Cerith Wyn Evans, and his work, usually are not straightforward to neglect. I first encountered the previous at Tate Britain in 2017, when he doused the Duveen Galleries in a carnival of white neon mild. It burned traces on the thoughts and retina that lingered for hours to return.
The second, and much more memorable expertise, was in 2018 on the award ceremony for the celebrated Hepworth Prize for Sculpture. The experimental filmmaker turned international pressure of sculpture had received the prize with a levitating, site-specific work titled Composition for 37 Flutes (in two elements), during which two intersecting glass arcs held pipes that inhaled and exhaled music that wavered between concord and dissonance, via a programmed algorithm. It produced an unnerving, organic timbre that evoked the rasp and rhythm of the human respiratory system. When Wyn Evans accepted the award, he mentioned, ‘It [the prize] means nothing, however I’m a Buddhist you see.’
At Mostyn gallery within the picturesque seaside city of Llandudno, Wales, Wyn Evans is presently displaying his largest exhibition in his residence nation, and the UK, thus far. However does it really feel like a homecoming? ‘It’s actually not a coincidence,’ says the artist, who represented Wales on the nation’s inaugural pavilion on the fiftieth Venice Biennale in 2003. ‘[But] since I am not making work about nationalism and identification politics, it in some way carries much less weight as a result of it isn’t, for need of a greater time period, the “topic” of the work.’
Mostyn, which has a century-long historical past of championing native and globally famend up to date artwork, fuses Edwardian structure with a RIBA award-winning concrete fashionable enlargement by Ellis Williams Architects. Enigmatically titled ‘….)(‘, Wyn Evans’ present isn’t simply at Mostyn, however for Mostyn.
Wyn Evans’ present, curated by the gallery’s director, Alfredo Cramerotti, is borderless –infused with movie, music, poetry, literature and Japanese philosophy, and the way vitality can stream freely via sculpture, video and located objects. The artist has turned Mostyn’s Edwardian galleries right into a neon-charged fantasia, with works that dance via the areas like illuminated drawings. Wyn Evans was eager to embrace the plentiful pure mild within the 1901 constructing, and discover how mild patterns will shift via the winter months. ‘I like nothing greater than neon in direct daylight. it’s completely heartbreakingly lovely.’
StarStarStar/Steer (Transphoton) (2019) (Oriel 3) is a three-column LED construction suspended just a few centimetres above the bottom. Shifting from translucency to a piercing brightness, the piece attracts on the codes of Doric structure however appears to inhale and expire like one thing very a lot alive. ‘There’s this form of tidal relation to the ocean being right here, but additionally a gradual oscillating of filling and respiration and searching and being within the area.’
One other spotlight is Pli S=E=L=O=N Pli, a 17-glass panel maze of 4 chambers that emits an eerie, improvised piano soundtrack of alternating time signatures composed and carried out by Wyn Evans. Part shifts (after David Tudor) (2020) sees automobile windscreens and visor-shaped items of fractured glass have interaction in a recreation of reflections with surrounding works. They seem like ghosts of Calder’s mobiles, and an ode to the historical past of Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Naked by Her Bachelors, Even, (1915-1923). The work shattered in transit after its first exhibition, an occasion Duchamp embraced because the work’s decision. In one other deviation from neon, Wyn Evans can also be presenting Decor Relics, a collection of smashed-up bits of short-term gallery partitions salvaged from earlier blue-chip exhibitions. Right here, they’re current as ‘wall on wall’, recontextualised and elevated from useful (then discarded) infrastructure to artwork in their very own proper. ‘They make a critique of the gallery as a mannequin’, he says. ‘It’s cannibalism; the gallery sort of consuming itself.’
The centrepiece of the present is Mostyn Drift. The neon set up was initially titled Aspen Drift and displayed in 2021 on the Aspen Artwork Museum in Colorado, however owing to lockdown restrictions within the US, that is the primary time Wyn Evans has seen the piece assembled. It’s a 3D incarnation of Japanese Noh theatre, capturing time signatures, stutters, and the foot patterns of motion, however devoid of our bodies. This is only one instance of Wyn Evans’ capability to disrupt, and rupture current modes of communication, translating motion into notational codes, then a ghostly visible embodiment of the managed randomness of the world round us.
‘….)(‘, by Cerith Wyn Evans, is at Mostyn, Llandudno, North Wales till 5 February 2023. mostyn.org (opens in new tab)
In June 2023, Phaidon will publish the primary complete monograph devoted to Cerith Wyn Evans’ work, that includes new textual content by the artists, and contributions from Nancy Spector and Daniel Birnbaum. phaidon.com (opens in new tab)