Tim Etchells spoke at Sotheby's Institute of Art's Contemporary Art Lectures in London on November 22, 2017.
Tim Etchells is an artist and a writer based in the UK whose work shifts between performance, visual art and fiction. He has worked in a wide variety of contexts, notably as the leader of the world-renowned Sheffield-based performance group Forced Entertainment. Recent publications include Vacuum Days (Storythings, 2012) and While You Are With Us Here Tonight (LADA, 2013). Etchells’ work has been shown recently at Tate Modern, Cubitt, Hayward Gallery and Bloomberg SPACE in London, at Turner Contemporary, The Grundy and Compton Verney in the UK, at Witte de With, Rotterdam, MUHKA (Antwerp), Kunstervein Braunschweig and Kunsthalle Mainz.
Currently Professor of Performance & Writing at Lancaster University, he was a Tate / Live Art Development Agency 'Legacy: Thinker In Residence' Award winner in 2008, Artist of the City of Lisbon in 2014 and awarded the prestigious Spalding Gray Award in February 2016. Forced Entertainment were awarded the International Ibsen Award 2016 for their groundbreaking contribution to the field of contemporary theatre and performance.
"Across the range of my work I use strong, simple, sometimes comical means to get to serious ideas. My practise shifts from performance to visual art and fiction and concerns itself with questions of contemporary identity and urban experience, our relation to fiction and the media, as well as with the limits of representation, especially in respect of language. Working across different media and contexts opens up new possibilities and allows me to approach the ideas that interest me by different routes, shifting my perspective on the themes and experiences I want to investigate.
"In the last 6 years I have created a body of work in neon and LED exploring contradictory aspects of language in playful and poetic ways. I’m drawn both to the speed, clarity and vividness with which language communicates narrative, image and ideas, and at the same time to its amazing propensity to create a rich field of uncertainty and ambiguity. Appearing to address the viewer directly through these works in galleries, street corners, shop windows, rooftops and other locations, I’m interested to create moments of thoughtfulness and playful encounter 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."