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Sean Edwards 'Undo Things Done'

  • Sat, 05 Dec 2020 - Sun, 21 Feb 2021
  • 11.00 AM - 4.00 PM

Sean Edwards, Undo Things Done, installation view February 2020, Ty Pawb, Wrexham. Wales in Venice tour. 

Bluecoat is delighted to bring 2020 Turner Bursary artist Sean Edwards’ Wales in Venice solo show Undo Things Done to Liverpool. The artist’s internationally acclaimed presentation for Wales at the 2019 Venice Biennale was a poetic inquiry into place, politics and class, intertwined with personal histories. As the show tours and evolves, Sean Edwards (b. Cardiff 1980) has extended the exhibition to present new works at Bluecoat.

Known for his sculptural approach to the everyday, Edwards often begins with seemingly unrelated elements linked by autobiographical and cultural connections. These range from the 1970s shopping centre near the housing estate where he grew up, to Springsteen’s album Nebraska, a Welsh quilting group, snooker, tabloid newspapers, and various found materials. 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.

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. 

At Bluecoat Edwards will create an expanded version of Undo Things Done spanning two of the largest gallery spaces. The exhibition will feature key artworks exhibited in Venice including the ‘Confessional Screen’ sculptures and his own version of Welsh wholecloth quilts, alongside new prints, a new public art work and a re-edited version of his radio play Refrain

Refrain, co-produced by National Theatre Wales, was written for the artist’s mother Lily Edwards and streamed live from her flat in Cardiff to the venue in Venice everyday of the Biennale. 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. The work was subsequently broadcast in a new version by BBC Radio 4 December 2019. A new edit will be presented at Bluecoat in the gallery that suits the duration of a day set by gallery opening hours.

The artist will also show a significant older work, the silent film Maelfa (2011). Set in the now demolished 1970s shopping centre on the Llanedeyrn estate where he grew up, this film is a precursor to his presentation in Venice: Undo Things Done reunited with its origins. 

Undo Things Done is open Wed - Sun, 11am - 4pm. Free entry, booking is recommended wiith some tickets available on the door. 

About the artist

Sean Edwards was born in Cardiff in 1980 and graduated from Cardiff School of Art & Design before studying an MA in sculpture at Slade School of Fine Art. Edwards returned to Wales in 2005 where he has since contributed to the development of the Welsh artistic landscape through his own artistic practice and supporting the development of emerging artists via artist-led space g39 and now as Course Director of Fine Art & Photography at Cardiff School of Art and Design, Cardiff Metropolitan University. Edwards has exhibited widely, nationally and internationally, including Spike Island, Bristol; Chapter, Cardiff and Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany. In 2019 he represented Wales at La Biennale di Venezia with his’ presentation Undo Things Done receiving 25,000 visitors during the run of La Biennale di Venezia. In 2020 he was selected for British Art Show 9 and awarded a Turner Prize Bursary. 

Sean Edwards is represented by Tanya Leighton, Berlin. 

Artist’s website:

Wales in Venice 2019 project website:

Maelfa, 2011

Wales in Venice is commissioned and managed by Arts Council of Wales and Wales Arts International, with support and collaboration from the Welsh Government. Wales in Venice is selected by an open call for proposals. Arts Council of Wales has commissioned artists to present at Wales in Venice as a Collateral Event of the International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia since 2003, celebrating the best of emerging and established artists from Wales. Previous artists include Sean Edwards, Bedwyr Williams, Helen Sear and James Richards.


Credits and Funders 

Sean Edwards’ Wales in Venice 2019 Undo Things Done exhibition was presented by Bluecoat’s Head of Programme, Marie-Anne McQuay, as guest curator on behalf of lead organisation Ty Pawb, Wrexham at 58th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia. Wales in Venice is commissioned by the Arts Council of Wales. The tour of Undo Things Done to Ty Pawb, Wrexham; Bluecoat, Liverpool (Lead Partner) and the Senedd, Cardiff is kindly supported by Art Fund, Colwinston Charitable Trust and Elephant Trust.  


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