1/09/2016 — 7/01/2017


The Charged Line


Fiona Banner, David Batchelor, Noel Clueit, Martin Creed, Jeremiah Day, Shezad Dawood, Tracey Emin, Tim Etchells, Cerith Wyn Evans, Graham Fagen, Ron Haselden, Robert Irwin, Joseph Kosuth, Brigitte Kowanz, Bertrand Lavier, François Morellet, Paulina Olowska, Joe Fletcher Orr, Eddie Peake, Mai-Thu Perret, Prem Sahib, Keith Sonnier, Evren Tekinoktay, Gavin Turk, Mary Weatherford.

NEON: The Charged Line will be a major new survey exhibition exploring how artists have worked with neon, from the 1960s to the present day. The exhibition will encompass a wide range of ways in which artists have experimented with light designed to be seen rather than illuminate; whether through text and language, the drawn line or an investigation into its physical and sculptural qualities.

Coinciding with the famous 'Illuminations', we will also be displaying rarely seen 1930s designs highlighting Blackpool's pioneering role in the history of neon in the UK.

Image: Joseph Kosuth ‘Neon’ (1965), courtesy of the Artist, La Maison Rouge, Paris and Sprüth Magers Gallery London / Photograph by Marc Domage

1/09/2016 — 7/01/2017

Illuminations Archive


Blackpool Illuminations neon

Blackpool Council

Running concurrently with NEON: The Charged Line, the Grundy is exhibiting images of original designs for 1930s neon Illuminations, taken from Blackpool’s unique and historic archive of working drawings, which extends across the Twentieth Century. These early designs will be shown in a parallel display in the gallery’s upstairs rotunda gallery.

'The Charged Line' refers not only to the scientific properties of the neon but also its cultural history, tracing a lineage closely associated with Blackpool.

Achieved by passing an electrical current through different noble gasses, the phosphorescence of neon was first discovered in 1898, with the process subsequently patented by Georges Claude in 1915. In Britain, Blackpool was one of the first places to show neon in the early 1930s, after it became widely used first in Paris, then in Los Angeles and New York, with the ‘Claudgen’ company designing a series of neons as part of its annual ‘Illuminations’ held in the town.