For the third film in our Material series, Glenn Ligon takes us upstate to Kingston, New York, to watch his long-time collaborator, Matt Dilling, the founder of Lite Brite Neon, transform glass tubing and noble gases into vivid language and forms. Founded in 1999, Lite Brite has been a pioneer in helping contemporary artists incorporate neon into their work.
“Paint is a material,” Ligon says. “Language is a material. Neon is a material. I'm interested in playing with that word [“America”] as material. So to cross it out, to invert it, to put it upside down, to make it blink off and on obnoxiously. It’s all a way of playing with this word when we think we know what it means.”