Sean Edwards is to represent Cymru yn Fenis/Wales in Venice at the 58th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2019.

Commissioned and managed by Arts Council of Wales through a grant from the Welsh Government, the 2019 exhibition will be led by the arts centre Tŷ Pawb (formerly Oriel Wrecsam) in collaboration with curator Marie-Anne McQuay.

Exploring social class and the everyday, Edwards will create a new body of work for the show that draws on his experiences in 1980s Cardiff of growing up on a council estate that lay on the outskirts of the city.

A graduate of Cardiff School of Art & Design and the Slade School of Art, Edwards’ practice spans sculpture, film, video, photography, books and performance. Represented by Tanya Leighton Gallery in Berlin, he has exhibited internationally and is currently undertaking public art commissions with Future City in Cambridge and Studio Response in Cardiff.

The artist is also known for his support for emerging artists, first as part of Cardiff’s artist-led g39 and now as a lecturer in Fine Art at Cardiff School of Art and Design.

“I am delighted to have been selected to represent Wales in Venice,” said Edwards. “To have the opportunity to produce the exhibition I proposed during the selection process is one thing in itself. To be able to do this under the banner of Cymru yn Fenis/Wales in Venice is an opportunity almost beyond belief.”

McQuay has previously curated Edwards’ work at the Bluecoat, Liverpool, where she is currently head of programme, and also at Spike Island, Bristol.

She said: “Edwards is one of Wales’ and the UK’s leading artists under forty and I know that he will realise an exhibition which will resonate in the contemporary moment. Our enduring partnership with Tŷ Pawb will also give the project depth and reach within Wales and beyond.”

The Venice Biennale 2019 runs from 11 May to 24 November 2019

1. Sean Edwards, historic activity, Recent Activity, Birmingham School of Art, November 2016. Photo: Andrew Lacon

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