The following text was written by Emma Geliot to accompany the ‘Lucent Lines’ exhibition at Newport Museum. January 2010
A Light Touch
Simon Fenoulhet’s work takes many forms, but there is a common thread that runs thought much of it. It’s the pursuit of this thread that takes his work in so many different directions: He looks for magic in the simple, the ordinary, the practical-by-design.
He could be using bricks, drawing pins, cocktail stirrers, teaspoons. He could find something new like electro-luminescent wire, as he does in this exhibition, or shoe laces. In his hands they take on a new life, become something other than the function they were designed to perform.
A shoelace stands in for a charcoal line. The fuzzy edges mimic the roughly drawn line, subverting what could be a straight geometrical exercise into something more poetic.
The wire, which looks simple enough, has been programmed to react to a computer programme, so that it pulses with light, in a carefully structured sequence. Threaded with brightly coloured drinking straws, which wiggle the straight lines of the wires, the piece glows like neon. It is simply magical and you don’t need to understand the complicated technology behind it to say, “ooh!”
Simon studied Fine Art at Newport College of Art (as University of Wales Newport was) and now he teaches there. In between he has managed an MA in Fine Art at Cardiff College of Art (now UWIC) and been Deputy Director of Cywaith Cymru . Artworks Wales, the National organisation for public art in Wales, which became Safle. He now works with Celfwaith, managing public art commissions. He is also an accomplished musician, which shows in the rhythms that dance through his work
Light has been significant in much of what Simon does. He has brought a gallery-in-waiting to life by night; made a wall see-through; created a glowing universe of LED-lit ping-pong balls and lit up a church. For his Arts Council of Wales Creative Wales Award, he went looking for darkness in the potholes and caves of South Wales. Wriggling through tiny cracks with his camera, he found new ways to record the places where the sun never shines.
But the most poignant thing about Simon’s work is that, without a commission, someone wanting to show it, it doesn’t really exist. The ping pong balls would still be in their boxes, the wire and shoelaces coiled and the straws just so many slurping implements.
As someone who has managed umpteen public art commissions, and made a fair few himself, Simon understands that art is only as interesting as its audience is interested. He really wants to communicate the sense of wonder that he first feels when he sees the potential in a humdrum object, or discovers some new techno- wizardry that can change people’s perceptions about the ordinary things around them.
Simon’s work has a gentle humour and a sympathetic approach. He helps us to re-evaluate the things that we take for granted in our day-to-day life and to see them through new eyes. Everything has possibilities.
Gold medals for artists
BBC from the Maes
An artist who creates artwork from light tubes and laces, has been awarded the Gold Medal for Fine Art at the 2010 Blaenau Gwent & Heads of the Valleys National Eisteddfod of Wales...
Gold Medals for Fine Art and Craft and Design awarded
By Laura Chamberlain
Simon Fenoulhet and Natalia Dias have been awarded the Gold Medals for Fine Art and Craft and Design respectively at the 2010 National Eisteddfod of Wales...
Simon Fenoulhet creates installations made of mass produced objects that are often in themselves mundane and pretty uninteresting – In past works he has used teaspoons, bits of plastic, ping pong balls and old furniture...
What you see….
by Emma G Eliot, Art & Journalism from Wales
Newport Museum and Art Gallery has just been transformed into somewhere magical as it hosts Cardiff artist Simon Fenoulhet’s latest offering Lucent Lines, which opened last Saturday (30 January) and runs until 3 April...
Eisteddfod medal for artist who ‘delights in re-presenting banal everyday objects and materials’
by Karen Price, Western Mail
AN artist who creates artwork from light tubes and laces has been awarded the coveted Gold Medal for Fine Art at the National Eisteddfod...
Lucent Lines is a site specific light installation created to make the most of the unique temporary exhibitions space at Newport. As well as two other works (hollow promise and line upon line) the exhibition will feature Curtain, a 9 metre wall of shifting light made from 448 electro-luminescent wire and 5000 plastic drinking straws...
A multi-venue biennial arts festival, taking place in Norwich from July 14 to August 31 2007, promises to showcase the best of international contemporary art and put Norwich firmly on the cultural map...
Light Installation at Glynn Vivian, Swansea
Blog January 2006 - AndyPryke.com, Tue 17 Jan 2006
Visiting Swansea for a couple of days, I popped in to the Glynn Vivian gallery on the recommendation of a friend and found a wonderful exhibition by local artist Simon Fenoulhet...
By Caroline Juler, Galleries Magazine Feb 10
Newport Museum & Art Gallery is relatively small in scale but that doesn’t affect the scope of its shows. For its latest venture, Simon Fenoulhet has designed a site-specific light installation...
ABBEY TO GO UP IN LIGHTS
By Celia Wigg, Wymondham and Attleborough Mercury May 2007
COLOURED lights will be used to transform Wymondham Abbey’s ruined east tower into a highly visible landmark at nights as part of this year’s 900th anniversary celebrations...