Cerith Wyn Evans: Welsh conceptual artist, filmmaker and sculptor was announced as the winner of the biennial Hepworth Prize for Sculpture 2018 with his work presented at the Hepworth Wakefield Composition for 37 Flutes (in two parts). The other nominated artists were Michael Dean, Mona Hatoum, Philip Lai and Magali Reus.
Wyn Evans’ work attempts to rupture existing systems of communication – either through the practice of subverting certain given material forms, disrupting spatial-temporal coordinates, or adopting a communal rather than singular authorial voice. In various film and slide installations, such as The Curves of the Needle (2003), for example, he manipulates sound to form a parallel ‘text’ to the visuals, where meaning is opened up by the unexpected slippage that occurs when the soundtrack is dislodged, changed or removed. His series of chandelier sculptures transform various forms of these potent symbols of material wealth – whether minimal, modernist masterpieces or coloured, Venetian glass antiques – into transmitters of flickering morse code. The code, which is dictated by an adjacent computer, is a translation of a text, fills the room with a captivating dance of light and shadow that appears like some kind of otherworldly communication.
His neon intervention presented at Tate Britain in 2017 was a significant step in the artist’s career.
The 2018 judging panel comprised Sarah Brown, Leeds Art Gallery senior curator; Martin Clark, Camden Arts Centre director; Margot Heller OBE, South London Gallery director; and Helen Legg, Tate Liverpool director. The prize was chaired by The Hepworth Wakefield director Simon Wallis OBE. The winner was picked from a shortlist of UK-based artists of different ages, at different stages of their careers. Wyn Evans follows inaugural recipient Helen Marten in 2016.
Images: Composition for 37 flutes (in two parts), 2018, by Cerith Wyn Evans, 37 crystal glass flutes, ‘breathing’ unit and valve system, plastic tubes, installation view at The Hepworth Wakefield. Photography: Stuart Whipps and Portrait of Cerith Wyn Evans. Courtesy of the artist.