White Cube Hong Kong is pleased to present its first exhibition with Cerith Wyn Evans. Wyn Evans' conceptual practice incorporates a wide range of media including installation, sculpture, photography, film and works on paper. For this exhibition, the artist has used an inscription from the tombstone of American poet and writer Frank O'Hara as the title and inspiration of his exhibition. The inscription reads: ‘Grace to be born and live as variously as possible’, a tender and celebratory epitaph, which could equally be considered as a subtitle to everyday life, evoking a desire to be open to possibilities and alternative adventures.
In the first floor gallery, Wyn Evans has installed a group of four, new, crystal chandeliers that create a sense of theatrical occasion and an infinite world of interpretations. Clustered together, the chandeliers seem to be 'breathing' since their lights flicker on and off in different pulses. Each chandelier has been orchestrated to react to the beat of a particular piece of music such as Gimme Shelter (1969) by The Rolling Stones or Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 (Adagio) (1902), turning these once decorative objects into phenomenological machines; a choir of different personalities and rhythms. The chandeliers create their own mellifluous language that suggests a fantastical structure of communication with intimations of an otherworldly presence or an improbable séance.
Wyn Evans frequently includes quotations from iconic literary sources in his work as raw material for future thought or as a way to reinvigorate original ideas. In the second floor gallery, a large neon text sprawls across the gallery, spelling out the phrase: ‘Things are conspicuous in their absence…’. The text points to the ability of language to create moments of rupture and delight, where romantic longing, desire and reality conjoin and invite us to pay attention to the absence of things, to the emptiness between objects, words or thoughts. In the corner of the gallery, alongside the neon, three potted plants, indigenous to Hong Kong, slowly revolve on three turntables. Plant Revolution (2012) adds an element of nature to the exhibition, exploring ideas of spatial intervention through a different kind of non-technological material. Movement is translated through the plants, turning them into intangible objects that are both sculptural, real and prop-like at the same time.
Cerith Wyn Evans lives and works in London. In 2011 he was commissioned by the Vienna State Opera to design the safety curtains for 2011-12 opera season. Recent solo exhibitions include De La Warr Pavillion, East Sussex (2012), Kunsthall Bergen (2011), Tramway, Glasgow (2009), Inverleith House, Edinburgh (2009), MUSAC, Leon (2008), Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris (2006) and Kunsthaus Graz (2005). In 2009 he collaborated with Florian Hecker and Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary on ‘No night No day’ at the 53rd ‘Venice Biennale’ and has also participated in the ‘Moscow Biennial’ (2011), ‘Aichi Triennale’ (2010), the ‘Yokohama Triennale’ (2008), the ‘International Istanbul Biennial’ (2005) and the ‘Venice Biennale’ (2003).