Turn on the TV, Shut Out the Light 2016 Acrylic carpet
450 x 45 x 2 cms.
The work of Neil Hanger
Neil Hanger’s work picks up upon transient images, created words and phrases he gathers from a myriad of sources, which are designed to move fleetingly through our mind’s eye or to tug at our imagination. Hanger plays with the found objects or lyrical images, moving from a state of being where it exists as a buzzing bundle of firing neurones in our brain to a physical presence in concrete form. You might argue that all art objects are the physical manifestation of imagination but Hanger’s work playfully draws the viewer’s attention to the way things are. He invites us to play with the words as puzzles and conundrums and to continue to engage with them, metaphorically turning them around again in our mind’s eye. The borrowed lyrical image is moved across, beyond and through; transmuted from an idea to manipulated media, to a formed object which can be experienced in a physical way. The objects themselves interrogate physical space as Neil invites us to move a wheeled trolley or upset the balance of equilibrium of a mobile, walk on a piece of art or maybe even wear it.
Hanger’s works are fragments from an undisclosed and undiscovered whole. We do not know where they originate. They are carved, etched and printed. The letters are often in three-dimensional form and we can look at, through and askance. Mercurial message marries meaning and form, structure and presentation. We read and walk and experience them as movement. Words teeter and slide, invert and repeat, leading the body to anticipate movement and the toppling of ancient texts. Meanings are transmitted through insinuation. Materials persuade and modify. His work uses writing as its medium but the message is mediated by the form, titles which we hope may lead us toward some gnomic truth chuckle and lie. Hangers work plays with the notion of existence, both material and imagined. Images and forms move between worlds and work may be conjured up before our eyes. Some exist as fragments, some ask us to question ourselves and some play with ideas of transformation. Some ask us to consider what will remain after.
Dr. Marina Levington
Language provides a framework; something we can comfortably co-exist within; a lifeline in awkward company. Silence is reserved for friendship. We wrap words around ourselves like a safety blanket; hide behind their opaque transparency; disguise ourselves in their ambiguity. So frequently what we utter is meaningless – wallpaper – air filler.
Neil Hanger presents language and words to us in beguiling and different ways, realised in form; frozen in front of us. These words are presented to us like a mirror. We read them, deciphering them, as they remain there, static in front of us (not drifting into the ether like a spoken word). He makes us confront their deeper meaning; a meaning that resonates loudly as memories.
It strikes me, whenever I am confronted by a piece of work by Neil Hanger, that what I find myself doing is searching retrospectively through my own life linguistic, physical and experiential archive. Not for meaning but for recall. Where language has been lost into the frenzy of the world’s media and social networking storm, where communication happens mainly in real-time, where we are saturated in words and imagery, Hanger appears to have slowed that world down for us. He is giving us the chance to pause, to think, to reflect, to reconnect and to remember. The importance of language is akin to air. Hanger reminds us of that; reminds us that we need to breathe. The word, the phrase, the graphic, the construct; each as essential as the other; each contributing in equal measure to the whole.
Comfort in Crisis (Gladys Knight) 2020
Static cling, polythene window sticker
15 x 15 cms.
Edition of 25 with 5 artists proofs
Wish We Were Here 2019
attached to skirting boards in any given space
Each card is standard A6 size 10 x 15 cms.
Installation Holland Park, London
Cross Space 2015 (Wall)
Sticky backed vinyl lettering
attached to the top and bottom of any given space
No Matter What I Do 2011 (Wall)
Digital prints on canvas
Each: 65 x 110 cms
Souvenir 2014 (Floor)
Painted, coir door mat
90 x 59 cms.
Edition of 3
I Ain’t Lyin’ 2012 (Floor)
Each 2.5 x 2.5 x 0.5 cms