March marked the beginning of Cerith Wyn Evans’ (b. 1958) takeover of the neo-classical Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain, London, a versatile exhibition space in constant flux from an array of contemporary commissions. Previous artists to have taken on this prestigious showcase have included Pablo Bronstein (2016), Phyllida Barlow (2014), Simon Starling (2013), Patrick Keiller (2012), Martin Creed (2008), Mark Wallinger (2007), Michael Landy (2004), and Mona Hatoum (2000). The 2017 offering, Forms in Space… by Light (in Time), is organised by Clarrie Wallis, Senior Curator of Contemporary British Art, Tate, and Elsa Coustou, Assistant Curator of Contemporary British Art, Tate, and welcomes audiences into a conceptually and visually responsive environment.
Having experimented in numerous creative media, the Welsh artist boasts a dynamic repertoire of films, photographs, texts and sculptures. But in more recent years, light installations have increasingly become the focus, with a wealth of site-specific works attributing to a widespread sense of acclaim and popularity. These have included “Arr/Dep” (imaginary landscape for the birds) for the Headquarters of Lufthansa in Frankfurt (2006) and E=V=E=N=T (2015), a sculpture commissioned for Malmö Live, a concert hall for the Malmö Symphony Orchestra. This new collection of suspended illuminations builds upon these previous pieces and indicates Wyn Evans’ growing preoccupation with language, communication and perception. The forms reflect upon a wealth of multi-disciplinary practices, experimenting with visual intersections and synaesthetic preoccupations through mesmirising strips of neon.
Taking the coded movements of Japanese Noh theatre as inspiration, the pieces bring the artist’s interest in choreology to fruition – providing a new, visual and universal language constructed from dance. Mirroring the fluidity of a musical score, the looping, seemingly sporadic shapes and lines are a glowing example of communication and layered meaning.
As Alex Farquharson, Director, Tate Britain, notes: “Cerith has made a unique contribution to British and international art for over two decades. This compelling commission demonstrates his ability to create structures out of a light on a challenging scale and reveals the rich world of poetic ideas that informs his projects.”
Cerith Wyn Evans: Forms in Space… by Light (in Time) runs until 20 August. For more information: www.tate.org.uk
1. Cerith Wyn Evans, Forms in Space… by Light (in Time) (2017). Courtesy of Tate Britain and the artist.