Dates: 26 July – 5 September 2021
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The Senedd is proud to host the closing presentation of Undo Things Done, Sean Edwards’ exhibition commission for Cymru yn Fenis / Wales in Venice 2019.
Undo Things Done was commissioned by Arts Council of Wales on the occasion of the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia with lead partner Tŷ Pawb, Wrexham and guest curator Marie-Anne McQuay.
Undo Things Done takes as its starting point, Edwards’ experience of growing up on a council estate in Cardiff in the 1980s; capturing and translating what he calls a condition of ‘not expecting much’ into a shared visual language; one that evokes a way of living familiar to a great number of people. As part of the presentation in the Senedd, which includes Welsh quilts, prints, sculpture and film, the artist has reworked Refrain, 2019.
Refrain is a radio play co-produced by National Theatre Wales and written for and performed by the artist’s mother, Lily Edwards. This radio play, which was at the heart of the Venice exhibition, was performed live daily during the Biennale, streamed from her flat in Cardiff to the Wales in Venice 2019 venue. Refrain weaves Lily Edwards’ biography, growing up in a Northern Irish Catholic Children’s Home and her subsequent life in Wales, with found materials and Sean Edwards’ memories from childhood. Edwards has adapted the specially commissioned version of Refrain produced by John Norton and Martin Williams which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 17 December 2019.
The Venice Biennale, Biennale Arte, is the largest visual arts exhibition in the world. Wales has had a presence at the Biennale since 2003, celebrating Welsh talent on an international stage nine times.
Edwards’ presentation Undo Things Done in Venice received 25,000 visitors during the run of La Biennale di Venezia however, along with a number of other official presentations, drew to an early close due to unprecedented flooding across the city. The floods affected a significant steel and wood work in parallel with the past i-iv, 2019 which has been removed from the tour with new works instead added by the artist as the tour progressed to Tŷ Pawb in Wrexham and the Bluecoat in Liverpool. As an artist who always adapts every exhibition to its new context these changes have been absorbed into Edwards own working process.
Sean Edwards, Undo Things Done (Wales in Venice), 2019
Image Courtesy the Artist and Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin. Commissioned by the Arts Council of Wales