Forms through folds (ascending)… by cerith wyn evans


Beginning January 31, 2024, visitors to Karlskirche in Vienna, Austria will be greeted by a suspended neon squiggle sculpture created by British artist Cerith Wyn Evans. Titled Forms through folds (ascending)…, the light installation, tailored specifically for the Baroque church interior, spans 25 by 15 meters and boasts tubes stretching almost 700 meters in total length, representing one of Evans’ largest works to date.


This public artwork marks the second significant project by a contemporary artist under the Karlskirche Contemporary Arts program, launched in 2018 to merge the church designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach with modern art. This distinctive initiative has already garnered international acclaim, notably with the debut of Argentine artist Tomás Saraceno’s Aerocene installation from 2019 to 2020.

cerith wyn evans suspends neon squiggle installation within baroque church in vienna
Forms through folds (ascending)… by Cerith Wyn Evans | all images courtesy of Karlskirche Contemporary Arts



a site-specific neon sculpture for vienna’s karlskirche


Forms through folds (ascending)… by Cerith Wyn Evans (represented by White Cube Gallery – find more here) is a site-specific, space-encompassing sculpture meticulously crafted for this location. It required the installation of over 14 km of rope and 1.5 km of cable to position the 350 individual glass forms and power them. Weighing over a ton, the installation hangs suspended from the lantern above the dome, extending across nearly the entire dome space of the Karlskirche (find more here). 


Cerith Wyn Evans is known for his utilization of white neon as a language of signs and spatial drawings. His luminous artworks reflect a synthesis of diverse, seemingly conflicting ideologies from literature, philosophy, religion, arts, and natural sciences. These elements converge, replicate, and fold into intricate structures that appear to simultaneously expand explosively and collapse into delicate entropy. Consequently, Forms through folds (ascending)… presents multiple interpretive possibilities. Complex forms unfold before the observer’s eyes, evoking imagery reminiscent of musical scores, architectural plans, or scientific diagrams. Whether conveying dynamic gestures that encompass the surrounding space in its entirety or static drawings that collage the background, the installation ultimately retains an elusive quality, defying complete comprehension as a unified whole or in its intricate details.

cerith wyn evans suspends neon squiggle installation within baroque church in vienna



contemporary art unveils unique experience at baroque church


With over 200,000 visitors per year, the Vienna Karlskirche is one of the most visited attractions in Vienna. The installation Forms through folds (ascending)… will now offer them a very special experience of the baroque space. ‘Being able to present contemporary art in this form and dimension in a sacred space used liturgically for centuries is not only unique in Austria but also internationally. After Tomás Saraceno in the years 2019-2020, we were able to engage another globally renowned artist, Cerith Wyn Evans, to create a commissioned work for the baroque Gesamtkunstwerk Karlskirche. ‘Forms through folds (ascending)…’ is equally an ode to this unique building and its dome fresco, and like them, it also alludes to everything heavenly and transcendent,’  says Moritz Stipsicz, curator.


‘The Karlskirche is one of the most important examples of sacral Baroque architecture in Central Europe. Naturally, as a significant Catholic church, it is a place of faith community and prayer. But we also see it as a place of encounter and dialogue – with God and of course with people. Presenting contemporary art in this context aims to stimulate engagement with the site in its secular and spiritual functions,’ says Father Marek Pučalík, Rector of the Karlskirche. cerith wyn evans suspends neon squiggle installation within baroque church in vienna



project info: 


name: Forms through folds (ascending)…
artist: Cerith Wyn Evans – represented by White Cube Gallery
location: Karlskirche, Vienna, Austria