 site-specific installations within 8,200 square feet, including Olafur Eliasson’s The Reflective Corridor.

Physics-Inspired Installation in a Victorian Ice Well Under London

Set within a Victorian ice well beneath the London Canal Museum, a subterranean art installation called ‘Covariance’ is the first in a program of artists-in-residence commissioned by the Institute of Physics. ‘Covariance’ by physicist Ben Still and artist Lyndall Phelps consists of brass rods, 28,000 glass beads, hundreds of acrylic discs and 36,000 dismantles suspended in a 30-foot-diameter circular brick space, and it’s inspired by the Super-Kamiokande particle detector as well as the way the data from the detector is read by physicists.

Hand-Carved Sandstone Cave in New Mexico

Somewhere in the New Mexico desert, artist Ra Pualette spent over ten years carving a sandstone cave that he found, moving from one cavern to the other and giving each one a distinct motif, as documented in the film ‘Cavedigger.’ The caves are illuminated by light tunnels in the ceiling and will become a venue for arts events and ‘personal discovery,’ as the artist believes caves are the ideal location to delve into one’s own psyche. Visitors can now book tours of the attraction, which is located near Ojo Client.

Underground City by EVOL

Walking through trenches dug into a grassy field by the artist EVOL, visitors to ‘Underground City’ feel a bit like giants invading the narrow streets of a subterranean settlement. The installation was designed for the MS Dockville arts and music festival. Says the artist of the setting, “As I came first, that’s what I found: endless meadow, trees and blue sky. Not exactly what I play with usually. So I decided to cut open the idyll, and pretend there is no endless meadow, but only rooftop-gardens of the disgust underneath.”

Abandoned Bunker Painted by Herbert Baglione

Herbert Baglione’s haunting shadow art series began in the subterranean chambers of an abandoned psychiatric hospital and expanded across Europe. “The ‘reading’ of these places allows me to take the shadow to a unique path, which usually feeds and broadens the discussion because it brings light to the abandoned environment, and so I put the name of this series as ‘The path that the soul takes’… it’s as if the soul is leaving an invisible trail on these places.”