was becoming a bit closeted and stuffy. Neon is a very public medium, very immediate; there aren’t all the formal constrictions of a canvas, the neon image just supports itself.’
Working in neon has also given Wiszniewski the opportunity of collaborating with others on a project, which he welcomes, particularly ‘the sense of fake democracyl’. This means that the energetic Bruce of Thermal Designs in Edinburgh who is a ‘fanatic’ for the medium, makes up the designs for him. But despite neon being a development of an important aspect of his work, it still represents a departure, a radically different technique. ‘I was scared they’d look silly,’ he confides, “I did them specially for the Fruitmarket show and it’s the first time they’ve beenseenf
Wiszniewski has made use both of its public power in works like Gentleman’s Club where he plays with the idea of it being seen outside of the gallery context and also its surprisingly beautiful, subtle and humorous qualities.
The purity of line involved with neon art works well for him, the glowing lines serving to illuminate his ideas, capturing them in a few strokes, and effectively focusing the viewer’s attention without the need for complex imagery. It also offers a new perspective on his work and confirms that despite the success of his early career, he is still experimenting, discovering new areas to explore. The temptation to continue producing work according to a successful formula is not one that other Glasgow artists, similarly
hyped, have resisted. He plans to produce more neon work for his coming show in Belgium in March next year, expanding the themes seen at the Fruitmarket. ‘My new neon is going to be very
I“! r t 4' / s. ‘ H/
Although still expensive, with a large neon “i \ ‘.
costing about £1000 to make, it IS not qurte as .5“: ~
costly as it has been in its surprisingly long . (. if, _ . . . n ‘ \
history. Lumimsm goes back to the loth century -» \
I ,_ complicated, and what’s worse, very expensive! when a Jesuit mathematician, one Louis Bertram :33 ' ‘. 33‘: ; ' 11 It’s very exciting, though, to be working with a Caste], who sounds like a man far ahead ofhis v tr * ‘,
‘ ~ \ \‘ - u ,/ \ﬁ ‘
\, \‘PJ. - .. "e g t “ ‘ new means ofexpression evenifl’m still quite time, designed an incredible device called the "
9 y a ‘colour organ’ which attempted to synchronise
music with patterns of coloured light. Fuller exploration of light as an independent artistic medium came only later in the 20th century with kinetics and advancements in light technology. It really came into vogue in the 605 when pop artists embraced its ‘jokey’ potential and its brash commercial connotations. In 1962, the Greek-American sculptor Chyrssa wrote, ‘The vulgarity of America as seen in the lights of Times Square is poetic, extremely poetic,’ and Nauman was so taken with it that ‘painting no longer seemed necessary’. Though feeling that neon was ‘hijacked’ by commercialism and Americana,
nervous about showing them — it’s important for an artist to take risks,’ he says, leading us on to the topic of the comparative health risks involved in my cheap brandy and his cheap vodka both, curiously enough, recommended by the same lady in Littlewoods. Having arranged to compare hangovers, he goes off to explore the delights of Lochwhinnoch, and to obliterate the prospect of Christmas shopping the next day in Glasgow. It seems that even artists are not immune.
Adrian Wiszniewski: A Retrospective 1983—89 is on at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Market Street, Edinburgh until 3 Feb, and will be reviewed next issue.
The List 21 December 1990— lOJanuary l99l 7