Tim Etchells—Hearing Voices

6 March - 18 April 2020

(Closed over the Easter Weekend)

Exhibition Launch: Thursday 5 March, 6.00pm - 8.00pm

Hearing Voices is an ambitious new project by Tim Etchells in Luton’s Hat District. It presents new works, including a series of text drawings and a striking neon sign set into the windows of Luton’s Departure Lounge gallery, and provides visitors with a unique and playful, oblique glimpse of the town and some of its inhabitants.

Starting with a set of unlikely and disconnected questions - What is your happiest moment or your happiest memory? What did you dream last night? When and where were you last lost? Describe the face of someone you care about? – Etchells initiated conversations with members of the public in the High Town area of Luton.  He uses material from the resulting dialogues as a prompt for the new text works. Using short excerpts and out-of-context phrases from what’s said in these playful meetings, Hearing Voices reflects Etchells’ encounters with a diverse group that ranges from shopkeepers and gardeners, to car park attendants, barbers and cab-drivers - serving as a surprising and fragmentary portrait of the town.

Etchells’ newly commissioned neon work - ‘Kind of Stillness’ – also arises from his conversational interaction with Luton residents. As with much of his practice the new neon draws on contradictory aspects of language – especially its ability to conjure strong images whilst at the same time creating a rich field of ambiguity. For Etchells the art works are the in their own way the beginning of a process – interventions in the town to which viewers will react to with their own thoughts, questions and imaginings. The full text of the neon work – The Kind of Stillness in which Everyone is Listening – exists as an image - a moment from a story or a picturebook perhaps - but also as a kind of present invocation or demand; an attempt to still the busy pavement outside the gallery and to generate a moment of focused attention in which the town might reflect on itself.
Tim Etchells is an artist and writer based in Sheffield and London. His work shifts between performance, visual art, and writing, and is presented in a wide variety of contexts, from museums and galleries to festivals and public sites.

Location: 64 Bute Street, Luton, LU1 2EY
Hearing Voices is generously funded by Arts Council England. It is organised by Departure Lounge and is delivered in partnership with The Culture Trust.


Hearing Voices | Press Release

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Departure Lounge Contemporary Art
Community Interest Company
Registered company no. 12578844