Tim Etchells / Artist

Above Image – Wait Here, 2008. Image Source.


Sheffield/London based Artist Tim Etchells (born 1962), works in a large variety of contexts and mediums, but his text based works have inspired me the most.

In terms of context, Etchells’ work is close to mine, specifically the piece below; ‘Forever’, 2011, it deals with mortality and the hope of not dying. This piece is a video of letter shaped ice cubes spelling ‘live forever’, melting into a puddle. Although it has a humour aspect in the irony of it, I thinks it’s quite powerful in how true it is. It’s a false statement to say you will live forever and that it proven right when the words melt away, even though I know its a false statement, its hard hitting to see it in this way.

“Forever stages the dynamic tension between form and meaning as both comedy and tragedy; here celebrating and at the same time mourning its enactment of a grand ambition or assertion which repeatedly comes to almost nothing, a puddle on the floor.”


This type of false statement is also reflected in his neon works. With the ‘you will live forever’ piece, the use of neon glorifies the statement, its glowing and attractive; it resemble an informative neon sign, and it looks trustworthy which is a great quality of neon – knowing it’s history of being used to inform people; for example ‘open’, then to see a statement like that is really interesting. ‘Fade to black’ offers a strange contardiction in how the sign is bright white and surrounded in darkness, yet it instructs us to fade to black. Tim Etchells describes the piece as ‘Denying its own content the work remains illuminated, commanding a fade-out that it fails or refuses to perform’, its a really great use of a colour for the context.

It’s really useful to see how other artist’s handle the context you are working in, and analysing how they have presented and handles the subject; which Tim Etchells has done for me.


Tim Etchells – http://timetchells.com/



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