With her neon work Yes to all (2016), Sylvie Fleury encourages us to reflect on our time, our society and our relationships.
The internationally renowned artist Sylvie Fleury is known for her works referring to Pop art’s polished aesthetics. However, they allow for reflection on more than just consumer aesthetics, and beneath their visually striking surfaces lie subtle comments on larger themes. She works with many different techniques, but a large part of her oeuvre is three-dimensional – sculpture, objects and installations often referring to Marcel Duchamp's readymades.
Fleury lives and works in Geneva, Switzerland.
Yes to all is located centrally in Lillestrom town in the municipality of Skedsmo, an important district for industrial development in Norway. It was in Skedsmo that FFI (the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment) at Kjeller developed the forerunner of today's internet. Lillestrom is also one of the largest public transport junctions.
‘The train is of importance here, and you can see the work from the train’, Fleury says. ‘The objects in this physical place – the rails, the bridge and the roads – point in so many directions, just as the sign itself points in several directions.’
Placed on the shore of the Nitelva river, not far from Lillestrøm railway station,Yes to all hovers 15 metres above the ground. Because of its somewhat industrial appearance, the sculpture effortlessly blends with its chaotic surroundings of power masts, railway constructions and buildings.
Reminiscent of an electric advertising sign, the work presents the phrase Yes to all, written in neon tubes, while lines of different colours radiate out from its centre like light beams. When lit up at night, this message calls for attention. But the message is unclear. Without context, the meaning of the words is ambiguous and open to interpretation by the viewer. We are left to reflect on what happens when you say yes to all, and whether it is even possible, regardless of what is signified by ‘all’. ‘The phrase “yes to all” isn’t about imposing moralistic messages’, says Fleury; ‘rather it’s about mirroring the viewer’s own thinking. There’s no punctuation, which means you can interpret it any way you wish’.
‘Yes to all’ is in a fact a quote, and one that Fleury has used before. For like the Pop artists, she incorporates readymades, things and words that already exist, into her works. This statement was taken from a Windows prompt to select the command: ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘yes to all’. Placed in a different context, this message, familiar to many, is given new meaning.
– The frase “yes to all” is not about imposing moralistic messages, rather it is about mirroring the viewer’s own thinking. There’s no punctuation, which means you can interpret it any way you wish.