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Bedwyr Williams

My Bad

16 May — 8 July 2012

Ikon and Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, in partnership with Mission Gallery, Swansea, present a new exhibition by Bedwyr Williams, his most comprehensive show to date.

Williams observes the world with a sharp eye and wry humour. His work includes a wide range of media, including performance, sculpture, painting and photography. Drawing on his own personal narratives and family histories – from school days in a North Wales farming community to his experiences as an artist-in-residence – Williams has become known for sculpture and performance work reflecting on rural life, loss, memory and the folly of ambition.

My Bad draws its title from an American vernacular phrase for admitting fault. The exhibition is comprised largely of newly commissioned installation and sculptural pieces, marking a departure from the artist’s previous concerns with Wales and ‘Welshness’. Visitors to Ikon are first greeted by Ikon Under Siege (2012), which transforms the gallery’s entrance with piles of sandbags and taped-up windows, invoking a moment of bombardment or a wartime siege; a comment on the recent funding cuts experienced by a number of arts organisations. At the top of the second-floor stairs, Williams has installed an upturned Sentry Box (2012), at once candy-striped, militaristic and vaguely sinister. Suggestions of disruption and inversion continue once inside the gallery space, with a precariously balanced lamp post tearing through a pavement awning in The Heron (2012) and an exploded kiln with shards of pots scattered about in Shitrunes (2012).

Typically, Williams ensures these scenes of disaster are shot through with humour – his work Liebesgarten (2012) sees two electric toothbrushes sing a duet by Schumann whilst elsewhere a vitrine houses Square Wig (2012), a wig made for a completely square head. Williams’ work reveals a gently sardonic reflection on the human condition, perhaps giving us the sense that both art and life are most true when the best laid plans go awry.

My Bad tours to Mission Gallery, Swansea from 17 November 2012 – 6 January 2013.

A full colour catalogue, priced £17, accompanies the exhibition with an  interview between the artist and Mark Beasley, Curator, Performa, New York and an essay by Karen MacKinnon, Exhibitions Officer, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, annotated by Bedwyr Williams. Williams has also produced a limited edition screenprint titled My Bad, priced £80, edition of 100 and a limited edition badge, priced £2.

Bedwyr Williams’ exhibition My Bad is supported by The Henry Moore Foundation, the Arts Council of Wales and Amey working in partnership with Birmingham City Council.