Competition entry for NEONS, Geneva (CH)
Outdoor Neon Light Sign
Neon Tubes, Metal Frame, Controller
7.7 m x 1.5m
(obsolete French word sombresault, Provencal sobresaut; and Latin – supra, over, and saultus, jump, and in gymnastics a Salto)
New Oxford American Dictionary
A somersault is an acrobatic exercise in which a person does a 360 degree flip, moving the feet over the head. A somersault can be performed either forwards, backwards, or sideways and can be executed in the air or on the ground. The somersault is a generic exercise, known universally.
Often the activity of performing a somersault is associated with a happy physical expression of joy – a lighthearted demonstration – commonly performed by children, more rarely done by adults. Nevertheless the somersault evokes in all of us this feeling of an unadulterated euphoric innocence and acts as an aide-mémoire of the importance to sometimes be head over heels and heels over head.
The artwork “Somersault” aims to remind us (adults) of the elation coming from the liberating movement of the somersault: Get up, roll on the ground, and jump up again! Why not right here and there in the middle of the the square Plaine de Plainepalais?
Four simplified graphics – created from dark pink neon tubes as outline drawings – retrace the movement done in the somersault. The legibility works in both directions – backwards as well as forwards. At the same time it seems as if the outer human figure climbs up on the roof’s edge, turning the architecture into its own playground.
The installation reacts to the architectural features of the roof as well as to the location of the Plaine de Plainepalais. The square has multiple functions, hosting different markets during the week, providing a big open space as well a meeting place and the Place du Cirque. This north-east part of the square is dedicated to various events music, opera and other performances. The acrobatic notion of the “Somersault” is an homage to those activities happening.