* You can see Will Be as part of For Now, Tim Etchells’ solo exhibition at Plymouth Arts Centre, September 25 2015 – January 3 2016. *
Playing with the performative aspects of language and the dynamic relation between form and content, the phrase ‘the future will be confusing’ is spelled out in different coloured neon letters. Presented in a disorientating rhythm of colours, the words make an uneasy promise about the nature of the future before us.
In this two part neon work the components are typically installed facing each other, on opposite walls of a long gallery. The first part of the piece features the phrase ‘the future will be confusing’ in letters of various different colours, whilst the second part, on the opposite wall, features exactly these same letters, only in this instance dispersed over the whole wall and arranged ‘nonsensically’ such that the already confusing colour mis-match of the first sign becomes, in the future, at the other end of the space, a kind of unreadable explosion of the letters.
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.