Photograph by Adrian Sherratt; Installation of Undo Things Done, 2019, Sean Edwards, © Jamie Woodley

Tŷ Pawb will be the first UK gallery to host a touring exhibition from one of the world’s most prestigious art shows early next year.

La Biennale in Venice is a huge art exhibition which takes place at venues across the famous Italian city every two years.

La Biennale is now in it’s 58th year. Since 2003 it has included Wales in Venice – a feature presentation from a selected Welsh artist.

Wales in Venice is designed to be a platform for visual art from Wales on the world’s most prestigious international stage.

This year’s Wales in Venice artist is Sean Edwards. His solo exhibition, Undo Things Done, has been on show a the beautiful Santa Maria Ausiliatrice church in Venice since May of this year.

If you’ve been watching the news recently you might have seen the dramatic scenes from Venice where unprecedented floods have affected huge parts of the city.

Unfortunately this meant that the Wales in Venice exhibition had to finish a few days early.

But don’t worry if you missed the chance to see the exhibition in Venice – it will soon be available to see somewhere a bit closer to home.

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A “landmark moment” for Tŷ Pawb and Wrexham

So how is Tŷ Pawb involved?

You may have read the fantastic news earlier this year that Tŷ Pawb had been chosen as lead organisation for this year’s Wales in Venice.

This means that the Wales in Venice 2019 exhibition, Undo Things Done, will be coming to Tŷ Pawb in February – the first UK venue on the exhibition’s tour.

This will be a landmark moment for Wrexham’s multi-award winning markets, arts and community facility.

The exhibition will be reconfigured from the very particular context of the Santa Maria Ausiliatrice in Venice, where artworks were installed across the interlocking rooms of the former convent, now school and community centre.

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.

Stay tuned for a national radio broadcast

A specially commissioned BBC Radio 4 broadcast produced by John Norton and Martin Williams will present an adapted version of Refrain on December 17 at 4pm.

Refrain is a co-production with National Theatre Wales performed by the artist’s mother Lily Edwards.

This radio play, which has been at the heart of the exhibition, has been performed daily during the Biennale, streamed from Lily’s flat in Cardiff to the Wales in Venice 2019 venue Santa Maria Ausiliatrice, Castello.

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.

Tŷ Pawb will be tuning into the broadcast, hosting a live community listening event.

This will be the first time Refrain will be heard across Wales and wider UK, listened to in domestic spaces via radios at home, mirroring the living room where Lily Edwards reads daily.

A “hugely symbolic moment”

Sean Edwards, Artist representing Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice 2019 said: “I’m delighted that the work produced for Wales in Venice will have the opportunity to be experienced by audiences in Wales and that the adaptation of Refrain, a work that has been at the heart of the installation in Venice, will be broadcast into people homes.

“It is an honour to be able to present this work on BBC Radio 4, and marks a fitting culmination to my mother’s generous commitment to daily performances for the duration of the Biennale.”

Jo Marsh, Creative Director of Tŷ Pawb, lead organisation for Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice 2019 said: “It has been a huge honour for Tŷ Pawb to be lead organisation for Wales in Venice this year, and we are looking forward to bringing Sean Edwards’ moving and poignant exhibition to Wrexham in February.

“The live national radio broadcast of Refrain will be aired across our Market Hall – a hugely symbolic moment for us, connecting Tŷ Pawb to the presentation in Venice and creating a prelude to the exhibition for our local audiences.”

Dates for your diary

  • BBC Radio 4 will broadcast Refrain on Tuesday, December 17 at 4pm.
  • Undo Things Done exhibition tour opens at Tŷ Pawb on Friday February 14, 2020. Exhibition runs until Sunday April 26 2020.
  • The exhibition then travels to Bluecoat, Liverpool, opening on Friday November 6, 2020 until 14 March, 2021.

Undo Things Done is presented by guest curator Marie-Anne McQuay together with lead organisation Tŷ Pawb and is commissioned by Arts Council of Wales, marking the ninth Biennale Arte presentation by Wales. National Theatre Wales are the co-producers of Refrain. The tour of Undo Things Done is kindly supported by Art Fund and Colwinston Charitable Trust.

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