London art. Cerith Wyn Evans at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. 17 September – 9 November 2014.
London art. Serpentine Galleries present an exhibition by Cerith Wyn Evans at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. This major solo show presents a varied body of work brought together in concert. The exhibition will reveal the transformative effects of light, sound and time on the vaults and spaces of this former gunpowder store. For Wyn Evans “the site of the gallery, the perception of sight, the citation of references are multiple and swarming”.
Wyn Evans began his career as a film and video maker, producing short, experimental films in the late 1970s. Since the 1990s, his work has been characterised by a focus on language and a conceptual approach that is often developed out of the context or history of the exhibition site.
His work is often shaped and coloured by a magpie-like approach to influences which, like his installations, are intended to suggest a number of possible interpretations.
The incorporation of text, either as the source of a work or as the final form that it takes, addresses this process of interpretation directly. Ornate chandeliers are transformed into communication devices via software systems that translate texts into Morse code; neon tubes are bent into quotes that form a frieze of light that runs around the room.
Wyn Evans’s use of sound will be another key feature of the exhibition. Mechanical flutes, suspended in the central spaces, will sound throughout the building, while a directional speaker placed on the gallery floor will produce a column of sound that draws attention to the surrounding architecture. Lights appear to inhale and exhale and a neon text will wrap frieze-like around the entire exhibition space.
Wyn Evans’s references include John Cage, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Iannis Xenakis, Georges Bataille, James Merrill, Marcel Duchamp, Pierre Klossowski, Hanne Darboven, Gilles Deleuze, Marcel Proust, Sturtevant and Andy Warhol. These sources, even if made visible, are often treated as Readymades and are grouped in synchronicity and contradistinction with one another.
Wyn Evans’s show forms part of a series of Serpentine exhibitions that reflect on British artists at significant points in their careers, and follows recent surveys of Rebecca Warren (2009), Richard Hamilton (2010), Phyllida Barlow (2010), Mark Leckey (2011) and Jake and Dinos Chapman (2013).
This exhibition runs concurrently with Trisha Donnelly at the Serpentine Gallery.