Never Sleep (small)

Neon Sign

Install dimensions approximately:
65cm H x 100cm L

Images: © Tim Etchells

A smaller sized version of Never Sleep, this work takes the form of an impossible imperative or instruction, placed command-like in public or gallery space. Contradictory energies and implications are summoned by the work, which brings to mind the always-on, 24 hour a day work and social economy of contemporary capitalism, at the same time imploring the viewer to a state of constant alertness and vigilance. As with much of Etchells’ work Never Sleep is porous to context, shifting its apparent meaning and emphasis in dialogue with install locations.

About Tim Etchells’ neon and LED works
Etchells’ neon and LED pieces often draw on his broader fascinations as an artist, writer and performance maker, exploring contradictory aspects of language – the speed, clarity and vividness with which it communicates narrative, image and ideas, and at the same time its amazing propensity to create a rich field of uncertainty and ambiguity.

Through simple phrases spelt out in neon, LED and other media, Etchells strives to create miniature narratives, moments of confusion, awkwardness, reflection and intimacy in public and gallery settings. Encountering the neon sign works, in the streets of a city or in the space of a white cube gallery, the viewer becomes implicated in a situation that’s not fully revealed, or a linguistic formulation that generates confusion or ambiguity. As often in Etchells’ work, in the neons the missing parts of the picture are as important as the elements that are present. Invoking a story, or projecting an idea out-of-context, the work invites us in, but into what exactly we can’t be sure.

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