In Between the Folds are Particles presents a conversation between contemporary artist, Anna Falcini, and the late Welsh artist, Gwen John, with a century having passed between them.

The exhibition features new work by Falcini that brings together film, drawing, photography, sound work and object based installation, borne out of five years of exploring archival material relating to John’s life in Wales and France.

Back in 2014, Falcini began researching her letters and diaries held at the Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru – National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth and in 2015 presented a modest exhibition in Oriel Davies’ Testbed space entitled Talking to Gwen. Bound within the archival materials, the particles of John’s life were apparent; her vulnerabilities, passions, doubts and artistic concerns and, despite the passage of a century, Falcini felt a particular connection.

In Gwen John’s lifetime, her brother Augustus John, also an artist, largely overshadowed his sister but John’s letters reveal that her life was rich and complex. Falcini became interested in the facets of John’s life as a woman living in Paris, in circumstances away from the usual domestic constraints and demands of that period, where she could pursue her artistic career. A number of themes emerged from both her letters and diaries, revealing her dedication to her artistic practice, her ‘interior’ life, her connection with the sea and her relationship with Auguste Rodin.

In Falcini’s quest to unravel the episodes of John’s life, she travelled to the locations that were key in shaping John’s story; Tenby, Paris and Dieppe. Far from gaining clarity, however, Falcini became immersed into the ‘multiplicities of meanings’1 that emerged from the narratives and spaces inhabited by John. John, became simultaneously absent and present, hovering like an aura, in the guise of ‘a shadow.’2

This year marks the 80th anniversary since Gwen John’s death.

  • Contexts: Exhibition
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