‘Continue without Accepting’ is a solo show by pioneering British artist Tim Etchells, showcasing a new body of neon works which bring to mind feelings of uncertainty and instability through a series of short texts. All created in 2023, these new works will be exhibited for the first time together in this installation.
Working between performance, sculpture, drawing, video and installation, Etchells’ work employs simple and humorous approaches to language and form to convey serious ideas reflecting on global politics, contemporary identity and urban experience. His work is often site-responsive, such as his large-scale public artwork commission in 2021 on the facade of Centre Pompidou, titled ‘Qu’y a-t-il entre nous?’. Installed just before the museum closed for renovation, the intervention serves as a cue to consider the past, present and future of the museum, and its transformational presence in dialogue with the city.
Etchells’ neon pieces often draw on his broader fascinations as an artist, writer and performance maker, exploring contradictory aspects of language – the speed and clarity with which it communicates narrative, image and ideas, and at the same time its propensity to create a rich field of associations and questions.
In this new body of work Etchells combines short neon texts which evoke ambiguous uncertainties. ‘everything up in the air’ and ‘continue without accepting’ are both suggestive of an uneasy feeling; an unknown and unstable situation, and a stubborn persistence in light of acceptance. Further to this, a perplexing narrative scenario is present alongside the works in ‘most of them are ghosts, the rest are premonitions’. The eerie sentence similarly creates unease and tension whilst engaging with the paranormal idea of ghosts being a common occurrence.
Tim Etchells (b. 1962, Stevenage, UK) lives and works between London and Sheffield. His work has been presented internationally with solo exhibitions at galleries and museums including: TATE Modern, London, UK; Kunstverein Braunschweig, DE; Bloomberg SPACE, London, UK; Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth, UK; Jakopič Gallery, Ljubljana, SI; Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow, PL; Gasworks, London, UK; and Künstlerhaus Bremen, Bremen, DE. Solo fair presentations include: Frieze Sculpture (2018 and 2022), London, UK; Performance Exchange, London, UK (2021); Dallas Art Fair, Dallas, US (2016); and Perf4m ARTISSIMA, Turin, Italy (2016). His collaboration with violinist Aisha Orazbayeva ‘Seeping Through (Decouverte)’ was performed at FIAC, Palais De Decouverte, Paris (2016).
Etchells has concurrently led the performance group Forced Entertainment, based in Sheffield 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 Gray Award well as the International Ibsen Award for his work with Forced Entertainment.
Current/forthcoming exhibitions include ‘The Weight of Words’ at Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK.
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