Event review: opening of the Hypnos exhibition by Lee Hadwin at RISE gallery, Thursday 15th January

By - Monday 19th January, 2015

Realising that he produces art in his sleep, Lee Hadwin keeps paper and pens handy. Wes Baker finds out more

Photo author’s own.

People do all sorts while sleeping: dream, have nightmares and even make dinner. Lee Hadwin puts pen, paint and various other media to paper. From the age of four it was realised Lee would sleepwalk, producing artwork on his bedroom walls. So, aware of his nocturnal activities, Lee decided to prepare himself and have paper and pens at his bedside – as demonstrated by the brass bed at his new exhibition, Hypnos, at the RISE gallery, St. George’s Walk.

I got to the gallery quite early on Thursday 15th January and stayed almost till the end. People were streaming in throughout the night observing both the more permanent exhibits and those forming the Hypnos exhibition. I wouldn’t say I’ve never seen anything like this, but never anything to my recollection produced while sleeping. It’s impossible – just impossible – not to think of Tracey Emin when you see a bed, but this is very different: what’s interesting about this one is the sleeping. I think that amazement at the idea that a person can produce anything like this during sleep is what drew and will continue to draw a lot of people to the Hypnos show.

Conversation on the night focused on many different things, from the fact one of the pieces had a nice border and was produced in twenty minutes to the far deeper question of what it all meant. Speaking to Lee, the answer to that last question was – supposedly – nothing. I guess – as a former art student – that there’s a conscious meaning applied to your work, or else that you’ve seen the work of others and are creating based on inspiration. So perhaps it’s not so hard to understand Lee’s lack of response when you consider he’s not aware of what he’s producing.

Lee Hadwin. Photo author’s own.

The exhibition spans his early work to more recently: I won’t spoil the exhibition by pointing out which pieces date back to his childhood and which are from adulthood. I didn’t even notice myself, but all his works are named after the location they were created in – so getting Google maps up on your phone and entering the longitude and latitude adds another element to the viewing experience.

Lee was really approachable, posing for an abundance of photographs. It was great to chat to him – and to impart my thoughts about what I felt his works reminded me of, and the meaning I personally took from them. He hadn’t thought of some of them – and that, for me, is the wonder and delight of art.

Hypnos is on view to the public from Tuesday 16th January – Friday 5th February, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm weekdays, Saturdays 10:00 am – 4:00 pm at the RISE gallery in St. George’s Walk.

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Street photographer, 1st of the Frohicans and Croydon's No.1 fan according to my parents. I graduated in Transport Design at Coventry University summer 2012 and made my way back to the town I love to continue working on my Croydon facebook page. I eventually met some of the other local creatives with the same enthusiasm and soon knew it was my mission to engage with and hopefully help to get the word out about the creative potential and future of Croydon.

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