“Simon Bedwell lives and works in London and was a founder member of the art group BANK (1991 – 2003), who made a series of sprawling installations involving their own work and others’ in independent gallery spaces including DOG and Gallerie Poo Poo, and in a mode which today might be called curation (it wasn’t, it was art). Since the group folded he has shown work ranging from altered found posters, through to installations of furniture, painting and décor made and found, through to large scale ceramics; the areas of concern have moved from pseudo-politics, through gender issues and more recently towards an interest in long-discredited ideas around originality, form and autonomy.”
During the artist talk, Simon Bedwell took us through a tour of his work starting from his political posters that were manipulated, pre-existing candidate posters from the 80’s. after, he – and others – started BANK which was an art group that found old buildings and out on shows that exhibited their own work and others including: known artists, unknown artists and students. The group explored how group shows differ from individual ones; Bedwell commented on how he preferred group shows as it built momentum and the variety provided more interesting dynamics.
A selection of work I found interesting and humorous was the ‘correction’ of the press releases that galleries wrote to represent BANK named ‘Faxbak’.
During the talk Bedwell played a few answerphone messages in response to the faxes that were both full of frustration yet simultaneously hilarious.
Following BANK, Bedwell collected tabloids, posters from pop culture and advertisements and painstakingly altered them with spray paint with text. In this body of work, Bedwell hopes to communicate something sinister whilst also hoping to communicate the possibility of parallel worlds. Although he recognises that some of the humour in the world may not maintain relevancy in this age.
Bedwell then went on to discuss his selection of works: “The Researchers” (which focused on the apparent need for work to have research), “The Furnishers” (which explored the difference between art and decor) and “The Receivers” (Which was a follow on from the room sets in the previous exhibition).
The final work he Bedwell discussed in the talk was his ceramic pieces that were misshaped pots and vases that he developed after his residency in Holland. These clay pieces were very interesting, often with elongated necks or blobs that were stacked on top of each other. Bedwell commented that his later work echoed his earlier pieces that he designed in his teens. This was particularly interesting to me as even throughout his broad body of work, Bedwell was drawn to his past: his work has a cyclical history.