Sean Edwards


Sean Edwards, born in Cardiff 1980, graduated with an MA from the Slade School of Art in 2005, and is currently Programme Director for Fine Art & Photography at Cardiff School of Art and Design. 

Sean Edwards’ work investigates the sculptural and political potential of the everyday, often using remnants and fragments of previous activities as a starting point. In many of the works there is a sense of objects being in-progress, indeterminate and open to change. The work intertwines simple sculptural objects, mixed media installations and audio visual components with personal family and political histories. Edwards was recently awarded the 2020 Turner Prize Bursary for his installation Undo Things Done for the Welsh Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale, which addressed austerity, class, shame and loss.

The work responded to the artist's own experiences of growing up on a council estate, and included a live radio play produced with National Theatre Wales performed every day for 7 months by the artist's mother from her home in Cardiff. The radio play was later adapted for BBC Radio 4.

Edwards represented Wales at the 58th Venice Biennale (2019) and was awarded the Turner Prize Bursary in 2020. He has been selected for the British Art Show 9 and has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally. 

Forthcoming solo exhibitions include: Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin (2022), Tanya Leighton, Berlin (2021), and the continuation of the touring work for Wales in Venice: Undo Things Done, with presentations at Senedd, Cardiff.

Recent solo exhibitions include: Bluecoat, Liverpool; Ty Pawb, Wrexham (both 2020). Further solo exhibitions include: Netwerk, Aalst; Limoncello, London (both 2014); Chapter, Cardiff (2013); Kunstverein Freiburg (2012) and Spike Island (2011). His work has been included in group shows at Copperfield Gallery, London (2019); Limoncello, Woodbridge (2016); Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf (2016); Casa Museo Ivan Bruschi, Arezzo (2015); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2015); Transmission Gallery, Glasgow (2015); ); Standpoint Gallery, London (2012); 3rd Athens Biennale 2011; Lisson Gallery, London (2009); Tanya Bonakdar, New York (2007) and Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham (2007).

In addition to his exhibiting practice Edwards undertakes public artwork commissions and is currently producing two new works in Cambridge and Brecon (both UK). Previous commissions have included a large scale public artwork exploring space and sound for the University of South Wales, Cardiff (UK). 

Sean Edwards' published output includes artist's books, produced and distributed in the UK and internationally:'unununununun' (2021) published by Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, 'Undo Things Done' (2019), pub. Ty pawb, and Bluecoat Gallery; 'Gilfach Quilters' (2013), pub. Ffotogallery, Cardiff; 'For Lal (or Henry)' (2012), pub. The Block, London and 'Maelfa' (2010), pub. Bedford Press, London. 

Current Research

Current areas of research focus on an exploration of how sculpture and installation can be treated as a series of poetic fragments to evoke restructured narratives dealing with personal and cultural memories. The work uses and mines personal and social archives and imagery to develop the use of the fragment in sculpture/installation through a particular use and approach to materials and place with an expansion around the ideas of what sculpture and AV works are with regards to ‘the whole’. This was rooted in debates on the use of the poetic fragment across works and in relation to ‘place’ to create an installation whereby the viewer becomes intricately bound in the construction of meaning. A particular aspect that looked to develop these ideas is around an area concerning ‘liveness’ and how this can activate the fragmented moment.

Principal Publications, Exhibitions and Awards

Recent Solo Exhibitions and Commissions

• 2020 ‘as yet untitled’, Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin, IRL . 

• 2020 ‘Undo Things Done’, Ty Pawb, Wrexham, UK.

• 2020 ‘as yet untitled’, Bluecoat, Liverpool, UK.

• 2019 ‘Undo Things Done’, Wales in Venice/Cymru yn Fenis, representing Wales at the 58th Venice Biennale, IT.

• 2017 ‘\\\//\\\//\//\\\//\\\\//’, University of South Wales, Cardiff, UK (permanent public artwork).

• 2016 Sean Edwards, Recent Activity, Birmingham, UK.

• 2015 ‘Ghost Sign’, Cambridge, UK (permanent public artwork).

• 2015 ‘Just A Little Glass Of Water’, Trieze, Paris 2014 Still, Title Data Duration, Manchester, UK.

• 2015 ‘Drawn in Cursive’, Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno, UK.

• 2015 ‘Putting Right’, Limoncello Gallery, London, UK.

• 2013 ‘Drawn in Cursive’, Netwerk, Aalst, BE (catalogue).

• 2013 ‘Drawn in Cursive’, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, UK (catalogue).

• 2012 ‘Resting Through’, Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany.

• 2011 Remaining Only, Tanya Leighton, Berlin, DE.

• 2012 ‘Putting Right’, Limoncello, London, UK (catalogue).

• 2012 'Maelfa', Spike Island, Bristol, UK (catalogue).

• 2012 ‘Writing Small’, L’autonomie 9, Brussels, BE.

• 2010 'No dust adheres', Chapter, Cardiff, UK (cinema screening and book launch).

• 2010 ‘Myself alone again’, Enrico Fornello, IT.

• 2010 ‘For her at this moment’, Frank Elbaz, Paris, FR.

• 2010 ‘No dust adheres’, Outpost, Norwich, UK (catalogue).

Recent Group Exhibitions 

• 2019 ‘Olaph the Oxman’, Copperfield Gallery, London.
• 2016 ‘Harness your Hiraeth’, Perlico, Oriel Wrecsam, Wrexham, UK.
• 2016 ‘49a’, Limoncello, Woodbridge, UK.
• 2016 ‘This is Your Replacement’, Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf.

• 2016 ‘Good things come…’, The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art, Plymouth.

• 2015 ‘Resource’, Bluecoat, Liverpool.

• 2015 ‘Colmare il bocciolo/ combattere il verme/regolare il calore/eludere il vento/sfuggire all’ape’, Museo Casa Ivan Bruschi, Arezzo.
• 2015 ‘Finite Project Altered When Open’, David Dale Gallery & Studios, Glasgow.
• 2015 ‘Totemic; Polemic.,Caustic Coastal, Manchester, UK.
• 2015 ‘Un Nouveau Festival 2015: Air de jeu’, Centre Pompidou, Paris.
• 2015 ‘Life Like’, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow.
• 2014 ‘Des Choses en Cours – Things to Unfold’, Préface, Paris.
• 2012 This dialogue is fine but a decision is always an alone act. Concepts are never perfect, complete or exhausted. I want to make that fleeting moment permanent somehow. “Your errors are your key”. She made me believe in not linear projects, in parallel or secondary structures, in error and failure as a starting point. Sorry I’ve just realized I’m thinking about a different work., Noestudio, Madrid.
• 2012 ‘Painting-Versus-Object’, Standpoint Gallery, London.

• 2012 ‘Detective’ (curated by Adam Carr), Galerie Andreas Huber, Vienna.
• 2012 ‘The Man Don’t Give A Fuck’, Motorcade Flashparade, Bristol.
• 2012 ‘Malerei: Painting as Object’, Transition Gallery, London; Newbridge Project Space, Newcastle.
• 2012 ‘Finger’, Hidde van Seggelen Gallery, London.
• 2011 ‘Forth and Back’, Furnish Space, London.
• 2011 ‘Radical Autonomy 2’, Network, Aalst, BG.
• 2011 ‘Tool Use’, Oonagh, Dublin (catalogue).
• 2011 ‘In All Ways and Places’, Ollerplex Un-plex (curated by Melanie Counsell), Oriel Sycharth Gallery, Wrexham, Wales.

• 2011 ‘3rd Athens Biennale 2011 Monodrome’ (curated by Nicolas Bourriaud and X&Y), Athens
• 2011 ‘Limoncello Yellow’, The Bakery, Anna Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam
• 2010 ‘Pile’, Surface Gallery, Nottingham; Chapter, Cardiff15, S1, Sheffield
• 2010 ‘Fischgrätenmelkstand’ (curated by John Bock), Temporary Kunsthalle, Berlin (catalogue)
• 2010 ‘The Way We Do Art Now’ (curated by Pavel Büchler), Tanya Leighton, Berlin
• 2010 ‘Quantos Queres’, Galeria Marz, Lisbon
• 2010 ‘Field Project’ (Live Broadcast curated by Rebecca Birch and Rob Smith), Wysing Arts, Cambridge
• 2010 ‘A Stranger’s Window’, Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery, UK (project curated by MOOT as part of the Contemporary Art Society’s Centenary Programme)
• 2010 ‘A very, very long cat’, Wallspace Gallery, New York
• 2010 ‘We have the mirrors, we have the plans’, Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno, UK (catalogue)


• 'ununununun', Sean Edwards, Maria Fusco, Bluecoat, Liverpool, 2020

• 'Undo Things Done', Sean Edwards, Ty Pawb, Wrexham; Bluecoat, Liverpool; Cornerhouse Publications, 2019

• 'May You Live In Interesting Times', Ralph Rugoff, La Biennale de Venezia, Venice, 2019 (Biennale exhibition catalogue)

• 'Gilfach Quilters', Ffotogallery, Cardiff, 2013

• 'For Henry, or Lal', The Block, London, 2012

• 'The Roundel. 100 Artists Remake a London Icon', Art on the Underground TFL, 2012

• 'The Shape we're in', Zabludowicz Collection, London, 2011

• 'Maelfa', The Bedford Press, London, 2010

• 'We have the mirrors, we have the plans', Mostyn, Llandudno, 2010

• 'Sculpture at Canary Wharf: A Decade of Exhibitions', Canary Wharf Group, London, 2011.

• 'Nought to Sixty', Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2008

• 'One in the Other', g39, Cardiff, 2008

• '100 years, 100 artists, 100 works of art', Transport for London, London, 2008.

• 'Pilot 3', Pilot, London, 2007.

• 'Mostyn Open 2006', Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno, 2006


• 2020 Turner Prize Bursary
• 2014 Gold Medal, National Eisteddford
• 2013 Creative Wales Ambassadors Award, Arts Council of Wales
• 2010 Major Creative Wales Research Award, Arts Council of Wales
• 2009 The Elephant Trust Grant
• 2009 Safle Award
• 2008 International Opportunities Fund, Wales Arts International
• 2007 The Elephant Trust Grant
• 2007 Venice Travel Award, Wales Arts International
• 2004 Young Artist Scholarship, National Eisteddfod