Wine Soak no. 10: Until I Was Senseless

Our Wine Correspondent Jakob Ligvine Kreek found himself getting senseless at the Project Arts Centre’s exhibition, “Until It Makes Sense”, an extraordinary encounter with the first of four episodes showing the work of Mario García Torres.

Something extraordinary was happening in Dublin, temperatures had soared above the thirties in some quarters and it hadn’t rained for some time. I was hoping beyond hope that the ongoing drought would result in the large scale investment in camels to navigate the rolling sand dunes that I was sure would inevitably swallow up the city of Dublin.

As I was tripping along over the sizzling cobble stones of East Essex Street, I bumped into Sean Kissane, a curator from the Irish Museum of Modern Art, on his way to a talk followed by an opening in the Project Arts Centre. I followed him into the cool, high ceilinged art space that provided a dark and shady reward for the curious art spectator – a welcome escape from the blistering inferno that was consuming the city outside.

Tessa Giblin, the exhibition curator, was in conversation with the young Mexican artist, Mario García Torres, currently staging a show in several episodes in the gallery of the Project Arts Centre. Whilst slowly adjusting to the darkness and their conversation which revolved around references to destabilisation, narrative and fiction in the actions of this internationally renowned and very successful artist, I recalled a story that I had heard from another acquaintance about Mario’s tendency to appear by proxy. I don’t know if it was transition from the heat of the street to the sudden coolness of the art gallery but I had to fight off a sudden desire to rush to the front of the attentive audience and give his beard a good hard tug to see if it was truly the man himself or an imposter.

Fortunately I had arrived late and, before I lost my self-control, the talk came to a close to the curious sound of popping corks. In the atrium I found a group of visitors gathered around a stack of Visual Artists’ News Sheets (VANs) fervently reading my very own text on the artist open studios “visit 2013” that has just appeared in the July/August edition. Next to this group of highly amused readers was an extraordinary collection of prosecco bottles. Fearing a continuation of my last disastrous experience on the bubbly stuff (See Wine Soak no. 9: Cloud Confusions) I was relieved to discover the spirit of the Venice Biennale had found its way to the Project Arts Centre.

The Prosecco was simply an ingredient to one of the most wonderful of summer cocktails: the Aperol Spritz. The aperitif called Aperol, made from infusions of selected ingredients including bitter and sweet oranges and many other herbs and roots, first appeared when it was introduced to the world by the Barbieri brothers at the international fair of Padua in 1919. It began its association with Venice in 1950 when it was added as an extra ingredient to the traditional Venetian white wine and soda spritzer. But it truly hit the height of art world magnificence when Aperol became the sponsor to Peggy Guggenheim’s exhibition in Venice in 2000. The rest, of course, is history.

So, armed with a trusty glass of cool Aperol Spritzer (4 cl Aperol, 6 cl Prosecco, ice cubes, a slice of orange and a splash of soda), I circulated in the crowd keeping an eye on Mario’s beard to see if there was any sign of the glue giving away due to the sweaty heat of the blistering day. Disappointingly, I had to accept that on this occasion the artist had decided to represent himself and I turned my attention to the exhibition “Until it makes sense.” It was a peculiar play of fragmented narratives conceptually gathered to play with the idea of artist, exhibition and art institution as producers of meaning. Hmmm….more Aperol!

Aperol has at its heart a secret recipe and that secret recipe was working its magic. It led me to ponder “what is Mario’s secret?” Was I looking at the exhibition too literally? Is there a secret recipe to this gathering of projected video clips, the palimpsest of the pencil scribble on the wall and the neon sign that reads “open”? Is this a declaration that the meaning and interpretation is just that….open?

POP! Another prosecco bottle exploded into life as the trapped gases within were liberated from the pressure of the repressive cork. So, is there a secret recipe to this most contemporary artistic practice of appropriation to create fragmentary narratives toward open interpretation and meaning? Could it be just a case of placing the visitor in a position of desire?

Is the intention to have the visitor wishing so hard for something that they can bottle, contain and release; something that they can trap; something so tangible, that they will a meaning into being through sheer desire? Is the creating of this desire the tangible element of this art practice or is it simply making the point that the meaning is always beyond our grasp? I eventually lapsed from my attempts to make sense of it all and lashed back the Aperol Spritz until I was conceptually senseless. By the time we were thrown out of the Project Arts Centre, the meaning that these assembled elements had released into the ethers evaporated like the bubbles of the Aperol Spritz that had escaped and vanished into the gaseous expanse of the sun-drenched evening.

Between 5 July and 17 August, an exhibition of Mario García Torres‘ work titled “Until It Makes Sense” will unfold in the gallery of Project Arts Centre. Please check the Project Arts Centre website for the dates of each episode.