Let there be light at the People’s Palace

David Rhodes
David Rhodes
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Cerith Wyn Evans, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill. Until June 10

THE new exhibition at the De La Warr Pavilion is “a love letter to the building” from artist Cerith Wyn Evans.

It is certainly likely to illicit strong reaction from visitors to the newly spartan galleries who might wonder – is this art? Or really amazing light fittings?

The show opened at the weekend and could not be more different from the previous exhibition, “Warhol Is Here”, which erupted with its noisy blast of colour, celebrity and glamour in this quiet seaside town.

This is a different experience comprising just seven pieces and a mix of light and text which has the effect of enhancing the DLWP itself, according to curator David Rhodes.

He said: “This is all about stripping back the space and returning to the original form of the architecture.

“When the DLWP was opened it was described as The People’s Palace, and a great part of that was coming here and enjoying being here and watching other people.

“Warhol was a very well known artist, but this is a much more challenging show. It is very beautiful but we are asking people to do some work in bringing their own interpretation. It is all about you.” The ground floor space is dominated by neon text the meaning of which only becomes apparent by reading the reflection in the window, with words seeming to hover in the sea air above the Colonnade outside.

Upstairs are three huge and impressive columns of light which dim and grow bright, in slow rhythmic sweeps.

Cerith Wyn Evans is a conceptual artist who was caught on the sudden wave of British art in the early 1990s that turned artists into household names.

“His work is beautiful and evocative,” said David, “and much of it uses text and quotes from poetry and novels, but there is also this pleasure in the breakdown of communication, the glitches and the failures.

“Cerith’s personality runs through this. What I love about his work is it is incredibly beautiful aesthetically but not cold or over-intellectual. It is passionate and emotional, and I think that is a wonderful combination.”