Sean Edwards / A PEEPHOLE TO SCULPT THE RANGE OF ACTION

WALES IN VENICE / Venice Biennale Special

The point of view of the Aesthetic critic PAOLO MENEGHETTI

In the Welsh exhibition visitors can find the installations of artist Sean Edwards. Aesthetically, he is interested in sculpting the everyday life, in order to connect it to the biographic. The installations have a very domestic “nuance”. We will recognize the “Gothic rainforest” of a tent, the tapestry, the screen intended for playing etc… In the ordinary life, the perception of a rest or however of the mechanization maybe distracts us from our living for the “reasons” of a personalization. All men would feel happy, and often it’s better for us to confide in our own diary. In Venice, Sean Edwards exhibits installations to the uncertainty of sharing. We perceive those “digging up” the ordinary life, and its announced importance into the expectations of a “maturity”. More notably, it happens that the real artist identifies with personalized style, against the indeterminacy of massification. In Venice, the exhibition of Sean Edwards is called Undo things done. Perhaps, the monumentality of a memory that we will feel like ours will have to “be disconnected” into the objectivity of a report. Everyone has his own reasons for living; but it’s better for us if we demonstrate those to the Others.

Portrait of Sean Edwards. Courtesy Sean Edwards and Tanya Leighton, Berlin. Image Jamie Woodle
Installation of Undo Things Done, 2019, Sean Edwards, © Jamie Woodley

He who sculpts lets the matter reach an arrangement, and while he configures it a little bit at a time. The abstraction of a messy block will become plastic, passing from itself to itself. The cinematographic image is in motion, although we perceive it in its refraining. The sculptor lets the matter have an arrangement while “re-entering” itself, through a plasticism. Director Tarkovsky wanted the images to show materially their refraining. We can say that his cinematography “sculpted” the time. Sean Edwards installs the cage of metal, however with a plasticism only refrained, through the frames in arch. In a bungalow, weather-beaten and disturbed, the reality of the personal memories (from a betting slip, to a badge of disability, from the obituary for a pool player to the design on the complimentary t-shirts, etc…) seems relying on the “understanding” of the visitors. They would have their gaze “connected in a boomerang”, trying to “browse” the diary where the artist will rest, in a very existentialist way. In addition, the arch-shaped frames are easily perceptible as film strips during playing time.

Installation of Undo Things Done, 2019, Sean Edwards, © Jamie Woodley
Installation of Undo Things Done, 2019, Sean Edwards, © Jamie Woodley
Installation of Undo Things Done, 2019, Sean Edwards, © Jamie Woodley
Installation of Undo Things Done, 2019, Sean Edwards, © Jamie Woodley

One video installation has the dominoes as its aesthetic theme. Symbolically, how much would we expect the odds to be of a specific combination? However to us, the artist seems stalled, if the tiles, instead of falling to display the result, are cradling in cycles of settlement. The video installation of Sean Edwards jumps between the clockwise and the anticlockwise. It is a zoom through which the objectivity of a chance“is sculpted”, also going against our expectations. A confirmation comes to us from a print, where the fingers of the artist suffered abuse, until they were bleeding. An anxiety that needs to be messily “vented” will not be pleasant… Sean Edwards sets up also a sort of “screen”, in metal, and completely pierced with the motif of the word < un >. Precisely, that is a quote from The Sun, a famous tabloid printed in England.

That, according to the artist, will assume a coloration that can be defined as dryly yellowish. Is that an attempt to “sculpt” also the solar radiation? In the English language, the prefix < un > has a negative connotation, to “cast a shadow” on every certainty. The screen is removable, and used not to allow somebody else to watch us undressing. Sean Edwards installs the heaviness of a metal “barrier”, that however has  “peepholes” morbidly revealing. Of course the English tabloid is read for its gossip. Maybe the memories of the artist are not afraid of being unveiled, because of their indeterminateness. In another installation, a quilt is adorned with the letters taken by the title of The Mirror, a famous newspaper in England.

Symbolically, could the rest while reading be covered a mantle of  sensationalism? Usually we appreciate newspapers that are very objective. It would be more correct to publish verified news! Sean Edwards mentions the quilts that traditionally were realized in Wales, with motifs influenced by objects at hand.

Portrait of Sean Edwards. Courtesy Sean Edwards and Tanya Leighton, Berlin. Image Jamie Woodley
Installation of Undo Things Done, 2019, Sean Edwards, © Jamie Woodley
Installation of Undo Things Done, 2019, Sean Edwards, © Jamie Woodley
Installation of Undo Things Done, 2019, Sean Edwards, © Jamie Woodley
Installation of Undo Things Done, 2019, Sean Edwards, © Jamie Woodley