A pilot exhibition in Basel in 2015 at Rheingasse 17, Basel, CH. VITRINE Basel follows the form of its original window gallery VITRINE Bermondsey Square and offers the space as a unique opportunity to present work in a public 24-hour context. Exhibiting one work by one artist; the exhibition presents Tim Etchells' neon work ‘Will Be’.
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...
As with Etchells‘ other neon pieces, ‘Will Be’ draws on the artists’ fascination with the speed, clarity and vividness with which language communicates narrative, image and ideas, and at the same time its amazing propensity to create a rich field of uncertainty and ambiguity.
Over the last 8 years, Tim Etchells has created a body of work in neon, LED and other media, often exploring contradictory aspects of language in playful and poetic ways. At the heart of Etchells’ practice is the act collecting, writing and remixing language, often linked to a process of shifting ordinary or everyday materials - scraps of conversation, sentences from news media or fiction - into compelling and vivid fragments that take on new meanings out of context.
Infiltrating galleries, street corners, shop windows, rooftops and other locations with the sign works he has made in neon and LED, Etchells spells out simple-but-intriguing phrases, messages and instructions. Often appearing to address the viewer directly through these works, the artist creates moments of thoughtfulness and playful encounter, often in a public setting; the work is public but private at the same time, trying to draw each person that encounters it into a space of intimate reflection. Each of Etchells’ neon works, in its own way, is porous to the situation in which it is installed, creating new layers of meaning through its dialogue with the environment in which it is placed.
Curator Alys Williams (in collaboration with Mirjam Baitsch)
In partnership with Grenzwert Bar, Basel, CH.
Daily 24 hours and by appointment during Art Basel 15 - 21 June. VITRINE Basel, Rheingasse 17, 4058 Basel, Switzerland.