This month we look at the work of Welsh artist Sean Edwards, whose solo exhibition for Wales in Venice, Undo Things Done, is currently on show as part of the 58th Venice Biennale.
Known for his sculptural approach to the everyday, Edwards (b.1980) often begins with seemingly unrelated elements linked by autobiographical and cultural connections. Through investigative processes including time spent in local archives, museums and libraries, he gathers together images, stories, quotes, and clips. It is in the teasing out of these things in the studio, in isolating, abstracting, and bringing them together, that their political and formal resonance comes into play.
Edwards’ Arts Council Collection film, Maelfa, 2010 (pictured), is one of a number of works produced during a residency undertaken by the artist in 2009 at the Maelfa shopping centre in Llanedeyrn on the outskirts of his hometown of Cardiff. Built in the 1970s around a block of high-rise flats in a council estate, the Maelfa shopping centre was once a well-used and popular institution, before falling into disrepair and was, at the time of the Edwards’ residency, the subject of a multi-million pound regeneration scheme. Meditative and sombre, Maelfa reflects both on the disappearance of once vibrant communities, and failed utopian aspirations.