Sylvia Schwenk - Sometimes awful things have their own kind of beauty
Click on the image to preview the first 20 seconds or so of the work.
Schwenk, Sometimes awful things have their own kind of beauty I, 2011
Sometimes awful things have their own kind of beauty, is a mesmerising work which shows a man
who the artist, Sylvia Schwenk, invited to perform – dancing with a lawnmower to a harrowingly
beautiful waltz, whilst mowing the lawn in an area surrounded by perimeter fencing, alarmed
fences, and razor wire.
The lawn being mowed is an oasis in the maximum security area of the prison. The space offers a
respite from the confinement of the prison cells and the cold metal surfaces and concrete of the
prison. The space is rectangular in shape, it is grassed, it has concrete paths bi-secting the area and
has about 20 magnificent towering palm trees.
It almost seems surreal. The air seems sweeter and fresher here. The waltz is filled with hope but is
underwritten with a score of despair.
Sometimes awful things have their own kind of beauty tells stories about prisons in a beautifully
simple, yet powerful way. The work considers spaces, lives and environments that are off limits to
most of society, as well as looking at the notion of what performance in the everyday means for
those who live in a space where private and public co-exist – sometimes simultaneously.