AboutThe Statisticon Neon (2017) pays homage to Joseph Beuys monumental work Das Kapital Raum 1970-1977 originally shown in the German Pavillon in Venice in 1980 and today on loan to Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie as part of Erich Marx’s Beuys-Block. Neidich mounts his diagrammatic work in multicolored neon upon a non-formal arrangement of black boards that echo the original Beuys’ installation much as a technicolor film would a black and white. His neon looks at the relationship between art and society some forty years later taking into account the role of the internet and its effect on labor and capital.
The 21st century has been called the century of the brain and recently we have transitioned from Postfordism to cognitive capitalism where the mind and brain are the new factories of the 21st century. While the internet was still an experimental paradigm at the time of Beuys’ work we now labor for free on Facebook, Instagram and Google producing data that creates individual data profiles, later sold to corporations and security firms. Today, formal subsumption of the labor of the proletariat has transitioned to real subsumption, in which our entire life is consumed by work, and we have become cognitariats. The Neon Statisticon links this development with the recent neurologic turn in which the action of capitalism is directed to the brains neural plasticity something, which Neidich has called neuropower or Neuromacht.
Color of Politics
Color like money and language has become deregulated. Color is no longer tethered to form and meaning and becomes a vehicle through which emancipated feelings, political intrigues and resistance to institutional normalization processes can become realized. Warren Neidich uses color to recoup the political conditions of creating meaning – summarized in the three part neon-painting Red, White, and Blue (2007).
In the Afterimage Paintings, (2016) red neon sculptures spell the names of German emigrants Bertolt Brecht, Hanns Eisler and Lion Feuchtwanger all of which were later blacklisted in Hollywood as communists and thus never were granted a star on Hollywood Boulevard. Neidich remedies this by activating complementary colored afterimages that are then projected upon empty painted stars mimicing those found on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In the Archive of False Accusations (2016) vitrines illuminated by lavender neon light display found press clippings reporting on what has become known as The Lavender Scare – a less known facet of Joseph McCarthy’s witch-hunt to root out communist sympathizers.
In a second room a large three-dimensional cloudlike sculpture is installed: Pizzagate – named after the infamous conspiracy tale culminating in sniper Edgar Welch wanting to rescue the supposed sexually abused children he believed to held in the basement of Comet Ping Pong. Pizzagate exposes the apparatuses and patterns of flow and connectivity that generate False News and define click bait as well as understanding that in cognitive capitalism the new site of governementalization in the new attention economy is the brain’s neural plasticity, especially that found in the frontal cortex where attention and working memory are located. It also shows that the still virulent rumor based entirely on Fake News by now reaches well into the art world. If you want to find out how that works without fault you should try out Neidich’s most recent sculpture the small experimental setup Trump Cup (2017).