A mural to age with times and the trains

Train-riders' dreary view of decaying buildings along SEPTA train tracks from 30th Street to North Philadelphia station will change radically with the addition of new, psychedelic visuals.

A SEPTA train passes in front of "psychylustro", a giant mural created by artist Katharina Grosse as part of the Mural Arts Railway Public Arts project. Credit: Charles Mostoller A SEPTA train passes in front of "psychylustro", a giant mural created by artist Katharina Grosse as part of the Mural Arts Railway Public Arts project. Credit: Charles Mostoller

 

Train-riders' dreary view of decaying buildings along SEPTA train tracks from 30th Street to North Philadelphia station will change radically with the addition of new, psychedelic visuals.

 

The final drops will be placed Friday on psychylustro, the groundbreaking train corridor mural project by Berlin-based artist Katharina Grosse.

 

"She's not a traditional muralist," said Curator Liz Thomas. "We were very interested in something that would be just one of the many layers of color in that area."

 

Grosse calls herself a non-representational, non-narrative artist who has experimented with bringing rocks and plants into her studio. The title "psychylustro" combines the word "psych," which means mental, with "lustro," which means reflection of light.

Her project calls for paintings along sides of buildings bordering the train tracks, which range from bright, neon-colored organic shapes to vegetative imagery.

Unlike most murals, "psychylustro" isn't on a flat surface, and it isn't meant to last.

Grosse intentionally used "indoor paints" that will gradually fade with changes in time and weather.

"We will be able to see evidence of the passage of time more clearly as decay and development occur," Thomas said.

 
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