LEVEL 2, GALLERY 22
WALES, BORN 1958
LIVES AND WORKS IN LONDON
Cerith Wyn Evans’s C=O=D=A 2019–20 unfolds as a drawing in light, suspended in space. The work is regarded by the artist as a culmination of his suite of large neon ‘drawings’ that have explored the legacy of Noh Theatre. Comprising multiple elements, some busy and scribble-like, others diagrammatic – including references to the structural formulae for chemical compounds – the light sculpture will invite visitors to consider the relationships of each form to the next, as they move around the work and alter their perspectives. The work punctuates the visitor’s field of vision with rapid vectors, loops, straight lines, curves and complex geometric forms lit up in white neon.
It is possible to follow the intersections of the work with the eye, but the way is so intricate that it becomes impossible to take it in at a glance. The viewer finds themselves caught inside an endless loop or continuous circuit. Each section appears to continue along its trajectory and prolong its end, as if the neon gas imprisoned inside the rods of transparent glass were set free and released from the forms that constrain it. This may be a restriction but it also a necessary device that allows the viewer to see the work. With a footprint of 10.6 x 5.3m, C=O=D=A will utilise the full 6m height of the NGV’s exhibition space devoted to 18th century art.
Cerith Wyn Evans’ conceptual practice incorporates a wide range of media, often exploring the relation between light, text, thought and meaning – often constructing situations that are conscious of a viewer’s presence. His early works employed film and video, often creating ‘expanded cinema’ environments frequently collaborating with performers. Since the 1990s Wyn Evans’ work has explored the relationship between language, space, temporality and the interrogation of perception, characterised by formal precision and clarity often developed in relation to a particular exhibition site.
Wyn Evans participated in Documenta 11 in 2002 and was the first artist to represent Wales at the Venice Biennale in 2003. In 2018 he was awarded the Hepworth Prize for Sculpture, in recognition of his significant contribution to the contemporary development of this artform.
The NGV warmly thanks Triennial Champion The Felton Bequest for generously commissioning and gifting this significant sculpture.