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DRAF + MOSTYN: She sees the shadows (13 Jul – 4 Nov 2018 at MOSTYN, Llandudno, Wales)

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On display at MOSTYN, Llandudno, Wales.

Tues – Sun, 10.30am–4pm. Free, all welcome.

Artists to be announced shortly.

“She sees the shadows… she even counts the tree-trunks along a promenade by the shadows, but sees nothing of the shape of things.”*

In 1886, a 22-year-old woman in Lyon saw the world around her for the first time. Objects that had been instantly recognisable by touch were hard to distinguish with her new sight, and shadows appear more concrete than solid forms. Testimonies by the patient and her doctors describe the sudden strangeness of familiar environments, and her singular experience of the world as a newly sighted person.

The patient’s experiences were recorded by Marius Von Senden in his book Space and Sight alongside similar cases of regained sight spanning from 1020 to 1932. These captivating accounts have influenced writers, including Maggie Nelson who quotes a 13-year-old patient’s description of her first view of a hand in her poem Something Bright, Then Holes. These descriptions of patterns of shadows and brightness express how something familiar, when seen in a new way, can show a previously unacknowledged beauty.

This exhibition explores shifts in perception of objects and materials from contemporary daily life. The artists in this exhibition have looked again at day-to-day objects in unexpected ways, and invite viewers to see alternative qualities and narratives therein. On the occasion of the exhibition, artists and writers are invited to re-examine familiar items, and to write about the emotional, material or political narratives they see in them.

The works are drawn from a long-standing collection, but in each exhibition generate new relationships and dialogues, making visible different ideas that shaped them.

*M. Von Senden (trans. P. Heath), Space and Sight: the perception of space and shape in the congenitally blind before and after operation, 1932, Methuen & Co. Ltd.: London, 1960.


She sees the shadows is a collaboration between DRAF and MOSTYN, curated by Olivia Leahy (DRAF) and Adam Carr (MOSTYN).

MOSTYN presents international art and culture of our time, activating people’s lives through exhibitions, cultural programmes and commercial activities. Situated in the coastal town of Llandudno, it is Wales’ foremost contemporary gallery and visual arts centre, serving as a place to form and share new perspectives through artistic/curatorial practice and audience engagement.

MOSTYN is part of the Plus TATE, the UK-wide contemporary visual art network. MOSTYN (Mostyn Gallery Limited) is a registered charity in England and Wales (number: 507842) and receives financial support from the Arts Council of Wales.

12 Vaughan Street
LL30 1AB
Wales UK

Started in the mid 1990s, the David Roberts Collection currently comprises over 2,000 works. It focuses on contemporary art but also includes some modern works. It is not focused on a specific medium, generation or geographical area. The Collection is an evolving archive of forms and concepts. Works from the Collection are regularly exhibited by DRAF (David Roberts Art Foundation) and internationally within exhibitions at other institutions.

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  • Magali Reus, Parking (Legs At Eye Level), 2014. 
Courtesy the Artist and David Roberts Collection. Photo: Plastiques.
    1/2Magali Reus, Parking (Legs At Eye Level), 2014. Courtesy the Artist and David Roberts Collection. Photo: Plastiques.
  • MOSTYN Llandudno facade.
    2/2MOSTYN Llandudno facade.