The text spelt out in Please Come Back, throws the viewer/reader into an implied narrative of past conflict and sudden departure from some place, the details of which can’t be properly fleshed out from the ten words of information supplied.
A further tension exists between the personal topic and supposed urgency of the text on the one hand, and the overly elaborate or inappropriate means of its display. A message most easily imagined or understood as part of a private communication here becomes a public plea, producing a host of confusions to its status and significance.
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.