Neon

NEON

Neon in ancient greek, means new. Discovered by William Ramsay and Morris Travers in 1898, the Neon is a gas that emits orange-red glow inside a discharge tube. Due to its high florescence and its low power consumption, the neon light has flourished as a perfect lighting of shop signs, bars, restaurants, basically everywhere- that have become a visual contemporary icon.

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 The exploration of light in art has been always a fundamental theme, and almost all the artists since the 60s – the height of the diffusion of neon – have been confronted with this artificial light. Artists who pioneered neon, and considered masters on this experimentation are Dan Flavin, Bruce Nauman and Joseph Kosuth, followed by Mario Merz, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Alfredo Jaar. In more recent times we have Maurizio Cattelan and Tracey Emin.  All of them gave a personal, significant visual and conceptual interpretation of it.

In its most common, commercial and decorative use the manipulation of this gas, also known as “bombardment” technique, and the bending of glass by “glass bender” have indeed taken involuntary forms of art works.

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Silvia di Paolo

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