Cerith Wyn Evans


Things are conspicuous in their absence...

  • 2012
  • Neon
  • Christchurch Art Gallery Foundation Collection, purchased 2018 to mark the contribution of Jenny Harper on her retirement as director of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū; purchase supported by Ros and Philip Burdon, the Philip Carter Family, Rob and Sue Gardiner and the Chartwell Trust, Dame Jenny Gibbs, June Goldstein, Sonja and Glenn Hawkins, Julianne Liebeck, Stephen and Charlotte Montgomery, Jenny and Andrew Smith, Mike and Sue Stenhouse, Gabrielle Tasman, two anonymous donors, and a collective gift from the staff of Christchurch Art Gallery and Brown Bread
  • 190 x 4900mm
  • L01/2018

When Cerith Wyn Evans watched subtitled films on TV as a teenager, he became fascinated by the gap in understanding between the text and the picture. Here his neon text recalls a time in the past, when something that has now disappeared from view was taken for granted. What’s been lost? Perhaps a person, or an object, or even a way of life; the viewer is invited to consider their own response to loss and change. The memory of lost things is a constant feature of the present.

(Now, Then, Next: Time and the Contemporary, 15 June 2019 – 8 March 2020)

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • This work was acquired for the collection to mark the retirement of Christchurch Art Gallery’s long-standing and much-loved director Jenny Harper.

    Cerith Wyn Evans is an artist with a rich conceptual practice. He often works with light and text, setting up situations which encourage thought and deep personal reflection. He proposes ideas which connect people across time and space: “I have an incurable desire for the impossible”, he says.

    Of Things are conspicuous in their absence… he writes: The neon work is a gesture, a dance of sorts rife with interior folds revealing veiled and unveiling paradox… the ‘absence’ it refers to [is] flaunted as presence in its conspicuousness. The ‘things’ [offer] a challenge to interrogate the nature of object relations… and in turn, the nature of objects.