Gavin(1), head in hands, faces the multitude of possibilities that the chess game in front of him offers. Each figure, simple shapes that identify the use to which they are assigned, stand ready to play their roles. Hence, move after move new potentialities are emerging.
In the same way, Sean Edwards plays his own versions of chess on a daily scale. Edwards' objects and images, displayed in an exhibition space reveal the potentiality of installation and point towards the incessant moving around of ‘things’ trying to find the right place, the right moment. What happens when something just slips, and allows in the objects sat alongside each other, an uncovering of a new meaning? Here is the turn of the viewer!
For Writing Small, Sean Edwards focuses on these small narrations that objects can provide us. The exhibition, Edwards’ first show in Belgium, uses new works with older ones to create new meanings by showing together small sculptures, painting, photography and video. The viewer is invited to confront various forms of writing. Writing in its most literal case when Edwards’ inscribed in vinyl letters the declaration “I saw rock and roll future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen.”(2) that Jon Landau made in 1974, when he was contributing writer t o Rolling Stone magazine and Springsteen was at the beginning of his career. By using this sentence, what interests the artist is the idea of a proclamation. These few words put together had a certain meaning when Landau pronounced them, but they also had another when Springsteen’s management reused them to promote him. Used now, what does it mean to have it using the past to predict a future that is already past? The syntaxic rule is no longer available.
For Edwards, the present is simultaneously haunted by the past and the future, and that's the way that stories can exist. All his small sculptures are full of promises. Most of theses objects appear to be primarily refuse, found objects with their own lives. Removed from their original context to be presented in an exhibition space, they lose their practical use to generate a more poetical way for seeing them. Edwards operates little actions on them. Whether to add a solid colour of paint on the edge of a piece of scrap wood or even fill the interstices of a piece of cardboard with small squares of paper cut from magazines, it is almost imperceptible. And it is these little shifts that allow us to write our own versions. But nothing tells us that certain sculptures have not been created entirely and might not be what we think they are, opening them up a little bit more.
Writing Small could work as a sentence by arranging all together these small works, but a sentence with no specific meaning predicted. Each one is allowed to project their own personal mythologies to activate them, writing each time a different way. Maybe something like the way it should have been(3)... or not!
(1) Sean Edwards, 217,000 million years or The photograph is the picture of a poster that was the invitation and the title of the exhibition, 2010, Framed C-Print.
(2) Sean Edwards, I saw something else (Wall edition), 2011, Vinyl letters on wall.
(3) Sean Edwards, Maybe Something Like The Way It Should Have Been, 2008, C-Type Print.
List of works:
Maybe something like the way it should have been, C-Type Print, 2008
Untitled (L’autonomie 9), Rolled Photocopy, 2011
Painting of a photocopied dolls house paper (with spill), Household Paint on Paper, 2009
Untitled, household paint on oak, 2011
Untitled, Quilters tape, inkjet print and nail, 2008
217,000 million years or the photograph is the picture of a poster that was the invitation and the title of the exhibition, archival giclee print, 2010
Untitled, Cardboard and Magazine Cuttings, 2010
I saw something else (wall edition), vinyl lettering on wall, 2011 Untitled, Pine, masking tape and graphite, 2007
Untitled, watercolour and masking tape on paper and card, 2007 Tissue, single channel HD video loop, 2011
A solo show by Sean Edwards
Curated by Nicolas de Ribou
L’autonomie 9, Brussels (BE)
Exhibition from February 26 until March 20, 2011