Cerith Wyn Evans
A Welsh conceptual artist, sculptor and film-maker.
Although Wyn Evans moved to sculpture and installation in the early 1990s, the influence of film remained strong on his work. Most of the artist’s work stems from his strong interest in language and communication, often using found or remembered texts from film, philosophy or literature combined with a clean aesthetic.Writing in Frieze, in 1999, Jennifer Higgie said: “Wyn Evans’ use of repetition and elliptical meaning indicates endless possible readings his choice of a quote replete with both classical and personal implications placed at the junction of earth and sea nods to Platonic ideas about renewal, while the decaying beach reflects a more negative image of repetition as a kind of dead end, a form of stasis.”
Wyn Evans’ firework pieces, for example, are wooden structures that spell out open-ended texts that burn over a designated period of time. His transparent, crystal chandelier sculptures, such as the multi-coloured Italian Murano glass chandelier‚ Astrophotography… (2006) are programmed to evoke an otherworldly language from sections of text translated into the flashing light signals of Morse Code. The texts rendered in code are sometimes visible simultaneously on adjacent computer screens embedded in the gallery walls and represent a personal canon of literature and include letters, poems, philosophical extracts and short stories by writers ranging from Theodor Adorno, William Blake and Judith Butler to Brion Gysin, James Merrill and the Marquis De Sade.For the Venice Biennale in 2003, he created Cleave 03, an installation which consisted of a World War II searchlight sending a seven-mile beam of light into the night sky over the Giudecca flashing intermittently in a morse code version of Ellis Wynne’s 1703 Welsh text Gweledigaethau y Bardd Cwsc. In his earlier Cleave installations, he refracted the light signals of Morse code off a rotating mirror ball to create dazzling and intense sensory environments. The artist is also interested in the way that soundtracks form a parallel ‘text’ for a film or photograph and in the slippage created when these sounds are dislodged, changed or removed.
From 1984, in an homage to artist and writer Brion Gysin, Wyn Evans reconstructed Gysin’s Dreamachines – cylindrical light-shades spinning on wooden platforms at 75 rpm, invented as a way to tap into dream states and the unconscious of the ‘viewer’.When looked at with closed eyes, the rotating, flickering light is meant to provoke an altered state of consciousness.For S=U=P=E=R=S=T=R=U=C=T=U=R=E (‘Trace me back to some loud, shallow, chill, underlying motives overspill’) (2010), Wyn Evans created a wall of glowing columns, each one made from thousands of tubular lights13 that warm the exhibition space unbearably.
From 1989 to 1995 he taught at the Architectural Association, London.