Tim Etchells’ first solo exhibition in Switzerland and the second with the gallery brings together a new neon installation with a new multi-channel sound installation. Etchells’ practice is concerned with tropes of performativity, liveness and presence.
In a series of new works for this exhibition, Etchells pursues ideas of ‘speaking out’, testing fragments of language as sculptural and sound intervention in the unique public context of VITRINE, Basel.
Across the breadth of his practice, animating LCD monitors, computer screens, stages, the space of printed pages, galleries, found sites, streets, and private spaces, Etchells explores binaries of exposure and concealment, construction and deconstruction, appearance and disappearance. Etchells’ interventions in these diverse zones explore the relationship between the viewer and work in a context where systems in language and culture are interrogated for their productive or constraining effects.
A new neon work ‘SEEING THROUGH WALLS’ dominates the gallery space. Installed as a large floating sculptural work, the full text for which reads THE SUPERPOWER OF SEEING THROUGH WALLS, at once speaks out to the surrounding public space and addresses the architecture in which it is encased. Its presence is so dominant that it physically obstructs the entrance to the gallery, obliging the viewer to dunk under in order to pass inside the space, and creating a further contradiction to the statement it presents.
For his multichannel sound installation presented on the exterior of the building, ’Open Mind’, Etchells works and reworks the phrase ‘we do what we can’. In a series of linked textual variations and versions – what can we do? do we do what we can? – he develops a unravelling, contradictory monologue in which the gallery itself appears to be thinking through these existential and political questions. The work further explores an aspect of his practice started with his recent installations ‘TOGETHER APART’, currently exhibited at Kunstverein Braunschweig, Germany and ’STAND OFF’ as seen in his solo-show at Plymouth Arts Centre, UK in 2015.
Etchells uses VITRINE’s unique architecture in the round and 24-hour visibility on the public square to position these new site-responsive works on the boundary between gallery and public space. The exhibition and works reveal the significance of the adjoining environments on the artists’ practice and his explorations in language.
‘Open Mind’ is supported by Feonic Technology LTD.
Tim Etchells (b.1962 Sheffield, UK) is currently Professor of Performance and Writing at Lancaster University. He has led the performance group Forced Entertainment, since its inception in 1984. Forced Entertainment are widely considered to be one of the greatest British theatrical exports of the past 30 years, credited with producing some of the most innovative and challenging theatre of the era to great acclaim throughout the world. In 2016, Etchells was awarded the Spalding Grey Award and the International Ibsen Award for his work with Forced Entertainment.
Solo exhibitions include: ‘The Give & Take’, Tate Exchange, TATE Modern, London (2016); ‘More Noise’, Bloomberg SPACE (2016); ‘For Now’, Plymouth Arts Centre, UK (2015); ‘The Facts On The Ground’, VITRINE, London, UK (2015); ‘Live Forever’, Jenkins Johnson Gallery, New York, USA (2014); ‘What is, and What is Possible’, Jakopič Gallery, Ljubljana, SI, (2013); ‘Neon Friday’, Battersea Arts Centre (BAC), London, UK (2012); ‘From Afar’, Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow, PL, (2011); ‘Tim Etchells’, Gasworks, London, UK, (2010); and ‘Fog Game’, Künstlerhaus Bremen, Bramen, DE, (2010). Etchells poster project ‘And For The Rest’ has been created and presented in: Brussels (2014), Basel (2015) and Athens (2016); and he created a new series of posters ‘Vacuum Days (Utrecht)’ presented across the city (May 2016). Group exhibitions include: ’Neon: The Charged Line’, The Grundy, Blackpool, UK (2016); ‘PROCESS, PERFORMANCE, PRESENCE’, Kunstverein Braunschweig, Germany (2016); ‘Risk’, Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (2015); ‘Periodic Tales: The Art of the Elements’ at Compton Verney, Warwickshire, UK (2015); ‘The Alternative Document’, Project Space Plus, University of Lincoln, UK (2015); ‘The Cipher and the Frame’, Cubitt Gallery, London, UK (2015); ‘Mirror City’, Hayward Gallery, London, UK (2014); ‘Version Control’, Arnolfini, Bristol, UK (2013); ‘Acts of Voicing’, Württembergischer, Kunstverein Stuttgart, DE, (2012); and ‘Family Matters: The Family in British Art’, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Norwich, UK, (2011). Alongside this, Etchells work was involved in the Folkestone Triennial, Folkestone, UK, (2014) and has also appeared in numerous biennales including Gotenburg International Biennale, Sweden, (2011) and Manifesta 7, Rovereto, Italy, (2008).
Tim Etchells presented a solo booth with VITRINE at Dallas Art Fair (2016) and in Perf4m at ARTISSIMA Turin, Italy ( November 2016). His collaboration with violinist Aisha Orazbayeva ‘Seeping Through (Decouverte)’ was performed at FIAC, Palais De Decouverte, Paris (2016). He did a set with violinist Aisha Orazbayeva for BBC Radio 3’s ‘Open Ear’ concert at St John at Hackney Church, London (March 2017). His video installation ’Eyes Looking’ took over Times Square, New York, throughout October, commissioned as part of Times Square Arts Alliance ‘Midnight Moments’ series.
Tim Etchells has current solo exhibitions at Millenium Galleries, Sheffield, UK (in collaboration with Vlatka Horvat), at Kunstverein Braunschweig, Germany, and at VITRINE, Basel.