artist / participant
As a young boy on the cusp of manhood, Bedwyr Williams became a member of his local Model Railway Club, situated in a large shed in a small village in North Wales. The evenings he lolled away there amongst the spur lines, junctions and miniature trees, provided Williams with his first taste of the rites of manhood. "It was actually at the club listening to the older members that I started drinking coffee properly," Williams recalls. "A few members would congregate by the kettle, and chairs would be drawn up. They would talk about people that I didn't know but even so I still laughed when they recalled an anecdote or two about Railway Exhibitions from long ago."
But as with life, the sweet pleasure derived from simple pastimes was fleeting. Williams' face darkens as he recalls, "These congenial evenings were tempered by a dark force: we shared the building with a snooker club." Cue-wielding muscular men who drank lager instead of instant coffee populated this other, larger part of the shed. Each model-railway enthusiast had to deferentially pass by the snooker tables on the way to their back part of the hall. "We had to wait for shots to be taken even if the shot was being taken on the other side of the table. It was a bit like a threatening manned level crossing with cue barriers," Williams recalls ruefully. "I'm not sure how I knew that the snooker players looked down on us but I remember noticing that some of our adult members were a little scared of them."
For Williams, a wider issue is at stake ? that of the policed stratas of society itself. "Pool and snooker are one those men's sports that have a kind of leisure time diplomatic immunity," he agues. "Everything stops for them. It is as if the heritage of these sports is enough to justify keeping people waiting in pubs all over the country. People feel obliged to comply as a knucklehead takes his shot." It is precisely in order to deconstruct this social hierarchy that Williams came up with Tyranny of the Meek . As he describes the work, "Tyranny of the Meek is a fantasy where model railways take over a snooker world." As small trains plough through upended snooker tables, this is the fantasy large writ of the meek and dispossessed turned tyrant, casting off their shackles armed only with pieces of narrow gauge railway track and comfortable shoes.
For Bedwyr Williams' first solo exhibition in London, STORE is delighted to present Tyranny of the Meek . And on the occasion of the exhibition's opening night, Williams will perform the world premiere of his performance Bard Attitude at The Macbeth Pub at 9pm. Bedwyr Williams was born in 1974 in Wales and studied at Central St Martins School of Art. He lives and works in North Wales.
Tyranny of the Meek