The name of Garth Evans has been in the air around Cardiff as of late. The Cheshire born sculpture shook the Welsh capital in 1972, when he chose it for the Peter Stuyvesant City Sculpture project. 16 new sculptures were placed around eight UK cities, turning many an unprepared head. This piece is to return to our city after decades of neglect, hidden away from the public. Though I would have had loved to have seen the return of this untitled sculpture first (we’ve been told it shall return next week), we prick up our ears for The Cardiff Tapes.
Writer Leila Philip has gathered together Garth’s original Vox pops and formulated a brief and insightful show about art, the meaning behind it and how we choose to see it. More specifically, this companion piece shines a light on the typical public’s perception of contemporary art. The first man to respond remarks: “There’s not much beauty in it. I can’t see no beauty at all in that”. Most who chose to comment are unsure of the piece, highly critical of its invading properties. The harsh, black behemoth turning up one night to haunt The Hayes for six months appeared to have a lot of use by children treating it as a playground and even a place to graffiti racist bile upon. The whole point of the work should be to make you question its purpose and also the space it’s within. I could go on about The Death of Author but I won’t, Garth’s character seen here only clutching his voice recorder, with considerate facial expression here and there.
This short and sweet staging by Wayne Vincent and Everyman captures the essence of our city with a plucky charm, the show having multi interludes of archive photos and music, a head nostalgia trip for anyone who cares to remember. The efforts of the ensemble evoke cheery and wacky locals from yesteryear, mostly perplexed as to why this work of art is inconveniencing them. Through all the buzz kill, lies the odd insight that remains thoughtful, this positivity emerging only in flashes. One man finds true artistic value in its creation and another character on the phone, finds herself returning to the sculptures, saying more about our desire for “the new”.
I look forward to seeing the work in person and adding my own insights, encouraging others to do the same.
The Cardiff Tapes continues at Chapter Arts Centre till 21st September.
Garth Evans’ Untitled sculpture will return to The Hayes, Cardiff on 25th September 2019 till 18th March 2020. His exhibition Hands, But Have Eyes continues at Chapter till 26th January 2020.
Photo Credit: Chapter Arts Centre Website