In praise of Shadows…, by Welsh artist Cerith Wyn Evans, allows for a wide range of interpretations. On a basic level, it may be understood to pay tribute to the conditions of darkness necessary for the artist’s light works to be appreciated. The title of the piece echoes that of a well-known essay on traditional Japanese aesthetics by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. In it, the writer contrasts the West and East, suggesting that the former is concerned with light, and with attendant notions of clarity and regularity, while the latter is more interested in shadows – in subtlety and imperfection. In praise of Shadows… might also remind viewers of the importance of retreat from the hubbub of life in the 21st century.
Image: Cerith Wyn Evans, In praise of Shadows… (installation view), Michael Lett, 2014. Courtesy of Michael Lett, Hopkinson Mossman, White Cube, and the artist.