Planned itinerary as follows:
00.00-01.00 Wellington from Mount Vic Lookout
Feeling that every one of the 24 hours should count, Bedwyr Williams’ contribution to the ONE DAY SCULPTURE series brings us the intrepid union of motor-sports and art. Williams’ work takes the form of an art gumball rally around Wellington, a rally where he was the only contestant. Requiring exceptional endurance, during this event he attempted to complete 24 paintings in 24 hours traveling from location to location in a used station wagon.
While producing his ONE DAY SCULPTURE project, Williams drew on the quirky banalities of his own autobiographic existence – an extraordinarily tall Welsh man and artist arriving in New Zealand for the first time. He spent his research time trawling the streets of Wellington to map out a one-man marathon, and following that attempted an epic and mobile reproduction of his encounters and experiences of life in Wellington. The results of his intense art rally accumulated by the hour, stored in a rack on the roof of the car to speed up the drying process.
The curator of Le ‘Welsh’ Man’s 24hour Siv B. Fjærestad notes: “There is a sense of something aspiring to beauty that is produced by an object moving at speed. This is found in the pulsating exchange of cars, bikes, or running bodies in a race as they alternate rankings and speeds.” Fjærestad suggests that this can be seen as a parable for humankind’s eternal quest for achievement and success. “Williams brings this quest to the local dust and grit of greater Wellington. His observations of unexceptional, everyday incidents and our cherished landmarks will call attention to social idiosyncrasies specific to New Zealand, and with his subtle self-deprecation he has the tools to question parochialism, cultural snobbery and the quirks of how we see ourselves.”
With no particular set of rules for this activity – is it art or sport, or both – the tension builds and the rules formed as a result of the journey. Williams’ tackling of the simultaneous predicability and random chance of daily events produced a sense of ridiculous urgency and some form of radical tourism.
Finally, Fjærestad notes “the project can be viewed equally as a race against the limitations of art itself, or being an artist today and the pressure of applying an artistic/anthropological observation to place and locality.”
Le ‘Welsh’ Man’s 24 hour is commissioned by Enjoy Public Art Gallery. Curated by Siv B. Fjærestad. The project is realised with the generous support of Wales Art International, The British Council, Wellington City Council Public Art Fund and Creative New Zealand
Bedwyr Williams, Count Pollen, 2006, performance, digital images, Ikebukuro, Tokyo.
Seven Samurai, Grizedale Arts
Bedwyr Williams was born in St Asaph, north Wales in 1974 and spent his formative years in Colwyn Bay. He graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Central St Martins College of Art & Design in 1997, followed by a postgraduate course at Ateliers, Arnhem. He now lives and works in north Wales, in Rhostryfan near Caernarfon.
Williams makes and uses videos, photography, performance, drawing, text and occasionally stand up comedy. His practice is autobiographical and is often a response to some long held hang-ups or issues. The work uses characters and narrative. Characters include the Dinghy King an inflatable tourist shaman who formed his own Cargo Cult to lure holiday-makers back to the crumbling holiday resorts of North Wales. Tyranny of the Meek was a revenge attack by railway modelers on a snooker club, vandalizing the tables and very carefully laying track across the baize.
Bedwyr Williams was awarded the prestigious Paul Hamlyn Award for Visual Art in 2004 and in 2005 was one of the artists who represented Wales at the Venice Biennale. In 2006 he was shortlisted for the Beck's Futures Prize, exhibited at the ICA, London.