Archived entries for Wine Soak

Wine Soak No.18: “Only the most adaptable will survive”

Our wine correspondent found himself at Dead Zoo, an exhibition in the Art Box Gallery curated by Hilary Murray, featuring the work of Catherine Barragry, Teresa Gillespie and Maria McKinney. The exhibition and the unfolding events on the evening in question left him considering his chances of survival in an increasingly hostile environment.

Last Thursday I was delighted to hear word of a new space on James Joyce Street called Art Box. I got an invitation to an all woman show featuring some free alcohol and I just couldn’t say no. Getting straight to the point, the Alcohol was Finkbrau Pils / Pilsener, a Pilsener beer by Oettinger Bier Gruppe, a brewery in Oettingen, Bavaria, distributed in Ireland by Lidl. It’s not one of my favourite beverages, mind you, but at least there was a choice between the low alcohol and the normal 4.5%. In these matters I always defer to the higher volume of course.
The location of the gallery on James Joyce Street presents a particular challenge pertaining to audience when it comes to the surrounding vicinity in the defined innards of the city. The street is something of an art world enclave as it is also home to the Oonagh Young gallery and the Dublin City Council art gallery, the Lab. Both of these galleries have had to make peace overtures to the restless local youths that may not look so fondly upon the colonisation of the territory by the bourgeois art scene, and as the opening night unfolded it became clear why they did. I always traverse to the city’s north-side with a certain trepidation that invigorates the blood with an edgy, fever inducing excitement that borders at times on total fear, and the reasons will be made clear below. But please forgive me reader if at times I am prone to some dire exaggeration.
On the evening in question the beer certainly helped to take the nervous edge off of the proceedings and the intimidating clusters of local youths that would temporarily gather at the windows looking in, boisterously laughing, while occasionally kicking a football against the plate glass windows. Those of us gathered within must have appeared to them to be a very absurd assembly of unusual people surrounded by even more unusual objects. One of the youngsters, more curious than the rest, ventured in the door and began to vigorously handle a totemic sculpture by Maria McKinney that stretched from floor to ceiling just inside the door. When he was politely asked to desist he left with no apparent sign of animosity or annoyance. Another Finkbrau later and the night seemed to be settling into the usual opening night rhythm of muted conversations and confusing cheek kissing rituals. Suddenly the totemic sculpture by the gallery door came under attack by a group of restless natives that ran in like a confused blur of arms, legs, trainers and hoodies striking the tower a killer blow. They were gone before the work, that collapsed with an almighty bang, had even hit the floor.

As the opening crowd settled themselves from the shock of such an event Teresa Gillespie informed me that earlier that evening a far from esteemed critic with a dog under his arm had come in, tried to punch the curator and then proceeded to spit on her work. Thankfully the brunt of the art attacks had focused on the more robust installation pieces as I don’t think Catharine Barragry’s fragile installation could have survived such abusive treatment.

Once I had gathered my wits after the shock of the impromptu intervention upon the opening festivities I managed to have a better look around. All of the works on exhibit had a peculiar alien nature about them. Barragry’s work featured the process of water under the influence of gravity trying to find its point of least resistance as it descended from a plastic canister along a thread, passing through a bone on its course to a reservoir upon the floor. The bone appeared to be balanced precariously upon a cast metal rod rendered to make it look less sturdy. I feared for its delicate poise and balance in the face of such vigorous attention, the like of which the Maria McKinney sculpture had suffered just moments before. The grotesque as always was present in Teresa Gillespies work that ceaselessly manages to arouse within me an erotic disgust that I never find less than exhilarating. I have to say I’ve never seen raw chicken fillets in such a repulsive and compelling light as I experienced them in this exhibition. I then became lost in the forest of totemic foam plastic towers that inhabited the back of the exhibition, not unlike the solitary tower that had been attacked in the doorway. The colourfully painted towers generated what could only be described as an overwhelming and ominous sense of deep, toxic, under sea claustrophobia.

I began to feel trapped between the compelling and visceral art works, the underwhelming Finkbrau and the terrifying speculation on the dystopian future presented by the text of the exhibition. The exhibition’s accompanying literature prophesied an apocalyptic outcome for a humanity that has already pushed the biosphere of the planet beyond its tipping point toward an inevitable change for the worse. In a morose bout of introspection I began to consider the lives of those who had interacted most vigorously with the artworks, those restless youthful spirits that marauded by in the darkness of the street outside. Was there any hope for either group, those outside furtively watching from the shadows, somewhere beyond the light cast into the street from the gallery window and those within the gallery basking under the full intensity of the gallery lights. Who will survive in the post apocalyptic future? Which of us would survive Darwin’s natural selection? It will no doubt be those who are most adaptable to the challenges and changing circumstances of an increasingly hostile environment. Is it to be us the living animals of the concrete jungle or us the exotic creatures within the enclosure of the dead zoo?

I took another draft from my bottle of Finkbrau and let my fears melt away as I diffused my consciousness into the obscuring shadows of the darkening city, becoming one with the menagerie of humanity inhabiting the city of which we all are a part.

Dead Zoo featuring the work of Catherine Barragry I Teresa Gillespie | Maria McKinney will run in the Art Box Gallery, 3 James Joyce Street, Dublin 1 from March 20th to April 25th Thursday – Saturday, 11am – 5pm.

https://artboxprojects.wordpress.com/

Wine Soak No. 17: Foaming on the Beer Stool

Our wine correspondent found himself at the Stags Head at Foaming at the Mouth: an evening of Visual Art spoken word performances. How exactly he ended up there is a total mystery even to himself and may actually have been the result of a covert spy ring that has been operating in Dublin since the days of the Northern Peace Process.

I had just popped into town for a quick summer evening scoop with an old friend who was about to depart on some extensive international travels. He had beaten me to the hostelry of choice and when I arrived I found him sitting in the corner of the Stags Head drinking a pint of O’Hara’s Pale Ale. Described by the Carlow brewing company as: “Zesty and refreshingly bitter, the finish is long. With a copper tone body topped with a lightly carbonated head, the dry hopping brings an intense aroma and lasting array of fruit and floral notes.” With a write up like that it’s obvious that the Craft Beer business is certainly learning something from the wine business. Beer with floral notes! I don’t think so. Feeling properly offended by the aspirational beer text we got down to a conversation about our impending future activities.

The particular acquaintance with whom I was quaffing the tasty IPA was about to go to Norway to install a show followed by a hop to Sweden and then an eight month residency in a studio complex in Paris. Fine for some I was thinking to myself. In a glib and throw away comment I made a reference to him as a man of international intrigue…a spy! Suddenly he grabbed poor Ligvine roughly by the collar of the coat and pulling me closer so that his whisper could be heard above the din of the noisy bar, he revealed something that astonished this lowly wine correspondent. In a low intense voice almost imperceptible he told me to be quiet and not to use words like spy too loudly. He instructed me to look around the bar at the crowd. It was the first time I noticed that there was a very large amount of art world personalities all lined up along the bar, all furtively peering over each other’s shoulders to see who else from the usual coterie of dedicated followers of the visual arts might be lurking in the drinking den that evening.

He proceeded to inform me that there was an ulterior motive for meeting me in the Stags on this particular evening. There was an event on downstairs in the basement bar that he had to attend to meet with a contact and I was his cover. Then the dreaded words came from his mouth he wanted me to attend: “A visual arts spoken word event.” Immediately I tried to loosen his hold on my coat and writhe free. I knew I had to put as much distance as I could between myself and such a dreaded event. It was a complete panic situation, I nearly even spilled my pint I was in such a state. But unfortunately this artist’s hands from years of toil in the studio and covert night operations in the hills of Afghanistan had developed into fleshy vice grips and I couldn’t get loose. He frog marched me down the stairs to the dank basement bar full of the stench of toilet bleach. Strangely the crowd rather than running in the opposite direction as fast as they could were piling into the basement room with gusto and excitement. Before I knew where I was I was seated at the bar hemmed in on all sides with my poor knee caps pressed tightly against the wooden panels of the bar. The only redeeming moment in this dreadful turn of events was the realisation that I was sitting right in front of the O’Hara’s beer tap.

The last time I had been in a situation like this was when I had been dabbling in the music business promoting a country blues band back in the early noughties and two of the members who were American students doing Peace studies in trinity revealed that they had been former Navy Seals and were infiltrating the Irish music scene to get a feel for the more revolutionary republicans there in. They used to hang around mother red caps with bodhrans and drive the trad musicians to distraction with their terrible battering of the stretched animal hide. It in some way explained how every time I met them they had a new girlfriend from a different country. There was even a Russian girl that spoke seven languages! I always had a sneaking suspicion that Dublin was the Casablanca of Europe and now I know it is.

So I found myself yet again in the clutches of intrigue and covert operations this time in the visual arts. I had another pint of beer plopped beside me which I drank rather quickly to settle my nerves and suddenly disaster struck! After a few deafening howls from the PA system the first performer began and dear reader you’ll understand my plight when I tell you what happened next, something that left me foaming on the beer stool. THE BAR CLOSED! It remained closed for the duration of the performances….a whole two hours!!!

The first one up was Sam Keogh who was re-enacting his drunken vomiting performances and I could understand where he was coming from I was feeling a bit queasy at that point myself. Bit strangely I found myself tittering and eventually I was laughing out loud at exceptional performances of weird and quirky tales of twins that speak in unison performed by Niamh Moriarty and Ruth Clinton, A very poetic man climbing a mountain that left not only the performer Blaine O’Donnell but also the audience out of breath. Suzanne Walsh led us through a dream like narrative and Teresa Gillespie left us with the disembodied voices of call and response that felt like a very dystopian moment straight out of Beckett. Lily Cahill collaborated with a virtual Rob Murphy telling a tale of emo angst and dead livestock.

When the interval came I thought I’d get my chance to escape but the crowd was tightly packed. The spy left me momentarily to go to the jacks and I thought I might get my chance to flee but a very pretty blond artist who has momentarily retired from art making to work in a big data company, yes you’ve guessed it, the other spy who was presented to me as a martial arts expert and kick boxer was very convincing in getting me to stay where I was. After the interval McCabe and the Doctor, Doctor Francis Halsall that is, admirably support by Hugh McCabe on keyboard, delivered a terrifying spoken recital of Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing that was channelling a cross between a virile Marlon Brando and a serial Killer….”the Horror, the Horror.” The night was finished off by Vaari Claffey with an intense and very humorous deconstruction of romantic film scenes interspersed by quite dry text read in such a way that they spun into a highly suggestive sexual climax. All in all it was pretty good and the only terrible fact of the evening was that I was totally sober at the end of it all. Luckily I was swept up by the exiting crowd bar stool and all until I found myself quite suddenly in the bar on the ground floor sitting amongst a wonderful group of ladies with whom I proceeded to pursue my normal habit of alcohol fuelled inebriation. Spending the rest of the evening talking to a primary school teacher was a welcome relief from the terror of the covert spy ring that was using me to infiltrate the visual art scene. However, I don’t think the neo liberal consumer capitalists have anything to worry about, there wasn’t a social revolutionary political item on the agenda among the performing artists….strange when you consider that the contemporary world seems to be falling apart at the seams around us. Perhaps by proxy we are all in the coalition of the willing. What’s that you say? Yes thanks, I’ll have another Pale Ale, cheers!

Foaming at the Mouth is a series of Visual Art Spoken Word Performances Curated by Tracy Hanna and Emer Lynch that take place in the Stags Head. The third set of performances featured: Ruth Clinton and Niamh Moriarty, Rob Murphy and Lily Cahill, The Doctor and McCabe, Blaine O’Donnell, Teresa Gillespie, Suzanne Walsh, Kevin Kirwan, Michelle Hall, Vaari Claffey and Sam Keogh.

www.facebook.com

Wine Soak No. 15: “Tonight you could only ever call me … Ligvine”


Our wine correspondent found himself at the LAB’s exhibition: Tonight you can call me Trish and TBG+S exhibition Against the Enamel. The resulting experience can only be described as “a floating oasis of energised drift” that left him in “a nauseatingly positive and cheerfully grotesque” state of mind.

Unbeknown to myself, suffering the ennui of a dark December, un-invigorated by the cornucopia of festive parties, I was set to embark upon my most fallow period of creativity in many years. Feeling particularly glum I visited my physician, whom I would usually avoid like the plague. His face was aghast at the sight of me. Several weeks of celebrating the country’s financial rebirth (free to incur new and ever greater levels of debt on the global bond markets) had taken its toll. Under the good doctors medical advice I refrained from imbibing for the entire month of January and as a result, descended into a despicable period of sobriety, good health and clarity of mind. To put it simply: YUCK!

As the fog of my several decades of incorrect living began to clear I turned away from temptation and the gallery circuit only to discover a plenitude of aches and pains to which I had become anesthetised by the grace of my indulgent lifestyle. On returning to the doctor’s surgery one month later my appearance actually scared him to death…literally. After a brief examination and the declaration of the benefits of not drinking the good doctor collapsed before me and died on the spot. I left the surgery immediately via the window lest anyone suspected foul play of any sort. I ran down Amiens Street terrified by the sound of distant sirens heard through the irregular din of the gloaming city. Without a thought I found myself in a sweaty mess leaning against the glass walls of the LAB in Foley Street. To my surprise it was full of people and I thought what better way to lament or celebrate the good doctor’s demise than to join the celebratory crowd at an exhibition opening.

The first person I met was the recently returned Sheena Barrett who was celebrating the opening of an exhibition called Tonight you can call me Trish. The exhibition was the result of the emerging curator award that was won by a curatorial collective that goes under the tongue twisting title of RGKSKSRG, this rather drunken jumble of letters is constructed from the initials of the two collaborating curators Kate Strain and Rachel Gilbourne. According to the blurb that accompanied the exhibition these two curators view the exhibition space as a “site for channelling aesthetic experience and systemic disjuncture.” After my experience earlier in the evening I was hell bent on getting a little disjunctured myself so I headed straight for the drinks table, where they were dishing out Le Montalus Rouge Pays d’Oc. This midi rouge retailing at €7.45 a bottle was just the ticket to begin the journey toward disjuncture.

I got a couple in fast just before Clionadh Shaffrey, Visual Arts Advisor to the Arts Council and recent appointee to the Directorship of the TBG+S, began her speech that was in high praise of this new curatorial award for the most painful sounding of positions in the Art world, the emerging curator. On this occasion the emerging curators, like new born babies emerging from the womb, had framed their exhibition around the conceptual notion of a one night stand. A peculiarity of course in the mind of yours truly was the immediate connection of the possibility of something new and emergent being born out of a flagrant and yet shallow encounter in the dark. The atmosphere in the gallery was effervescent and well reflected by the colourful display of disjunctious objects and sounds in the space that created a sort of cacophony of jarring colours. According to the accompanying text with the bluster of a one night stand, Trish rides on the energy [excuse the pun ... I presume] of Arts own glossy promise in a mashed up, smashed up post decorative dissolution of illusion.” “MORE WINE PLEASE!” I demanded at the drink table, white this time, a Domaine Bichot Ugni Blanc Colombard 2011, a nice, crisp, dry white wine often described as quaffable. After a few more gulps I began to wonder what was missing in this gleeful mash up, one night stand, of an exhibition. Perhaps it is a generational difference but for the youthful zeal I couldn’t see the bitter wisdom that underlies our experiences of failed and broken attempts at intimacy. There was no sense of the under pinning regret that lies at the heart of the sad and lonely night of the brief encounter. The unfulfilled desire to not be alone. But at least my glass of wine and I had each other for company as I mused over the vacuous notion of pleasure without pain, transgression without sin, and no matter how loud our aesthetic pleasure rings without the sublime angst of our misery it is still a hollow ring.

Mulling over a need for the savoury bucket of salt beneath the sweet sugar candy coating I left the LAB and made my way to the Temple Bar Gallery and studios, affectionately referred to as Teabags. Here I found another colourful display in LED lights. The work on show was that of Prescilla Fernandes, soon to be an artist in residence in IMMA. According to the text the work references the failures of the modernist theories of Paul Signac to transform the world by unveiling truths about human perception referred to in the blurb as his “anarchist utopian vision and decorative propaganda, a scientific/aesthetic gesture, attacking social structures, intended to inspire revolution.” Once again I had to seek some refreshment to help me to absorb this bold statement, a sober reminder of my own failed revolt against intoxication.

Approaching the overstimulation of a Stendhal moment I took my celebrations of art and my late doctor’s demise to the after party in Kennedy’s of Westland Row, where amongst the usual suspects of the glittering art world I accepted that there was a reality that denies contemplative space. A drunken reality full of voices, exotic sounds, mind altering substances, D.J. beats and bright LEDs. The cacophony of the LAB began to make sense.

But,
On this night of nights,
Of skewed logic,
Failed sobriety and death,
Of cacophonous colours to shame the divine
Of unusual sounds and provoking sights,
Of finite potential one night stands
And morning after walks of shame,
Tonight you could only ever call me … Ligvine.

Tonight, you can call me Trish is a group exhibition curated by RGKSKSRG, recipients of the 2013/14 Emerging Curator Award. It Features artists Alan Butler (IE), Mark Durkan (IE), Mary-Jo Gilligan (IE), Oliver Laric (AT), Rachel Maclean (UK), Eilis McDonald (IE), Brenna Murphy (US), James Ó hAodh (IE), and Pilvi Takala (FI). The exhibition runs from the 7th of February to the 22nd of March 2014 at the LAB Gallery Foley Street Dublin 1.

Against the Enamel an exhibition of work by Priscila Fernandes runs at the Temple Bar Gallery and Studios from the 7th of February until the 29th of March 2014.

Wine Soak no. 14: The greatest challenge yet

Our Wine Correspondent Jakob Ligvine Creek after being run over by a bicycle on the Grand Canal towpath found himself being consoled with several glasses of Domaine de Condamine de l’eveque Syrah at the opening of Curator Paul Hallahan’s group exhibition ‘a lamb lies down’ in Broadstone studios. Then suddenly, out of the blue, he received his greatest challenge yet. Six openings in one night… and they said it couldn’t be done!

On Wednesday evening last I took a postprandial stroll along the bank of the Grand Canal. I was looking into the dark waters on what was a cloudy and moonless night. The calm black surface of the canal produced no reflections. I cast my eye along the bank following the canal west to where it disappeared beyond the next bridge and lock gate. I was filled with a yearning to go west by water, to take a barge all the way to the Shannon and then to Limerick. I mused that I could go all the way there, next April, to arrive at the opening ceremony of the eva international biennial. I imagined an entire flotilla filled with joyous revellers disseminating their joyous creativity throughout the journey, each one filled with anticipation for what lay ahead in the mecca of visual arts: the eva international biennial. I was lost in my reverie until, suddenly without warning, I was knocked off my feet and sent crashing to the ground. If it weren’t for my well insulated posterior upon which I had landed I’m sure I’d have been hospitalised for a considerable duration. I had been run over by a bicycle! A reckless young artist whom I shall not name (you know who you are!) claimed he hadn’t seen me in the darkness under the trees. After hurling many expletives at him I asked where he had been cycling to in search a hurry. He told me he was going to an opening in the Broadstone studios barely a stone’s throw from where we were standing. “Lead on” I demanded, needing a drink to calm my nerves and cool my temper.

The ex-nanny’s home on Harcourt Terrace is now home to Broadstone artists’ studios and there was an opening taking place for an exhibition of artists curated by Paul Hallahan. There were works by several artists distributed throughout a large ground floor room with the most delightfully overwhelming carpet. In particular Vanessa Donoso Lopez’s tower of rickety tables surmounted by a strange animal doll in multiple bell jars was terrifying in its precariousness. It didn’t help that I had plied myself with several glasses of Domaine de Condamine de l’eveque Syrah and I was getting a bit precarious myself. Guilhem Bascou’s Domaine de Condamine de l’eveque is a product of Languedoc and comes from an area of vineyards stretching to the west of Pézenas a terroir that is marked by irises and olive trees. I could almost feel them swaying as I sucked down the musky, heavy, red liquid.

I was looking at a series of photographs by Jonathan Mayhew and I couldn’t tell if it was me or the photos but they seemed a little out of focus. I had just been in an accident and it is possible that there was a mild concussion adding to the sense of instability. I struck up a conversation with Lee Welch and Mark McGreevy two other artists in the show and they told me of the great night of openings that could be in store for an art and wine maniac like myself on Thursday, the following night. Apparently there were six openings on in one night. SIX! I couldn’t believe it. Ella de Burca who also joined the conversation, and discerned the twinkle in my eye, declared, “You’ll never make all six and get a drink in each one, not in one night. If you do I’ll buy you a pint.” To which I replied, “You owe me a pint.” After draining the dregs from the Domaine de Condamine de l’eveque, literally chewing them like chewing tobacco, we went on to engage in all sorts of revels in the bars of the area until the wee hours. But I never forgot the challenge that was echoing through my mind. “You’ll never make all six.”

A little after six pm, the following evening, I walked through the doors of The Flood Gallery to be greeted by a cool refreshing bottle of beer and an exhibition humorously called The year of the flood named after a novel my Margaret Atwood about a group of disaster survivors. The space was filled with an extra-ordinary collection of unusual objects and peculiar video pieces. Each artwork had the random sense of a survivor washed up like the flotsam and jetsam thrown up by a terrible sea storm. Every piece as fascinating as the next, carrying their individual stories of survival and hope. I ran into David Eager-Maher who had been present at the declaration of the challenge the night before and when I told him of my plan to see all six shows and have a drink in each venue he just shook his head and said “you’ll never make it, it’s impossible.” Without being deterred I decided to march on to the next venue the Dublin City Council art space The Lab.

In the Lab I was confounded by Mark Durkan’s glamorous extravagance of mirrors, lights, bowls of dry ice and the intimidating figure of a performer dressed in riot gear, carrying a bow and arrow. The balaclava and riot helmet made the living sculpture very sinister but the mirrored pedestal added a sense of the kind of kitsch that one might associate with a Russian oligarch’s taste in interior design. Water bubbled from a fountain-like shower head surrounded by mirrors and was echoed by urns that were oozing with dry ice, diffused blue light and tiny bubbling fountains. The title of the show: I’m astonished, wall, that you haven’t collapsed into ruins, takes its name from graffiti in Pompeii, the ancient Roman town preserved by the eruption and subsequent ash from Vesuvius. The work presented an artificial world full of tension. Its overwhelming reflective unreality felt like it could implode upon itself at any given moment. I needed a drink! I ran upstairs to get a glass of the red wine. I threw it back without even caring what it was. I took another one. It was red and wet and alcoholic…it was good. Upstairs by the bar Seamus McCormack’s solo show Spike, an Overlay that reflects on theatrical illusions of performance and the parameters that guide those movements. Like Pirandello’s six characters in search of an author McCormack’s work tries to peer through the mirror presented by our world of self-reflexive performance to reveal the meta-theatre of being. Considering my own performance I glanced at the time and I had already wasted 40 minutes. I grabbed another glass and ran, ran, ran!

Running up the stairs and making an awful clatter I burst into the Talbot Gallery in the middle of the speeches. All Man: the Show curated by Linda Phelan was exploring themes of masculinity in a world where the traditional roles of men in society have become uncertain. Emasculation or liberation? What does the contemporary world offer men today? All I wanted was someone to offer me a drink!!! Thankfully the speeches ended and I got to the bar and had a chat with Elaine Grainger, she was offering an Italian red wine, 2012 Monepulciano D’Abruzzo and two whites, an Italian, Ca’Del Lago 2012 Inzolia and El Chugaro a Spanish wine. Such choice! I settled for the red but alas I had no time to appreciate the art. I had a quick look at the work of Mathew Nevin, an image of a head of stubble that incorporated a sound work. Unfortunately I had no time to listen. Elaine asked me was I going to the RHA, my next point of call by bicycle, “Alas no” I replied and I dashed out the door. My natural phobia of bicycles had not been helped by the previous night’s calamity on the canal bank.

In a complete tizzy I finally made it to the Douglas Hyde as Michael Hill was instructing the man with the tray of wine to stop serving I had to reach over his shoulder quite ignominiously, apologising as I did so, shouting, “its ok, it’s a challenge, it’s for a bet, a sort of gentleman’s agreement!” I saw Declan Long there engrossed in conversation so I just gave his arm a tug to say “Hi and bye I have to run, run, run!” A quick glance around revealed large exquisite paintings of denuded trees in urban settings and empty landscapes with extraordinary coloured skyscapes. They were the work of George Shaw and the exhibition is capriciously titled Neither My Arse Nor My Elbow.

It was gone seven thirty. All would be over soon and I had to get to two more venues before the wine ran out. The openings closed at 8pm. Time was literally running out, as was the wine!
I sprinted to the Kerlin, at this stage I had no idea what the wine was but I was lucky there was one solitary glass left on a serving tray. It was a white wine of some description. At his stage it no longer mattered. I threw it back. I had a quick word with Francis Halsall and Lily Cahill. Very much to my shame I started to do impressions of the flash as I tried to channel the comic book superhero’s velocity to get me to the end of my goal. I had less than ten minutes to get from Anne’s Lane to my final destination, the RHA.

Lickity split and I was out the door moving faster than a blur, the streets of Dublin rushed by in a fizz and a pop. I made it. I just got in the door of the RHA with seconds to spare. But oh despair! There was no wine left. Having come so far. After all that effort was I going to fail at the final hurdle, collapse at the last fence. No I couldn’t let it happen like this. I desperately tried to spy a familiar face of someone that still had some wine left in their glass. I approached Maeve Connolly, Elenor Duffin, Neil Carroll, no one had any wine left….

And then… Eureka! The day was saved by none other than Pádraic E. Moore. When I explained my desperate situation he gladly surrendered what was left of his white wine. It turned out to be a Santa Cruz Alba, Sauvignon Blanc 2013. Such joy! I had won the bet. It could be done after all. As I was dancing around in celebration, I saw Maggie Madden looking on with a worried expression. I hadn’t even noticed her beautiful and fragile sculpture right beside me. My desperate search for that last mouthful of wine had blinded me from my surroundings completely. Astonished I looked around at the spectacular artworks in the exhibition Futures 13. I was astounded and amazed, so amazed in fact that when I bumped into Marysia Wieckiewicz-Carroll I demanded her last mouthful of wine to steady myself and declare a total victory. It turned out to be Santa Cruz Alba, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012. The after party was in Doheney and Nesbitts pub on Baggot Street, where we enjoyed platters of food and many, many, pints. As I was gladly becoming fused to the bar, from across the crowd, at the other end of the room, I heard Peter Prendergast of Monster Truck shouting at me, “I’m coming on your boat! The boat to eva.” Strangely my dreams were starting to become reality as a nice creamy pint of Guinness was placed before me upon the bar.

Invited Artists “a lamb lies down” curated by Paul Hallahan runs from November 14 – 30 2013 at Broadstone Artists’ Studios.
The Year of the Flood: Michelle Browne / Mike Cooter / Benjamin De Burca / Tom Fitzgerald / Zoe Fothergill / Clea van der Grijn / Mark McGreevy. Curated by Michele Horrigan runs from the 14th November – 7th December 2013 at the Flood Gallery.
Mark Durkan / I’m astonished, wall, that you haven’t collapsed into ruins and Séamus McCormack / Spike, an overlay runs from 15th November 2013 – 25th January 2014 at the LAB
ALL MAN: THE SHOW Curated by Lynda Phelan runs from Nov 14th – Nov 30th 2013 at the Talbot Gallery
George Shaw “Neither My Arse Nor My Elbow” runs from 15 November – 15 January 2014 at the Douglas Hyde Gallery
Paul Winstanley Art School runs from 15th November 2013 – 7th January 2014 at The Kerlin Gallery
Futures 2013 runs from November 15, 2013 – December 20, 2013 at the RHA Gallery

https://www.facebook.com/Ligvine
www.cotes-de-thongue.com/english/
http://networkedblogs.com/R3Py3
http://www.flooddublin.com/index.html
http://www.dublincity.ie/RecreationandCulture/ArtsOffice/TheLAB/Pages/Gallery.aspx
www.talbotgallery.com/exhibitions.php
www.douglashydegallery.com/home.php
www.kerlin.ie/exhibitions/art-school/selected-works
www.rhagallery.ie/

Wine Soak no. 13: Bullied and battled at The Crusades

Our Wine Correspondent Jakob Ligvine Creek escaping the stench of the drought ridden city found himself bullied, battled and a little melancholic at the opening of ‘The Crusades’ a show in The Drawing Project, Dun laoghaire by Lily Cahill & Rob Murphy.

Despairing the lack of water in the city I was urged to escape the rising odour of the great unwashed. As the soiled feeling of an under abluted population was starting to creep under my own flesh. I thought: “what better place to go in search of clean air than Dun Laoghaire.” With my lungs full of the fresh sea air after a walk on the pier all my anxiety had evaporated and I was feeling quite at peace. On my return to the Dart station I spied a couple of young arty types hanging around outside an arts space administrated by the Institute of Art Design and Technology called The Drawing Project and I sidled over toward them in the hope of grabbing a refreshing glass of opening night vino. The space that I found myself in suffers slightly from a lack of passing foot traffic and even though it is located just across the road from the train station I would never have noticed it but for the crowd of young art students gathered around the entrance. I was in luck I had stumbled upon the opening of a show called The Crusades. So I thought to myself that it wouldn’t be any harm to go have a quick peek at what was on show and whet the whistle at the same time.

On entering I was greeted by two excitable young students that were constantly bouncing around me like a pair of Jedwards. They were very eager to offer me a drink for the kindly donation of one euro. Not a bad price to pay for guzzling grape juice in abundance. I was confronted by Riesling and Chianti from Lidl. I opted for the Riesling which is described as “Fruity, zesty and youthful,” a description that suited the artists that were on show.

The Jedwards told me that the artists, Lily Cahill and Rob Murphy, have only recently turned to a collaborative way of making art, putting aside their strong individual modes of working to create artworks together. They went on to tell me that at a talk given by the two artists earlier in the afternoon, the fourth year IADT art students in attendance became obsessed with the idea of abandoning the egotistical position of a self-contained and autonomous maker to collaborate. I reassured the young fellows that they’d get over it eventually because, as we learn from experience, making our way in the world today requires almost constant collaboration of some form or another. (At this point it may have been the wine that was doing the talking.)

The wine in short was not very satisfactory but the artworks were certainly intriguing. After reading Gemma Tipton’s tirade In the Irish times recently against those of us who see the necessity for verbosity in the vacuum presented by many contemporary artworks, the experience of The Crusades was quite refreshing. In the publication handed out to help the visitor navigate the four art works there was simply a map. It gave only titles and was without tiresome explanations of the work. Nor did it attempt to categorise what was being experienced in relation to anything that was not within the immediate vicinity of the space. The lack of text gave the exhibition a refreshing simplicity and clarity comparable to the crisp, golden white wine, free of impurities, extraneous notes and linguistic interference. By the fourth glass the exhibition was starting to flow, blur and spin like the carnival ride that was the focus of one of the video works.

Two of the video works presented a camera eye view from the seats of carnival rides of the type that could only be described as extremely provincial. The lack of sophistication, the state of repair and the level of decay indicated that these carnival rides had probably seen better days. However, as jaded as the carnival may have seemed the ecstatic screaming laughter and enjoyment audible on the soundtrack created an extraordinary contrast. At times the shaking image of the video shot from a vigorous carnival ride was enough to start churning the Riesling rather uncomfortably in the stomach. Feeling a bit battered and bruised, as one would if involved in a crusade, screams of, “drop zone, drop zone” brought a smile to the lips and a cramp to the stomach that was like getting a bunch of fives in the gut. (This may also have been the wine talking)

The readymade sculptural work in the window, The Crusades, comprised of two dirty old plastic garden chairs connected by a torn banner and was like the overture to a fine symphony that picked up to a steady adagio with the video of a ghost train, The Inferno. Then the recitative, like in a fine opera, the middle video, The Indulgence, provided a quiet moment. It was shot while moving through the decrepitude of the Natural History Museum. Headphones were required to hear the dulcet tones of Lily Cahill singing the Carpenters song “Superstar” to a stuffed Panda Bear. Then the finale. The crescendo was the overwhelming, whirling and nauseating carnival ride, The Pairing. Though I found it amusing at first, for some reason, the peculiarity of these heterotopia’s filled me with a dark and melancholic dyspepsia. I couldn’t help but feel that the world presented by the exhibition was a ruined and dying dystopia where we persist like a kidnap victim suffering from Stockholm syndrome, falling with sympathy to worship at the feet of our own self-destruction. How can we continue to seek our fun and to crusade for love in a world battered, bruised and surrounded on all sides by the tyranny of entropy? I took another gulp of the Riesling and thought: “I can’t go on… I will go on.”

The Crusades ran from Wed 30 October 2013 – Mon 04 November 2013 in The Drawing Project, Harbour View, Crofton Road, Dun Laoghaire.

https://www.facebook.com/Ligvine
http://www.robmurphy.ie
http://lilycahillart.blogspot.ie
http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/white-cube-white-noise-1.1580664″
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Drawing-Project/162211540504351

http://wineireland.com/category/lidl

Wine Soak no. 12: “Telling Private Tales in Public Places”


Our Wine Correspondent Jakob Ligvine Kreek found himself unwittingly divulging private and possibly incriminating information at the ‘Implicate Collaborative’ exhibition, Implicated, in the MART Gallery space in the former fire station on Rathmines Road Lower.

As I was drifting back to Ligvine HQ, huddled beneath my beaten umbrella, the dark cold autumn evening of heavy clinging rain was working hard to dampen my spirits and the insatiable fire in my throat. I was drowning under the constant deluge that was whetting my appetite for some warm hospitality and a refreshing gargle. The encroaching winter enveloped me in its dark cloud of misery until I came across an inviting pool of light that emanated from the large open doors of the old fire station in Rathmines. This unusual space had been a curiosity for a long time. On every occasion that I passed the large red doors of the abandoned station, which bears a striking resemblance to the little old fire station in the movie Ghostbusters, I had wondered what the interior would be like. I was intrigued by what secrets might be hidden within. So, to discover the doors open and the warm and pleasant sound of an opening night crowd spilling out from what is now the MART Gallery was a perfect cure for the miserable evening outside on the street.

I couldn’t help but notice the presence of government ministers and a former Taoiseach and I sensed the refreshments for such a distinguished audience would be of a very high standard indeed. As I made my way to the back of the cavernous space to where the drink station had been established, I passed a viscerally disturbing, but beautifully crafted, painting by Emily Bruton; titled I’m on a Twitter High (2013), it is of a young man with blood running down his lower face, covered in electrodes and holding a jug full of blood. Slightly disturbed by this image I continued to navigate through the crowd until I was confronted by a television monitor showing a video work of Billy Ward. Entitled The Falling Man (2013) it is CCTV footage of a silly drunken character dancing back and forth on the edge of a railway platform. Considering my own tendencies to wobble at times, I was further disturbed by the danger of this performance until, aghast, I watched as the chap fell before the train arriving at the station. Completely disturbed by this point I pushed my way to the drink table without a care as to who was in my way. Continue reading…

Wine Soak no. 11: Transported by Galway Hooker

Our Wine Correspondent Jakob Ligvine Creek found himself transported by Galway Hooker at the opening of “From Galway to Leenane: Perceptions of Landscape” at the National Gallery of Ireland.

A seagull wailed in the distance, high above in the clear blue of the summer evening, filling the heart with a great yearning and hunger for the sea far, far to the west. You could taste the salty waters in every breath. You could hear the wind billowing in the sails of a Galway Hooker like the blood pumping its rhythms in the inner ear. There was a heightened awareness as if you could sense every droplet of the sea as it was broken before the keel of the boat, like those precious seconds of life that we recall as we look for the site of our grave in the ancestral hills of our spiritual home. This was where I stood on the evening of July 17th 2013 listening to the hauntingly beautiful Sean-nós singing of Ceára Conway in the atrium of the National Gallery. She was singing Amhrán Mhuighinse, a lament in which a woman on the edge of death sings of her wish to be taken west to the place of her burial among the sand dunes on the island of her people:
Bring me west to Muighinis, where I will be mourned loudly;
The lights will be on the dunes, and I won’t be lonely there
.”

In my desire to find a cool reprieve from the sun-baked street, just like the mournful soul of the lament, I had accidently wandered into the opening of the exhibition of watercolours of West of Ireland scenes painted by the English topographical artist William Evans of Eton (1798-1877) and the contemporary artist Wendy Judge. Judge’s work is a response to Evans’ masterful collection of watercolours that are a window onto the pre-famine world of the west; a juxtaposition which results in an exhibition of strangely familiar images of both the mid-19th century and the 21st century. I had not expected to be so transported, but strange things can happen to the savage heart when unexpectedly exposed to those raw emotions our heritage can evoke. Not to mention to the delicious Galway Hooker Pale Ale on tap, a real complement to this great homage to the west of Ireland and the artists that it has inspired, old and new. Galway Hooker Pale Ale is itself quite a new creation having been borne into the world only as recently as 2006; but it has a taste of something much, much older – noble and ancient.

It was a very different day from the last time I had attended an opening in the National Gallery: a rainy winter’s evening in January (see Wine Soak no.7: Ligvine Strikes Again). On this occasion the heat was unbearable; all previous records of summer temperatures and heat-wave duration were on the cusp of being broken. Not since the 26th of June in 1887 at Kilkenny Castle, just ten years after the death of William Evans, had temperatures been so high. Truly the sponsorship of this event by the brewers of the crisp, cool, refreshing Galway Hooker Pale Ale was inspired.

All the week the weather had been transporting me back in memory to the ancestral home of the Ligvine family; to those languishing summers of feckless youth and endless hot lethargic days spent in the west of Ireland lounging upon the lawn of the house in which I grew up. So it was fitting to find myself once again in the National Gallery at an exhibition that accelerated my descent into a reverie of the past. Slipping past a century and a half of history, the sight of the Galway Hooker and the Spanish Arch in Evans’ watercolour is a distant view over a long temporal gap that still feels utterly recognizable. Conversely, the contemporary works of Wendy Judge manage to perceptually place us at a distance by providing binoculars that work in reverse, creating the perspective of the far away that evokes how we view the landscape as a distant place of romanticised dreams and imagination. It was an exceptional stroke of genius to invite the cousins Aidan Murphy and Ronan Brennan, the owners and inventors of the Galway Hooker Pale Ale, to sponsor this evening of time travel and temporal slippage that, rather than destabilise, made this old hack feel more at home and more comfortable in his own skin than usual. (Ronan Brennan was there himself to release the magic brew from the taps at the temporary bar).

However, the evening was not without its intellectual rigour and challenging new ideas; there were vibrant conversations about our identity, the impact of the cultural tourism of the pre-famine topographic painter and the ideas surrounding armchair tourism as explored in the work of Wendy Judge. The opening was prefaced by fine speeches from the curator Anne Hodge and the Gallery Director Sean Rainbird, who spoke of the priceless cultural value of these exceptional watercolours. The evening was going so well that the Gallery Director couldn’t even dampen our spirits (excuse the pun) by bringing us back to the national obsession with the weather as he made reference to the evidence of raindrops in some of the works that would have been painted ‘en plein-air’. Historian and archaeologist Michael Gibbons was a brilliant addition as the guest speaker – his own grandfather having sailed a Galway Hooker into the quays of Galway as represented in the paintings. He spoke of the valuable information that we can glean from the images painted by Evans and, in the course of the evening, he was a fount of knowledge concerning the places and the traditions of the west. Some native tongue was even spoken during the course of a conversation that sprang up around Dinnseanchas, a form of oral song and storytelling that comes to us from pre-literary times and is a mnemonic device to aid the retention of the ancient lore of places.

The Galway Hooker Pale Ale was itself exuding properties of the Dinnseanchas, as the taste of the crisp, citric and caramel ale danced a sensual song of its own upon my palate. It was also having the effect of pushing my consciousness back into the past: I had my first taste of this exceptional beer in Neachtain’s pub, at the corner of Cross Street and Quay Street right in the middle of Galway city, a few years ago when I brought a Spanish lady-friend to the west in the hope that, if she fell in love with the west, she might look more fondly upon Ligvine. But, alas, the constant driving rain and tales of her fellow countrymen being massacred at Spanish Point quenched the flame of the romantic adventure. Nonetheless, I’ll never forget my first taste of the Galway Hooker. Nor will I easily forget that haunting song and the melancholy gull crying on the day I went to see the watercolours of William Evans of Eton and the inspired works of Wendy Judge in the Print Gallery of the National Gallery.

From Galway to Leenane: Perceptions of Landscape will run from the 15th of June to the 29th of September 2013 in the Print Gallery of the National gallery of Ireland.

http://wendyjudgeart.blogspot.ie/
http://www.nationalgallery.ie/en/Exhibitions/From_Galway_to_Leenane.aspx
https://www.facebook.com/Ligvine
http://www.galwayhooker.ie/
http://www.galwaycitypubguide.com/all-pubs/tigh-neachtain%C2%92s-naughtons.html
http://www.connemarawalks.com/index.php/component/content/article/83

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. Continue reading…

Wine Soak no. 9: Cloud Confusions


Our wine correspondent Jakob Ligvine Kreek found himself falling between two stools after the opening of “Cloud Illusions I Recall” an exhibition in the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

I had the great pleasure to attend an opening in the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham recently. IMMA openings in Kilmainham have become a rare event over the past two years due to the closure of the main building, the former old soldiers’ home, for a major upgrade. This has resulted in IMMA seeking alternative accommodation in the former University College Dublin buildings on Earlsfort Terrace. The advantage of this city centre location is its proximity to many of my favourite watering holes. However, it has never engendered anything quite like the experience of grandeur one gets from the campus of Ireland’s greatest baroque building in Kilmainham. A trip to IMMA in the Royal Hospital always felt like ascending to some alternate exalted Elysium with its formal gardens, colonnaded courtyard and extensive meadow. You automatically assume that such a grand façade must house something fittingly grand within.

Thus, I was delighted to find myself once more on the steps of the New Galleries, formerly the house of the army physician and deputy master of the Royal Hospital, sipping effervescent pop from Veneto and basking in the glory of the fine architectural heritage. The tipple of choice was a dry Prosecco called Ca’ del Roro which roughly translated from its venetian dialect means “road of the oak tree.” The associations of the oak tree and the royal founder of the Hospital in Kilmainham made a nice connection as every explosive mouthful of the crisp sparkling wine danced upon my tongue like a thousand tiny court jesters on microscopic pogo sticks. I couldn’t help thinking of Charles II, the British monarch who founded the hospital, as a young boy fleeing his father’s executioners and hiding from Cromwell’s soldiers in the arms of an oak tree in the forest of Boscobel. I myself felt a little bit lost in the woods after several refills of my inadequate, low-brow plastic glass and the cloud of confusion that was forming around my experience of the exhibition.

The opening began wonderfully with a performance by a beautiful troupe of singers called the Silver Kites, the Dublin based a cappella group of Eileen Carpio, Fionnuala Conway, Jessica Hartup, Sharon Phelan and Lenka Pinterova. The piece they sang was derived from a work by Samuel Beckett and composed by one of the three curators of the exhibition, the artist Cerith Wynn Evens. The other two curators are Rachel Thomas, head of Exhibitions in IMMA, and the artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster. Wandering through the conceptual installations and peculiar selections of odd art works, ephemera and archive documents by artists like Peter Doig, Ed Ruscha, James Coleman and Andrei Tarkovsky the spaces of Cloud Illusions seemed to be filled by exactly what was suggested by the exhibition title. I really couldn’t get a grasp on what was going on: the exhibition seemed to be shifting and evaporating in obscure mists and clouds of conceptual opacity.

I retreated in my own cloud confusions to the bar for more Prosecco to try and compose myself and figure out what this was all about. The wall text stated the exhibition was inspired by the artist/curators’ desire to make a homage to cinema and its influence on their visual art practices. There was also a reference to the “mise en abyme,” which literally translates as “to be placed in the abyss.” I was certainly starting to feel the instability of being placed between two mirrors as the excessive consumption of Prosecco became infused with the confusion of the flotsam and jetsam of the objects, projections and ephemera of the exhibition. Just as I was throwing back another glass of the bubbly we were all directed to the basement for a performance by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster that left me more confused than ever. The performance was inspired by The Boy with Green Hair, a 1948 American comedy-drama film directed by Joseph Losey in which a young war orphan becomes the object of ridicule after he wakes up one morning to find his hair mysteriously turned green.

Totally vexed and unable to make head nor tail of the exhibition and what the flamboyant artist/curators were trying to do with it, I retreated to the Royal Oak, a quaint little pub just outside the wall of the Royal Hospital grounds, where, after all the Prosecco and several more pints, I found myself transformed into a poor lost boy, turning green as I fell embarrassingly upon the floor between two stools – an ailment that perhaps has crept into this exhibition which has fallen between too many curators.

Cloud Illusions I Recall runs from the 22nd of June to the 25th of August 2013 in the New Galleries, IMMA, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin 8

http://www.northberkeleyimports.com/Ca-del-Roro-V128.aspx
https://www.facebook.com/Ligvine
http://www.imma.ie/en/page_236702.htm

Wine Soak no.8: ROTATOR

Our wine correspondent Jakob Ligvine Kreek found himself spinning out of control at the opening of ROTATOR a series of performances and events by Ruth Clinton & Niamh Moriarty that took place at Pallas Projects/Studios. During the month of March 2013.

On the cool dry evening of March 1st, during one of my merry jaunts in search of new adventures, I was traversing the district of the Coombe and Liberties in Dublin. In these dark and winding streets formerly the feudal lands of Lord Meath one can still see the remnants of the Brabazon family’s philanthropic activities. On the Long Lane the edifice of the Meath Hospital still lingers and the peculiar granite entrance portico to the Coombe lying in Hospital stands in defiance of passing time. The ruined Church of St. Luke’s built in 1709 and burnt down in 1986 also reminds us of those histories and alternative geographies that have become lost to us. I found myself on the corner of St luke’s Street and the Coombe looking toward the carcass of the derelict church when the air became filled with the pungent odour of burning wood. There was a strange underlying dampness that saturated the air like the stagnant vapours of a history trying to suffocate the present. Further along the street by the hoarding of a vacant lot my nostrils flared as the air became condensed by the sensation of being close to a large body of water. However, there was nothing to be seen from the street. A peculiar wavin drain pipe attached to the hoarding caught my eye and on further investigation it turned out to be a periscope. To my surprise it revealed a view of a large pond in the excavated crater in the vacant lot on the other side of the fence. Something was afoot! Continue reading…

Wine Soak no.7: Ligvine Strikes Again

In our seventh installment our correspondent Jakob Ligvine Kreek reluctantly attends the opening of the annual Turner exhibition in the National Gallery but finds some solace in the spiritual works of James Hennessy.

It was a dreary January evening that turned quickly cold and exceptionally wet when a curator friend of mine telephoned and invited me along at short notice, as a plus one, to the opening of the annual Turner exhibition in the National Gallery. I was immediately trawling through my bag of excuses over the phone as I looked out at the rivulets of water running down the dark window panes of Ligvine HQ. The last thing I wanted to do was to wrap up in my rain coat and head out, splashing through the grey puddles on the water sodden January night, until he mentioned the Hennessy cocktails. “What’s that?” I said to him, “Hennessy! I’ll be right there.” Continue reading…

Wine Soak no.6: Catholic Intemperance

In episode six, our correspondent Jakob Ligvine Kreek finds himself at the launch of a book reissuing the essays of the late Hubert Butler. While despairing an increase of €1 excise on a bottle of wine in the latest austerity budget Ligvine considers whether these historic texts could offer an opportunity to re-think the Nation and re-drink the State. Could the sensibilities of Hubert Butler present an alternative to drowning our sorrows?

Aghast at the prospect of another draconian budget I found myself perusing the Irish Times for a distraction and came across a talk and book launch concerning works by the late Hubert Butler that was taking place in the Hub in Trinity College. The talk was to feature two of the great Irish literati of our day: Fintan O’Toole and John Banville. Both writers are great fans of the essayist who had been regarded as a malcontent and an unsettling annoyance to the architects of the newly independent Irish State. As a commentator on Irish society and also the greater world, Butler could be regarded in an Irish context as a non-conformist that caused horrific embarrassment to the profoundly catholic and inward looking administrators of the newly formed Free State and subsequent Republic. The distinct advantage enjoyed by Hubert Butler was that as a member of that more cosmopolitan constituency within Irish life, known as the protestant ascendancy class, he was perhaps at liberty to consciously look beyond the shores of this island, beyond the blinkers that the catholic church imposed upon the general masses, to develop his musings on the sensibilities of Irish culture and daily life. One of his greatest attributes was the way in which he always turned to the particular to address the universal. Continue reading…

Wine Soak no.5: A Sobering Awareness

In the fifth episode of our series, Jacob Ligvine Kreek visits two art exhibitions currently running in Dublin. At one of them, he finds himself completely sober.

I recently received an invitation to attend a “pop-up” event called Dublin Biennial POP-UP. Quite a grand title for an event that seemed to be situated on the periphery of the city, in the economic wasteland of an unoccupied super-mall, at the Point Village. The journey on the tram out to this dead end of the city is overlooked by the skeleton of the incomplete Anglo Irish Bank headquarters that stands as a reminder of the vacuous cavity left behind after the greed and avarice of the Celtic tiger tycoons ripped the heart out of this Islands economy. I arrived a bit early and found myself wandering through the majestic space of the desolate super-mall, escalators rising and falling, stairs leading down through several floors into the bowels of the earth. There was not the echo of a single sinner’s shoe other than my own. I peered down below where the stairs disappeared into the darkness. I was all alone pondering the hellish blackness that awaits the troubled soul of a nation that is on the brink of falling into the pits of darkest despair, all on account of this wasteful and over eager development. Continue reading…

Wine Soak no.4: Challenging Times

In the fourth of our series, Jacob Ligvine Kreek explores the world of emerging art and wine at the exhibition opening of (Re)structures in the new space “eight..” at 8 Dawson Street.

Through the art vines I heard about the opening of a new exhibition space on Dawson Street called “eight…” Always enthusiastic to explore a new location to quaff the grape juice I pottered my way across town from Ligvine HQ to Dawson Street. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the minister for the Arts, Mr. J. Deenihan, was there to launch the new space. The presence of such a figure of high standing amongst the art community gave the event a certain air of grandeur. I secured a glass of Marques de Leon from the bar table in the back room and, in preparation for the imminent speeches, proceeded to lash into it. Continue reading…

Wine Soak no.2: Where The Hell Was I?

The second in a series in which Jacob Ligvine Kreek goes in search of suitable refreshments at Dublin exhibition openings.

A number of possibilities presented themselves for last Thursdays evening’s entertainment, but after some deliberation I opted to attend the launch of a photographic book entitled Where Were You?, which was being hosted by the Gallery Of Photography. I was somewhat intrigued by this notion of a book documenting Dublin ‘youth culture’, as ‘youth’ and ‘culture’ were not two things I would normally associate with each other. I was also swayed by the fact that the Gallery of Photography can normally be relied upon to provide an acceptable enough vintage at their openings. Continue reading…

Wine Soak no. 1

The first in a series of occasional columns in which noted flâneur and wine expert, Jacob Ligvine Kreek, reports on what was on offer at a recent Dublin exhibition opening.

I had the extreme pleasure of soaking up a mixed bag of international selections at the Pallas Project’s space in Dominic Street last Friday night. The experience began with a palatable young Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile, Casa Leona 2010. This rough and ready red, available from Marks and Spencer’s, was accompanied by an exuberant and well attended opening of a “group exhibition” or so it seemed. Continue reading…



Copyright © 2004–2009. All rights reserved.

RSS Feed. This blog is proudly powered by Wordpress and uses Modern Clix, a theme by Rodrigo Galindez.