Art is a new departure for railway station

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The Independent Online
A MAN with mournful eyes sat reading a paperback. A teenager glanced at his watch and lit another cigarette. As the ticking of the station clock grew ever louder and more insistent, an ethereal figure in a flamboyant pink gown glided past.

Something was amiss on platform one at Sheffield railway station, and it wasn't just the delayed departure of the 15.07 Trans-Pennine Express.

In a striking example of artists taking art to the people, the station has been turned into a vast exhibition space. For the next month it is playing host to a set of audio-visual installations that evoke the mystery and romance of 19th-century rail travel.

The exhibition, called Shunted, was organised by Carol Maund, director of Sheffield's contemporary Site Gallery. Inspired by the station's faded Victorian splendour, Ms Maund commissioned artists to create work to match the setting. The result is a collection of installations on the themes of time, space and destiny, which provide a little mental stimulation - or bemusement, as the case may be - for passengers waiting to board their trains.

The aim of the exhibition, Ms Maund said, was to reach a different audience. Some 10,000 people pass through the station each day. "Galleries can be intimidating places," she said.