Glenn LigonUntitled 2006

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Artwork details

Glenn Ligon (born 1960)
Date 2006
MediumNeon lights and paint
Dimensionsobject: 610 x 4267 mm
Acquisition Purchased with funds provided by the American Fund for the Tate Gallery 2008


Untitled is a neon sculpture spelling out the word ‘AMERICA’ in the large capital letters of a typewriter script, reminiscent in form of the stencilled characters Ligon consistently employs in his text-based paintings. Each individual letter in Untitled is comprised of a single neon tube mounted against the white wall of the gallery as if ‘free-floating’. Two electricity cables looping through the characters form the only visual or structural connections between them, and drop neatly to the floor and along the wall to intentionally visible power supply units.

Four variations of this neon sculpture exist, in three subtle versions. For the work in Tate’s collection, which is the earliest in the series, the more or less autonomous neon tubes are fully coated in a layer of black paint such that the presence of electricity can be detected only where light pierces through minor cracks or chips in the applied surface. In another of the versions, a layer of black paint covers the face of the neon tubes only, which consequently throw a ‘shadow’ of escaped light back against the wall, producing an outer glow surrounding the type when viewed in installation… (read more)

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