To mark the original opening date of Sean Edwards’ exhibition, and to coincide with the artist’s new solo-show at Bluecoat, Liverpool, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios is pleased to host an online screening of Edwards’ film Maelfa (2011) until Saturday, 30 January 2021. Temple Bar Gallery + Studios is looking forward to continuing work with Sean Edwards to produce a new exhibition in Summer 2021.
Maelfa is a meditative silent film made by Sean Edwards as a study of the Maelfa Shopping Centre, Llanedeyrn, in the outskirts of Cardiff, near to where the artist grew up. Like many similar shopping precincts built in post-war UK, Maelfa was constructed alongside a concentrated area of council housing in the 1970s, and was intended to represent a utopian idea of communal living with its combined work, leisure and retail environment. What was once a bustling community hub fell into decline over the subsequent decades and, in 2009, Edwards undertook a residency ahead of the centre’s planned demolition. Due to the economic recession at that time, plans to develop Maelfa were put on hold and the centre continued to operate, with multi-million pound regeneration schemes proposed and withdrawn over the course of several years.
The film sites the viewer within the shops and cafes of the centre, caught between the reflections of the glass facades and the sparsely populated interiors. Rather than relaying a specific place and time, Edwards’ film restrains itself from social documentary. Instead, Maelfa is open-ended portrait of an everyday reality for many people, whose futures are vulnerable and their way of life uncertain. This peripheral perspective touches both the familiar and the distant, perfectly echoing the brutal modernity of the Maelfa Shopping Centre’s architecture, which remains a progressive ideal while being cemented in the past.
Publishing is an important element of Edwards’ practice and a new booklet, unununununun, has been produced on the occasion of his exhibition, Undo Things Done, at Bluecoat, Liverpool. Two new texts by Maria Fusco and Kim McAleese run adjacent to details from Edwards’ artwork ‘in parallel with the past’ (2020). The book is edited by the exhibition’s curator Marie-Anne McQuay, designed by Daly & Lyon, with thanks to Adam Smythe. It is available to purchase here.
Sean Edwards represented Wales at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019 and Maelfa is included in the Bluecoat, Liverpool, exhibition of ‘Undo Things Done’ as part of the Wales in Venice tour. Edwards was awarded the Turner Prize Bursary in 2020 and has been selected for the British Art Show 9 (2021-22). He has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally; past exhibitions include Ty Pawb, Wrexham, 2020; Netwerk Aalst and Limoncello, London (both 2014); Chapter, Cardiff (2013); Kunstverein Freiburg (2012); Spike Island, Bristol (2011). Edwards is Programme Director for Fine Art at Cardiff School of Art and Design.