Cerith Wyn Evans

Neon Forms… descending a staircase

Cerith Wyn Evans

Neon Forms…descending a staircase


White Neon

Cerith Wyn Evan’s artistic practice focuses on how ideas can be communicated through form. His conceptual work incorporates a diverse range of media including installation, sculpture, photography, film and text.

Wyn Evans began his career as a filmmaker producing short, experimental films and collaborative works but since the 1990s has created artworks that focus on language and perception, with a precise clarity towards their manifestation in space. He employs strategies of exhibition making that are often site-specific, viewing exhibitions as a catalyst to produce a reservoir of possible meanings and discursive experiences.

Neon Forms…descending a staircase consists of a complex composition of white neon, suspended from the ceiling by cables, which arcs, extends, folds and disappears into space through a combination of delicate single lines and dense, chaotic clusters. With multiple layers and points of entry, it resists closed form, creating a suspended ‘figure’ that appears from some angles as if drawn from a single broken line, while from others, as if extruding and collaging space itself and making the viewer’s experience of it elastic. Occupying the space above a redundant staircase, from its initial suspension in the ceiling to, at its lowest point, almost touching the bannister and stairs, its meeting of forms and intersecting curves suggests a nucleus of energy barely contained.

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The complex form of the work suggests the folds and flow of energy, via material and immaterial conduits, circuitry and choreology, the practice of translating movement into notational form. Incorporating the movements from a painting by Marcel Duchamp Nude Descending a Staircase playing on the location of suspended sculpture, as well as elements from earlier sculptures that translated diagrammatic flight paths into neon, it traces a trajectory of alignments, gestures, folds, orientations and footsteps, transposing spatio/temporal energy into material charge and visual form.

In his work, Wyn Evans creates moments of rupture within existing structures of communication, whether visual or audio, using the ‘strategies of refraction, juxtaposition, superimposition and contradiction, occluding and revealing’. Seeing the exhibition as an ‘experiment’ with fluid recourse to scores, maps, instructions and diagrams, and responding specifically to the architecture of the gallery, Wyn Evans aims to question the viewer’s notion of reality and cognition, perception and subjectivity.