For We Wanted, Etchells takes a phrase from Cat Power’s song Colors And The Kids on the album Moon Pix as the basis for a 15 metre long, 1 metre tall 3D sign made from stainless steel and programmable LEDs.
“I’ve always loved the song, and if I’m listening to it it’s this small part of a line, when she gets there, that always has the strongest possibility to make me cry.”
Removed from its place, rendered as solid letters and shifting light and set in a dialogue with an outdoor location, the phrase seems to become something else entirely – a fragment that floats freely and which can attach to each place and each reader in different ways.
Commissioned by UP Projects in partnership with Shangri-La Glastonbury.
First presented at Glastonbury Festival (Shangri-La), Shambala and Thames Festival 2011.
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.