This is it, be here now
In 1979 American multimedia artist Rudi Stern published his manifesto Let There Be Neon, a history of neon lighting and its implementation in art, architecture and advertisements. Stern dreamed in neon lights. In 1981 he said, “I have plans for neon sidewalks, neon highways, neon tunnels; neon on bridges, under water and alongside the contours of trees in the park.”
Stern passed away in 2006, but he would have been pleased to see the neon artwork of the Tropists. It has everything that makes neon so irresistible. The work is a line of text, like that used in American advertisements in the 1950s when salesmen and advertising men discovered the potential of the medium. In a variety of colors the artwork screams, THIS IS IT, BE HERE NOW, which also happens to be the work’s title. Clear and simple, it’s exactly what neon signifies. But above all, Stern would have been impressed with the way the artwork operates.
It flashes. It crackles. It sparkles. The artwork encourages visitors to come closer with its attractive colors and provoking message. At the moment the visitors arrive at the location they are beckoned to, the lights dim, accompanied by an array of loud rustling noises. Annoying, insidious and endlessly elusive, flickering in the periphery of your scope – that’s how neon should be. “An addition to the urban surroundings,” wrote Stern.