Spatial Prominence in the Artwork’s Foreground

The background against which the light and wording are set is reminiscent of the night – but with the total blackness of its landscape lightened to greyness by the imposing luminescence of the dominant light projection. The large words – 20th Century Fox are represented visually as being three dimensional against the ashen background – an effect that adds both depth and dimension while creating the illusion that the logo is being projected to a position of spatial prominence in the foreground of the artwork. The logo is colored in red and orange tones, deferring to realistic lighting effects and shade variations as the colors appear slightly muted towards what is presented as being the logos foreground. But other elements of the work are strangely inconsistent, perhaps in the interests of theoretical allusion, with what would be expected if the scene were viewed in reality. The eight yellow spotlights inter-crossing each other behind the logo are traditionally seen – when the logo is depicted before movies or on television – to penetrate, cross over and intermingle with the sturdy commercial monolith. In Ruscha’s depiction, however, they are shown as being unable to penetrate the white opaque light source that projects the wording and instead are partially blocked by its presence.
The spotlights – supposedly for the purpose of illuminating desired features and drawing the attention of spectators – are feeble in comparison to the generating light force behind the imposing logo. Intrinsic within the marketing insignia itself seems to be an otherworldly, ethereal body of light – white and pure and absolute, while the accompanying spotlights possess a yellow, opacity that fails to lighten the nightscape, nor impinge upon the density of the red/orange hues of the logo. The juxtaposition seems to assert a difference between what is real, what is not real and what is contrived – what is genuine, and what is manufactured – positioned against the backdrop of the movie industry and its many illusions.