Museum of Contemporary Art, gift of Irene Sutton 2005
acrylic on paper
H 61.5 W 52cm
H 80.5 W 66.5cm
These preparatory sketches were made by Peter Kennedy for his exhibition of neon light works, Neon Light Installations, at Sydney’s Gallery A in 1970. Kennedy started out as a painter in the late-1960s, but his interests shifted in the direction of more open-ended experiments with sound, vision and space. His adoption of neon light as a material offered a new visual mode and the possibility of experimenting with different materials, ideas and synergies. Neon was a new medium when Kennedy took it up in the 1970s and like Pop Art, it spoke to the pervasive effects of advertising and to the growing culture of consumption and consumerism in the western world. Kennedy’s experimental use of the medium was in step with the light and video art of the 1960s and the growing importance of kinetic and electronic art of the 1970s.
Neon Light Installations was one of the first examples of installation art in Sydney. An emergent aspect of this innovative practice was its focus on the value of documentation; of constantly recording all the stages and effects of the work through a variety of means. Kennedy documented his installations through slides, photographs, films and sketches. Such documentation had an aesthetic aspect and was considered an important element of the work as a whole. Preparatory sketches such as these are accomplished works on their own as well as offering valuable insight into the artist’s thought processes and planning of this work
I have had an abiding belief that an artwork’s capacity to resonate in the minds of an audience is very much contingent on its ‘poetic’ presence.
Peter Kennedy, 2002