Peter Kennedy: Neon Light Installations

Art Artwork from Australia. Published by M.C.A. on Friday 10 October 2014.

Peter Kennedy is at the forefront of Australian conceptual art. A founding member of the Sydney artist-run initiative Inhibodress in the early 1970s, his artistic practice has been informed by a deeply reflective critique of the politics and history of modernity.

His pioneering body of work embraces installation, performance, sound, video and more recently, photography, watercolour and drawing. From the late 1960s Kennedy began to create minimalist works in neon light whilst employed at the signage company Claude Neon. He was one of the first Australian artists to work with this medium. He went on to create experimental performance and sound works, and by the late 1970s had developed an art practice that was politically engaged.

Neon Light Installations (1970/2002) is part of the series of early 1970s formalist works that Kennedy designed to interact with the architecture of Paddington’s Gallery A, one of the first contemporary art spaces in Australia. Playing on the principles of line and segmentation, this installation casts a warm light across the gallery, affecting viewers’ experiences of the space and their responses to adjacent works.

The two preparatory sketches by the artist complement and contextualise Neon Light Installations, offering valuable insight into the artist’s thought processes and planning of this work.