letter height: ca. 10 cm
diameter: 1.0 cm
neon color: ruby red nr.18; transformer 230 V
Ed 2/ 3
Collective artist founded in 2004
Based in Paris, France
As she introduced herself in 2006, “Claire Fontaine is a Paris-based collective, founded in 2004. After deriving her name from a popular brand of school notebooks, Claire Fontaine declared herself a ‘readymade artist’ ”. Her “assistants” are Fluvia Carnevale and James Thornhill, an Italian-British artist duo that creates her objects, videos, sculptures, paintings, texts and neon works. Her position of anonymity allows a negation of individual skills or originality and the appropriation of signs, symbols and images of contemporary visual culture. With her acute sense of irony, Claire Fontaine’s practice merges political activism with minimalist forms, referring to artists from the sixties and seventies. She questions political inability in the context of late capitalism by declaring herself an artist on strike. Recalling the use of neon by artists such as Bruce Nauman, Dan Flavin, or Cerith Wyn Evans, her luminous work also deals with the impact of words.
AMERIKA is a scale model for a sign to be completed with strip lights, which are the cheapest lighting system commonly used in public locations such as schools, hospitals, factories, or prisons… Amerika is the title of Franz Kafka’s first unfinished novel from 1927, which relates the tragic destiny of a young German landing in the USA. The neon font created by Claire Fontaine is titled K. in homage to the Czech author. The work refers to the sad tradition of emigrants and functions as a monument to their endlessly broken dreams.
The Weeping Wall Inside Us All is a neon sign created in collaboration with Swedish artist Karl Holmqvist, known for his work with text and spoken word. The sentence is inspired by a quotation from his video work I’ll Make the World Explode. “Weeping wall” is the literal translation from the French for “Western Wall”. It gives the Israeli and Palestinian conflict a universal and existential dimension.
The series of neon Foreigners Everywhere, here presented in a German version Fremde Überall and which exist in 19 other languages takes up the name of an Italian anarchist group from Turin, fighting against racism. This enigmatic phrase inspired Claire Fontaine who transposes this sentence into neon to invade urban spaces an art spaces by using the communication and consumption codes to better criticize them.