Peter Liversidge, Neon, 19 parts Edition of 3 Courtesy of Ingleby Gallery
We’ve been pottering around for a few days now, which is sufficient enough time for trends to have not only been spotted, but become crystalised.
Mythology and storytelling seemed to pop up a lot – we spent ages at Gio Marconi where there was a buffet of beastly goings on in the form of Nathalie Djurberg’s sculptures. A central orgy of moist-looking hippos is surrounded by other savage, grotesque and contorted creatures – foaming fangs bared, in what was essentially all the elements of classic fairytale twisted into a worst nightmare.
Nearby, Paweł Althamer’s alabaster goat sits pensively – parts of the sculpture built up in ceramic and ‘fur’ and other parts stripped of clothing, skin and muscles. Gimhangsok’s A Fire – a solid bubble of shimmering red aloft wooden makeshift kindling was reminiscent of woodmen, wolves and forests far from home.
Even the staff were trending. Behind the central information desk stood not one, not two, but three identikit pale, interesting brunettes with matching thick-rimmed statement eyewear. It was unclear as to whether they were employed as Library-chic fembots or if they’d turned up to their shift and realized they were all in fact separated a birth – not sure which is weirder.
However, the standout trend for us is the neon. Neon. Is. Everywhere. EVERYWHERE. We don’t care if it’s considered passé. Maybe line is just better when it’s writ large in tangy-coloured glass.
There was the comfort of neon-Godmother Tracey Emin’s pieces – You Made Me Love You and And I Said I Love You! – sort of back to back but parallel at Lehmann Maupin.
Some were lighthearted, camp or comic – we’re looking at you, evident Beyonce fan Karl Holmqvist for your cheeky homage to her as well as Hairy Beaver; Glory Road (Estate of Jason Rhoades) which was getting a lot of look-point-smirk action.
Claire Fontaine’s work was political – while Korean artist Jung Lee’s was so achingly romantic, even the tangle of confusion which was the central piece of the One and J. Gallery
Other neons were merely abstract, like Ivan Navarro’s Plunder or didn’t have a clear message but that made them no less beautiful or appealing.
We spoke to a very nice chap called Claus from Gallerai Nicolai Wallner, who talked us through Jonathan Monk’s neons.
“Each neon is a different price,” he said. “They are priced according to the used car they represent.”
So the price you pay depends on the colour you pick and relates to an object that you cannot see?
It’s another example of financial irony or trickery or whatever you might call it, that, is emerging as another of this year’s trends.
Whatever it’s there for, we can’t get enough and to prove it, we got pictures of every piece we could find to light you up, baby.
Words: Martha Alexander