Tube’s fictional love affair crosses time from Olympics to Nazi Germany

A fictional love affair on the Central line between modern Olympics founder Pierre de Coubertin and German political theorist Hannah Arendt is the theme of paintings and a short film unveiled in east London this week.

Artists Bob and Roberta Smith have created paintings now on display at Stratford Underground, while director Tim Newton’s film version was premiered on Tuesday at the Stratford Picture House.

Bob explained: “We explore why public space like the Underground and celebrations like the Olympics are romantic and important to democratic life.”

His protagonists could never have met, yet share similar ideals. Coubertin originated the idea that the Olympics could promote peace between nations. Arendt grew up as a Jew in Nazi Germany and was all too aware of freedom.

It is set against the 1940s’ Art Deco architecture of Loughton Underground station and the Stratford Fat Walk, part of the Central line’s series on the impact of interaction on the Tube for the four million daily passengers and the staff.

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