Tate Kids



Neon Drawing Disco

Tate Liverpool

The Idea

We are going to be inspired by the American kinetic sculptor Liliane Lijn and her amazing spinning artworks. She calls her sculptures ‘koans’ as they are cone in shape. Koans vary in style and are designed to make the viewer feel calm. They may make you want to meditate and it’s ok to feel a little hypnotised by them!

Liliane Lijn Space Displace Koan, 1969, © Liliane Lijn


The Plan

You are going to make a drawing disco! You will have to think about shape, light and space! You are going to think about how to make the artwork move after you have made it too, as it’s meant to be a kinetic (that means moving) sculpture! You need to grab a few friends to make it with and then you can all rave in your brilliant neon art installation once you have finished it!


You Need

  • Black material
  • Pegs and string
  • Different coloured paper (we think black, orange and plastic sheets work really well)
  • Neon string
  • Colourful fluffy balls
  • Neon paint
  • Neon stickers
  • Ultra-violet pen
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Torches and lamps (with ultra-violet light bulbs!)

Do it!

  • Make your den! Set up your black material with pegs and strings. You want to make an enclosed space which will be the backdrop for your koans. Chairs work well to hang material off or if you are doing this outside maybe tie your material to trees.
  • Grab some paper and draw, paint, stick and cut into it to make it as weird and wacky as you want.
  • Think about what it will look like in the dark under different types of lights.
  • Write secret messages and stories with the ultra violet pens. What would Liliane Lijn write? Maybe some calming words or quotes about space and time?
  • Roll into cone shapes. Make lots of koans of all different shapes and sizes.
  • Attach the cones to the bottom of your neon string and hang up in your den.
  • Turn on your ultraviolet lamps.
  • Find some funky songs and turn it up! Make your kinetic sculpture move with your dance moves.
  • Take some photographs of your art installation to document your amazing creation.

See it