Artists / Bedwyr Williams

Williams

Grizedale’s history is littered with the presence of Bedwyr Williams. This attempt to sum it all up is an inadequate and brief account at best.

The final leg of 2003’s 'Roadshow' tour travelled to Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales. For the festival’s last incarnation Bedwyr joined the show and created ‘Blaenau Vista Social Club’, a customised caravan in which he worked and slept. The local kids eyed the activities taking place in their sports-ground with undisguised suspicion, and after three days of terrorising the artists and numerous attempts to push over Bedwyr’s caravan they had no choice but to turn to their final resort, arson. The burning down of the educational tent swiftly brought an end to any kind of revelry and the circus packed up and left town.

Soon after Bedwyr travelled to Grizedale for 'Lets Get Married Today', setting up shop in a corner of the car park displaying his collection of ‘Love-Spoons’, a Welsh tradition that shy Welsh boys employed in the hope of attracting a wife impressed by their wood carving prowess. Suffice to say Bedwyr had no takers that afternoon.

The following year he began to develop a project as a pre-cursor to ‘Romantic Detachment’ (2004) called ‘Satterthwaite Night Live’, an open mike comedy talent competition staged in the Eagle’s Head pub in the village of Satterthwaite. The event was linked up to a comedy club in New York, the intention being that New York comics could compare and contrast their routines with those of the Cumbrian contestants. For the PS1 exhibition of 'Romantic Detachment', he presented a character called ‘The Dinghy King’. Living in the corners of other people’s holiday snaps, he was a vinyl-suited malcontent who recounted memories of miserable summer holidays spent in Colwyn Bay.

For the 2006 Liverpool Biennial, Grizedale Arts produced a weekend of live activity as a representation of its current projects, addressing the issue of regeneration and cultural change in places of heightened sensitivity: the Lake District; Egremont, Cumbria; Nanling, China; Echigo-Tsumari, Japan; Lausanne, Switzerland and Liverpool itself. The weekend was concluded with memorable performances from a number of contributors including Bedwyr, joined by Nina Pope & Karen Guthrie in their Tudor personae.

This followed from Bedwyr’s participation in the 2006 project 'Seven Samurai'. Williams - a late edition to the artists involved in the project - joined the gang in Tokyo and performed at Ikebukero Festival as his new persona 'Count Pollen' (a character he invented after hearing that 80% of children in Tokyo suffer from hayfever).