By Dila Yalman
Installed throughout all of its gallery spaces, White Cube Bermondsey presents the work of Cerith Wyn Evans; a Welsh sculptural artist. Wyn Evans’s first solo exhibition Inverse Reverse Perverse was held at the White Cube Gallery in 1996. His art is back again to demonstrate dynamic concepts of energy through material conduits.
Born in Llanelli and raised speaking Welsh, Wyn Evans engages translations into his art practices. The artist’s work stems from his strong interest in languages derived from his dual-linguistic upbringing, in the Welsh and English community. Through his sculptural art, we can observe his focus on language and perception.
Wyn Evans began his career as a filmmaker, working alongside the English film director Derek Jarman, then delving into experimental film making in the 1980s. His practice and perceptions began to shift in the 1990s, where he experimented with sculpture to materialise language and communication.
His unique style incorporates his linguistic interests with wide range of media such as neon, sound, mirrors and fireworks. He marries light, kinetics and sound, uses suspension, mirroring and reflection to create an experience which explores unique spatial dimensions.
Initially appearing as a discombobulated tangle of glass tubing, the mid-air suspension – Wyn Evans signature – is actually an impressive structure of two helicopters intertwined in a graceful yet violent embrace. He references to the 20thcentury aviation designs by Paul Cornu and presents his work in the manner of an aeronautical museum display, according to White Cube.
In the North Gallery, Wyn Evans demonstrates his transcendent abilities by juxtaposing the smooth curvature of car windshields with sharp, spidery cracks. Yet again, hanging from the ceiling and reflecting off mirrored surfaces. Wyn Evans conjures Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1915-23) and models the destructive marks of Duchamp’s accident when creating the original piece. The intensity of the fluorescent lights and reflections is both engaging and oppressing.
Wyn Evans’s fascination with the 14thcentury classical Japanese theatre, Noh, inspires much of his work. In the South Gallery, a vast wall of light cuts diagonally across the gallery, with an opening in the shape of a door. The theatrical display of vertical rows in Japanese kanji characters creates a veiled linguistic curtain.
Wyn Evans’s sculptures have always been given meaning by theatrical disciplines; the neon wall comprises an extract from Marcel Proust’s novel À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time), translated into Japanese by Kazuyoshi Yoshikawa. This installation combines Wyn Evans’s exploration of transcendence and time with his linguistic partiality. Proust’s passage, Sodom and Gomorrah, details the movement of water through a fountain, in a particularly sexual tone. Using language Wyn Evans has created both a physical and verbal veil which explores notions of constructed environments.
Wyn Evans has often translated fragments of poetry and prose into Morse code, although sometimes unreadable, the structure they give his work provides a flow of subconscious energy.
Wyn Evans uses various mediums to construct environments, such as his creation of artificial trees which we see as we emerge through the wall. With a mechanical twist the trees rotate at an extremely slow speed, their shadows flickering, such like the flickers of early cinema.
Wyn Evans’s practices have width and depth, in the literal sense and the allegorical sense. His exhibition has contained references to Duchamp and Proust, but his personal touch does not go amiss. Wyn Evans’s unique style touches on our human understanding of technical and architectural notions, but his relationship to language feeds into the construction of these notions.
‘No realm of thought...No field of vision’, runs until 19thof April 2020, White Cube Bermondsey. whitecube.com