Cerith Wyn Evans Has an Eye on Duchamp

Cerith Wyn Evans, ....)(, 2022 (installation view). Photo: Jason Roberts. Courtesy the artist and Mostyn, Llandudno

The artist’s new show at Mostyn, Llandudno embraces serendipities that reflect on the world and create spaces in which we may consider it

In this homecoming of sorts, the Llanelli-born Cerith Wyn Evans has been given free rein, his work occupying all of Mostyn’s available spaces. Those familiar with his work – addressing language and perception through sculpture, photography, film and text – will expect the largescale neon pieces for which he is best known and the tall led columns, here suspended to hover neatly above the floor. Anticipation and encounter are rarely the same. These sculptures dominate your visual field; their impact matched by their intricacy. One such piece is reflected in another work some will hear before they see. The glass panels of Pli S=E=L=O=N Pli (2020) have been transformed into speakers, from which a piano composition (performed by Wyn Evans) is heard. The aural effect verges on white noise; like trying to tune the sweet spot of a local radio station, forever dipping in and out of the ether.

….)(, 2022 (installation view). Photo: Jason Roberts. Courtesy the artist and Mostyn, Llandudno

When Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1915–23) was damaged in transit, he embraced the work’s chance ‘completion’. Wyn Evans channels this in the three “phase shifts (after David Tudor)” (all 2020) – a trio of transparent mobiles made from cracked windscreens moving in the air currents of the building. I’m not sure casual visitors’ minds will leap to the Duchampian as much as they do automobile accidents, but its effect resonates, adding yet another sensory layer. Upstairs is No realm of thought….variations after “Who’s sleeves”? (2022), a video shot on smartphone and presented on flatscreen. A plane is heard overhead; there are trills of birdsong. The sun casts weaving shadows of an old tape measure against a garden wall as water cascades mellifluously into the shot, catching the rattling tape measure; this quotidian vignette captures a bit of serendipitous backyard beauty. Wyn Evans has long communicated through such serendipities, visual or auditive, that reflect on the world and create spaces in which we may consider it. ‘Strategies of refraction’, he calls them. Here, those strategies are applied and tested at a gallery whose natural light will change according to time, affecting the nature of our interactions and experiences; and, perhaps, response. Something that Wyn Evans, forever with one eye on Duchamp, will no doubt be hoping for.

Ceryth Wyn Evans: ….)( at Mostyn, Llandudno, through 4 February

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