The work comprises a sequence of stills showing a set of letters made from ice, arranged on a concrete floor to spell out the phrase ‘Live Forever’. Through the sequence – manifested as a series of 10 aluminium mounted prints (also shown as a slow motion digital video) – the letters melt slowly, getting smaller and losing their definition, as the ice gradually transforms to become a pool of water.
The work plays with the tension between the meaning of the text and its ephemeral materiality; the content announcing the bold imperative of an instruction or demand for immortality, whilst at the same time, the form enacts an entropic descent from the organised solid and legible ice letters to the fluid, unreadable and dispersed pool of water, which marks an irregular shape the floor. Like Etchells’ performative sculpture Red Sky at Night (2010), Forever in its ‘Stop Frame’ and ‘Sequence’ versions, plays with language in a state of repetitive decay, the utterance of the text constantly belied by the physical processes it must pass through before our eyes.
Like much of Etchells’ work with language, Forever stages the dynamic tension between form and meaning as both comedy and tragedy; here celebrating and at the same time mourning its enactment of a grand ambition or assertion which repeatedly comes to almost nothing, a puddle on the floor.