T.L. comprises two identical machine-cut plywood sheets, displayed adjacent to each other, in reversed orientation. Cut into the centre of each sheet, appearing as negative space, are two similar though by no means identical phrases – TRUMP LIES and TROMPE L’OEIL. The two phrases appear one above the other, and again in different orientations so that, at first glance, one might appear to be the mirror of the other. Recalling Etchells earlier work Mirror Pieces, playing on the subject of lies and misleading appearances, invoking both visual and political deception, the work doubles the already doubled text so that each phrase is presented both as primary and ‘reflected’ version.
About Tim Etchells’ text works
Etchells’ text 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 works 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, 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.