Neon: Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?

February 7, 2010By Heidi EllisonArchive

Paris Update Flash News


Paris Update Neon Maison Rouge

Claude Lévêque’s “Revez!” (2008). Photo: Adagp/Courtesy of Claude Lévêque and Kamel Mennour.

Who knew that neon lighting, probably most closely identified with Las Vegas, was introduced in 1912 in France by company called Air Liquide, owned by inventor Georges Claude. It wasn’t until the 1930s and ’40s, however, that artists saw the potential of the tubes of glowing color as a new medium. Among the pioneers were the Italian Lucio Fontana and Gyula Kosice, both of whom are represented in “Neon: Who’s Afraid of Red, Blue and Yellow?” (through May 20), an entertaining exhibition at the Maison Rouge (10 boulevard de la Bastille, 75012 Paris). Easy to twist into various forms, neon tubes offer plenty of room for creativity, whether used to write words, as in the example above, draw with or form into various shapes. The possibilities are endless, as long as an electical outlet is available. Heidi Ellison


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