Casting a warm pink glow over the walls of Berwick-upon-Tweeds historic barracks, Etchells text-based neon artwork, installed above the gatehouse entrance, tells onlookers Wait Here I Have Gone to Get Help.
Wait Here (Double Line) - a joint commission between English Heritage
and Berwick Visual Arts is a playful and thought-provoking commemoration of the towns former military barracks opening in 1721, built to protect the town during the Jacobite rebellion.
Perhaps reminiscent of The Italian Jobs closing line, Hang on a minute lads, Ive got a great idea, Wait Here (Double Line) could also be interpreted as a reassuring message from a 21st-century version of Game of Thrones Jon Snow to his Night Watch colleagues manning The Wall, or seen as a beacon of hope during the coronavirus pandemic. Thats the purpose of the installation, to invite people to respond to it with their own thoughts, and also to also see the Barracks in a new way.
As Tim says: In the case of the barracks in Berwick I was thinking about their origin as part of a defensive outpost, and the way they resonate with narratives of danger, attack and defence. I wanted something that would resonate strongly with the situation and the phrase used in Wait Here seemed to open lots of possible interpretations, serious and comical at the same time.
James Lowther, Head of Visual Art, Berwick Visual Art said: The Barracks were long a home for troops on call for missions further north or abroad, so in Tims reinterpretation they have been recast as the location for another kind of story, one about danger and the need for caution or defence. Wait Here is emblematic of his broader fascinations as an artist, writer and performance maker; in terms of exploring contradictory aspects of language the speed, clarity and vividness with which it communicates narrative, image and ideas - and at the same time its amazing propensity to create rich fields of uncertainty and ambiguity.
Tims striking piece of art taps into Berwick Barracks history in an imaginative and intriguing way. We hope it will inspire the public to delve further into the barracks fascinating stories. Andrea Selley, Territory Director, English Heritage.
Wait Here (Double Line), has been commissioned by Berwick Visual Arts in partnership with English Heritage and is supported by Berwick Welcome Visitor Project.
The work will be visible above the gatehouse entrance of Berwick-upon-Tweeds Barracks every day, until 30 April.
Tim Etchells (b. 1962, Stevenage, UK) lives and works between London and Sheffield. He has produced major commissions for public space internationally including; With/Against', Great Exhibition of The North and BALTIC, Gateshead; Different Today, SITE Gallery, Sheffield; his poster project And For The Rest created and presented in: Brussels (2014), Basel (2015), and Athens (2016); Vacuum Days (Utrecht) (2016); and Eyes Looking a video installation which took over Times Square, NYC, commissioned as part of Times Square Arts Alliance Midnight Moments series (2016).
His work has been presented internationally with solo exhibitions at galleries and museums including: Kunstverein Braunschweig, DE; TATE Modern, London, UK; Bloomberg SPACE, London, UK; Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth, UK; Jakopič Gallery, Ljubljana, SI; Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow, PL; Gasworks, London, UK; and Künstlerhaus Bremen, Bremen, DE.