Nico Franz

1981 Cottbus, DE

This is not a neon lamp, 2018


This is not a neon lamp, 2018

Image description

We see a square black surface. Centered horizontally and vertically, a bluish glowing object is shown in a horizontal position. Apparently, it represents a neon lamp. It has a width of 4/5 of the total image area, a height of 11/1000 of the total height and is rounded at the corners. If you look at the neon lamp up close, you will notice that it is only roughly outlined. It consists of only five layers laid one on top of the other, with the layers turning darker shades of blue from the center towards the edges. Around the luminous body, the surroundings are subtly illuminated by a three-tiered bluish corona.

Image Explanation

As is already clear from the title of the picture "This is not a neon lamp", this copyist masterpiece is in the tradition of the French surrealist René Magritte (1898-1967), specifically his work "La Trahison des Images". The Stuttgart copyist Nico Franz expands here the depth of meaning of the fantastic by modernizing Magritte's original questioning of illusion and reality. If painting of representational objects is, after all, always only a reflection of light and thus of visual reality, Nico Franz reverses this process and juxtaposes painting based on reflection with painting as the source of light and thus with reality itself.

Of course, not without giving the form a name in its arbitrariness. The tongue-in-cheek title is thus intended to give the viewer access to the truth behind reality, to make him aware of the illusion, to encourage him not to imitate reality with reflections, but to paint the light itself and thus to show the professional viewer a direct path to enlightenment, which - and this is the amusing character of this work - he could undoubtedly have attained in other, less elaborate ways.