Archived entries for Writing

Constellations by Orlaith Phelan

C o n s t e l l a t i o n s
Wolfgang Tillmans, Rebuilding the Future Exhibition | IMMA

I’m photographs, sometimes photocopies, sometimes even photographs of photocopies. I’m taut, stretched and bare. Thin skin on clips balanced on an edge, human in and of paper. I’m framed, bound, sealed and dispersed in my own ordered disorder. I’m not hierarchy. I’m raised, pressed in corners, by door frames, over eyes, scattered flecks along each wall. Patterns colliding with vulnerable intent. I hide and I consume, between hard glass, white edge, and a devouring red that lingers as mirrored traces against the flat planes towards the hand that holds your dripping head.

I’m moments and the interstitial. The infra thin of borders and after borders, leaving both a position and a question. I’m that yellow line down the middle. The stain, the muck; the scratches that are not meant to be. I break, spatter and gather; a box of empties all used up. Systems, fragments and scraps of something dirty and divine. The excesses of the time; the love on the dance floor, the cock in your mouth, and the hands you hold in prayer. I’m the white wave catching colour, the fold that denies and caresses dark and light.

I’m showing you what makes the “me” of this, the pieces of now, and the things not of us. The measures of power, growth and decay at every scale. The cracks in the sand, spilling veins of disruption and collapse. I’m the apparatus and the ties, the plastic tubes that coil and hang. Colours that melt of horizons that must remember not to fade. I’m the light that hits your back, in the glow to the gutter of what came before the morning with the remains smeared at our feet. I’m your hand that rests in the crisp blue.

I’m of an old future looking back. Always changing; a process of medium becoming object becoming body. My body that’s been recorded, crumpled, erased, and exposed, but always rebuilding forward. I’m the black on brown, the tight brace on your flexed muscle reminding. I’m an approach without fear to push or pause. Cravings and thoughts of joy and distress; the singular pluralities of all parts human. I’m the intimacy of the explicit unprotected, and the desire that punctures the mundane desperate to seek and see. I’m all parts human and the need to be expressed.

I’m not a theme and I’m no one thing. I’m the opposite of your reductive thoughts and the will to be the obvious. An abstraction that keeps abstracting, but somehow I manage to hold and hover in the sounds of “just enough to think” and “let’s stop before we go too far”. A life of work from a work in life. I’m a thread of all things, like a constellation that burns in and out of sight; an offering of all points with nothing denied.


Orlaith Phelan is an architect and a current student of Art in the Contemporary World

Emma Brennan’s Heed To The Mound, reviewed by Aoife Banks

Six contorted, heaving bodies, six mounds of dough, arms and legs entwined with lengths of proved flour, yeast and water. Twisting, manipulating limbs and torsos. Cold, thick slaps of bread dough against concrete. Brushing of feet and fingers, the clatter of elbows, palms and kneecaps against the flour sifted floor. Dusty sweeping of limbs. Panting fury. Laboured breaths. Exhausted sighs. Groans of resistance; of perseverance. Our bodies; our battleground.

Emma Brennan’s authored durational performance “Heed, to the Mound”, presents a group of women negotiating space through the movement of mounds of bread dough within the space of The Complex for Dublin’s 2018 Fringe Festival. Taking place over the course of 3 hours, physical exertion takes it’s toll on the performers as they use their bodies to manoeuvre and manipulate mounds of bread dough, equivalent to the weight of their own bodies, across the performance space. Heed brings to the fore the question of space, how it is occupied, who occupies it and how we negotiate our bodies accordingly. Moving mounds through the tumultuous terrain of gender politics proves no easy feat, as the excruciating and exhaustive work quite fittingly erodes these women mentally and physically throughout the duration of the performance. With puffed red faces and sweat glistened necks, the performers roll, twist, knead, push and pull their dough with ferocious determination evoking an emotional response from spectators. As tightly clenched fists punch into dough and miniature mountains inch across concrete we see the slow progression of women’s rights throughout history, we see the everyday instances of aggression and violence toward female bodies, we hear the hurt and fury in the exasperated groans of women on the battleground of Ireland’s sociopolitical landscape.

The undervaluing of women’s labour throughout history and the unseen emotional labour expected of women within contemporary society are brought to the fore in Heed. Taking inspiration from her grandmother’s tradition of baking brown bread for the family, Brennan questions the devaluation of homemaking skills, deemed as “women’s work”, in Irish society. In rural Irish homesteads, the process of baking seemed to go almost unacknowledged and undervalued compared to the work of men’s labour on the farm or outside of the home. Heed, to the Mound points a finger at society’s valuation of the workload associated with the traditional role of the homemaker. Through the poignant actions of a group of women labouring intensively, exhausting every part of their bodies, over masses of dough, attention is drawn to the intensity of this work and respect that must be commanded of the act of making. Heed emphasises the importance of valuing these acts of unseen and undervalued labour in opposition to the emphasis placed on working for monetary gain within a capitalist system.

Brennan refers to her process of preparing the dough as a metaphor for the creation of life. “With flour and water, we can create a living, breathing body, something which can grow through proofing.” The genderless, sexless, mounds of dough present each performer with an opportunity to experience a sense of self without the weight of gender bias, stigma, discrimination, fear or insecurity. With pressed backs, stomping feet and curled fingers these women manipulate their very being across a public platform. Each women tending to their own projected doughy selves; some rip chunks out and squeeze together again, some stretch and roll out for lengths becoming thinner and thinner with each inch, some repeat the pulling and folding of flaps; the slapping of flesh and dough reverberating through the room. When kneading dough you cannot be heavy-handed – it changes the entire consistency and texture, you can taste a bread baked with love or anger. A handful of dough receiving the blunt force, or gentle caress, of emotion; do our bodies receive the same attention from the space we inhabit? Politics are a tactile experience, and the daily micro-aggressive touch of our oppressive sociopolitical sphere lingers in our physicality and psyche alike.

The socio-political landscape of contemporary Ireland has been aflood with dissent regarding the relationship between the state and women’s bodies. In 2018, Irish society saw the culmination of decades of protest in the passing of the movement to repeal the 8th Amendment from the Irish constitution. The year also marks the centenary of women’s partial suffrage in Ireland; 1918 was the first time Irish women (aged 30 or older who were university graduates or owned a certain amount of property) were permitted by law to vote and run in parliamentary elections. Both movements saw women collectively struggling against structures of power that sought to oppress and define them physically, mentally, socially and politically. From the violent beatings of protesting suffragettes at the hands of police forces to the vice grip of the 8th Amendment and the mobilisation of women in the campaign to repeal it, the female body indefinitely exists as a site of conflict in a constant struggle against its aggressive politicisation. Taking place just three months after the referendum on the 8th amendment was held, Heed, to the Mound allows for a form of post-repeal conflict resolution to play out on the concrete floor of The Complex. The struggle of dissent against patriarchal structures of power echoes through the space as violent slaps of an elongated limb of dough reverberate through the concrete floor. Forcefully, in spite of her evident fatigue, a woman thrusts it behind her shoulder to gain momentum before hurtling it down upon the flour scattered ground. Some of the dough breaks away to hit a nearby wall. She repeats her action; the dough catches her behind the neck with a smack to her upper back; there can be no disruption without trauma. She perseveres.

Exhausted, and seemingly close to defeat, one woman halts her movements. The mass she had been inching across the space has begun to stick to the undredged floor and each push is met with increased resistance. As she heaves her body upon the mound to catch her breath and rest for a moment, she is spotted by the human dredger. This woman stands watching over the others, smiling gently, a mountain of flour in hand. Upon seeing distress, she tends to the struggling womens needs by sifting flour with great care around the stubborn masses of dough. A moment later, the performer is moving again. In times of mass dissent against oppressive forces of power, it is collectivity and care for ourselves and one another that carry us through. We must remember to pay heed to the mound.

ACW24 -TBG+S

NCAD ACW masters students are currently developing a publication containing a 16 part dossier under the theme of Co-Habitation and will spend 24 hours co-habitating, experimenting, workshopping, writing about, and mapping co-existence. Over the last 7 months, the ACW students involved have studied, written about and discussed philosophy, theory, and surrounding literature concerning contemporary art and writing. The 16 students taking part in this experiment come from a broad spectrum of disciplines and are concerned with the following questions.

What does it mean for a group of visual artists, journalists, curators, historians, and writers to workshop, debate, critique, perform, write, eat and sleep in a single studio space over a 24 hour period?
How will this experience of co-habitation manifest through the process of collective writing?
What are the broader socio-political repercussions of co-habitation and how do these issues affect our considerations of this process?
Where does contemporary art and writing situate itself in relation to this theme?
What does it mean to inhabit a space in these terms?
What individual and collective concerns will arise during this experiment?
And how will this experiment direct the final publication?

Launch of Paper Visual Art Journal, vol. 10

Launch of PVA 10 at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios

Thursday 28 March 2019, 7–9 pm
Atrium Space, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios

“Paper Visual Art Journal will be launching their latest hard-copy issue on Thursday 28 March in the Atrium, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, from 7–9 p.m. Alongside reviews and responses to exhibitions and public artworks in Ireland and elsewhere, PVA 9 comprises a series of texts and contributions focused on borders, political and otherwise.

With contributions by Kevin Brazil, Garrett Carr, Laurence Counihan, Wendy Erskine, Peter Geohegan, Declan Long, Rebecca O’Dwyer, Rachel O’Reilly, Kathy Prendergast, Andrey Shental, and Guy Woodward.

This publication was made possible with funding by the Arts Council.

All welcome. Do come!”

PVA

ACW Alumni Adrian Duncan’s New Novel, Love Notes from a German Building Site.

In April The Lilliput Press will be launching ACW alumni Adrian Duncan’s debut novel entitled ‘Love Notes from a German Building Site.’

‘Love Notes from a German Building Site’ follows the story of Paul, an Irish engineer in Berlin, involved in the renovation of a commercial building in Alexanderplatz. Constantly aware of the cracks in its foundations, the text moves calmly towards a manifest cohesion and stability
as Paul’s daily experiences fragment, collapse and are formed anew.

Duncan recently premiered his documentary on the work of structural engineer, Peter Rice, ‘Floating Structures’ at the Dublin International Film Festival. His process of making and the aesthetic of his works derives from an interest in language, and the processes of construction, both amateur and professional, he has carried this through beautifully to his writing.

The launch will be held at the Goethe Institut on Tuesday 16 April at 6pm.

Old Invitations A DHG Student Forum response to the DHG archive

A DHG Student Forum response to the DHG archive
Thursday 28 February 2019, 1pm–8pm

Since March 2018, we’ve been celebrating 40 years of The Douglas Hyde Gallery, looking back through the DHG archive on Instagram under the hashtag #dhgat40, and gathering reflections from artists and audiences.

On 28 February, we will conclude our year-long anniversary celebrations with a special exhibition and series of performances over one afternoon and evening, curated by the DHG Student Forum.

Join us in the gallery on the 28th to explore Student Forum members’ responses to 40 years of programming at the DHG.

PROGRAMME

GALLERY 1

1pm–2pm
Automatic Writing Workshop with Eimear Regan

Taking inspiration from methods of practice of Hilma af Klint, whose paintings were shown in Gallery 2 in 2004 as part of The Paradise exhibition series (2001–2013), Eimear Regan will conduct an Automatic Writing Workshop. Participants will be encouraged to let their hand guide the process while developing a piece of new writing. No experience is necessary to participate in the workshop.

Open to all, but places are limited. To reserve a place, email dhgallery@tcd.ie.

2pm–5pm
Exhibition open to the public, including:

Visionary Art at the DHG – Research paper by Eimear Regan
A research paper following a timeline of visionary art that has been displayed throughout the gallery’s 40-year programme. The Kilim carpets in 1979, the Kalachakra Sand Mandala made by Tibetan monks in the gallery in 1994, K.F. Schobinger’s exhibition of drawings in 2006 (part of The Paradise exhibition series) and Tamara Henderson’s 2018 exhibition Season’s End: More Than Suitcases are just a few of the exhibitions touched on. This paper discusses the thread of attempting to make sense of the mysterious world through artistic practice and aspires to cover artists who have shown in the gallery and whose work has visionary qualities and aims. The research project will be discussed during the public seminar.

Re-Aftermath – 3D projection by Theo Hynan-Ratcliffe
This work consists of four separate videos repeated to form a skin-like cladding for the foundation of the gallery site. An audio piece which acts as the pulse of the archive, an archive soundscape punctuated by definitions of words used to describe the archive and used to describe the intention of intervening in the DHG’s archival materials. The rhythmic action of interacting with the physical archive and the repetitive hypnotic act of turning pages of history, generate skin, body and physicality. The human marks that act as the skeleton of the archive bring the increments of history back into the gallery itself as a physical presence in the space.

5.30pm–6.45pm
Public Seminar: Led by Aisling Ní Aodha, Laurence Counihan and Eimear Regan.

Open to all, no booking required.

7.30pm–8pm
Fleeced! by Isadora Epstein

Fleeced! is a new performance by Isadora Epstein about the mythical Golden Fleece and the 1990 Anselm Kiefer exhibition Jason and the Argonauts. The theatrical lecture will be accompanied by musician/composer Sinéad Onóra Kennedy and choreographer/dancer Aoibhinn O’Dea.

Open to all, but places are limited. To reserve a place, email dhgallery@tcd.ie. Due to the nature of the performance, there can be no late admittance.

GALLERY 2

1pm–8pm
An epistolary exchange with Richard Skelton, by Siobhán Kane

Siobhán Kane invited the artist Richard Skelton into an epistolary dialogue, to revisit his 2011 work Landings for The Douglas Hyde Gallery, and further explore some of his thoughts on landscape, art and the vital role of archiving. What emerges both surprises and educates, putting forward the idea that no art is finite. Through a small installation, both audio and textual, Kane pays homage to the original exhibition of Landings, and its idea of immersion as touchstone.

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Image: Student Forum archival research meeting at The Douglas Hyde Gallery, 16 October 2018.

Bauhaus Effects

A conference organised by the National College of Art and Design, University College Cork, University College Dublin and the Goethe Institut Dublin – 7-9 February 2019

Bauhaus Effects will assemble an interdisciplinary collection of papers that analyse the repercussions of the legendary Bauhaus school in the hundred years since its inception, considering the ways in which the broad range of practices have transformed everyday experiences from the 1920s to the present day.

Bauhaus innovations and models of thought continue to resonate within the contemporary built environment, from chair construction to skyscraper design, from interior spaces to urban topographies, warranting a thorough, methodologically diverse studies of its effects a century after the school was founded.

Bauhaus Effects aims to investigate the continuing impact of the Bauhaus on an impressive range of contemporary practices across the globe. We propose that the Bauhaus was not just a radical art school but in fact initiated a fundamental paradigm shift in design culture whose import is ripe for assessment a century on.

Contributing Institutions:

Goethe Institut Dublin; National College of Ireland; National Gallery of Ireland ; University College Dublin; Dublin City Council; German Embassy; University College Cork

Organising Committee:

Francis Halsall, NCAD; Kathleen James-Chakraborty, UCD; Thomas Lier, Goethe Institut; Sabine Kriebel, UCC; Declan Long, NCAD; Sarah Pierce, NCAD; Heidrun Rottke, Goethe Institut.

Booking Link

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bauhaus-effects-tickets-54536415888

NB: THE EVENT IS NOW FULLY BOOKED.

Location

National Gallery of Ireland

Merrion Square West

Dublin 2

View Map

Conference Programme

THURSDAY

6pm: Introductions and welcomes by the CONFERENCE TEAM/ AMBASSADOR etc.:

6:30 – 7.30pm. Opening Keynote: Heike Hanada, Bauhaus University, Weimar, Germany, CHAIR: PROF. KATHLEEN JAMES CHAKRABORTY

FRIDAY

10:00am – 12pm. Panel 1: Bauhaus Effects in everyday life CHAIR: LISA GODSON

Andrew McNamara (Queensland University of Technology, Australia): Bauhaus Effects and the contemporary legacy
Mariana Meneses Romero (Nottingham Trent University, UK): Vidal Sassoon and the Bauhaus
Kerry Meaken (Dublin Institute of Technology): The Bauhaus Effect on the Fundamentals of Window Display
Jonathan Foote (Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark): Toys and the Innocent Eye: Bauhaus Toys of the 1920s

1:00 – 3:00pm. Panel 2: Paradigm Shift CHAIR: Dr SABINE KRIEBEL

Patrick Roessler (Erfurt, Germany) “New typography”, the Bauhaus, and its Impact on Graphic Design
Dietrich Neuman (Brown University, USA) Space-Time and the Bauhaus
Aleksi Lohtaja (University of Jyväskylä, Finland) Bauhaus effects in political economy of Space and Sign
Jan Frohburg (University of Limerick) Bauhaus and Aircrafts
3:30 – 5:15pm. Panel 3: Bauhaus Aftershocks CHAIR: DECLAN LONG

Vanessa Troiano (City University of New York, USA) The “Bauhaus Idea” in Robert Rauschenberg’s Blueprints
Jordan Troeller (Berlin, Germany) Lucia Moholy in Turkey
Ruth Baumeister (Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark) Bauhaus Effects In and out of Scandinavia
Katarina Elvén (Stockholm, Sweden) Aspects of Doing – The Photographic and Photographed Activity at the Bauhaus

SATURDAY

9:30-11:00am. Panel 4: Bauhaus Effects through pedagogy. CHAIR: FRANCIS HALSALL

Suzanne Strum: Knud Lönberg-Holm and Michigan
Ingrid Mayrhofer Hufnagl: Klee’s pedagogy and computational processing
Philip Glahn: Radical pedagogy of Bauhaus, art as social labor

11:30am – 1:00pm Closing Keynote: Irit Rogoff, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK. CHAIR: DR SARAH PIERCE

The Ontology of the Artefact

The Ontology of the Artefact is a digital publication compiled by students, Aoife Banks, Nathan Cahill and Kate Friedeberg of NCAD’s Art in the Contemporary World Masters programme, exploring the conditions of the artefact within colonial museology through to contemporary visual culture. It is a platform for discourse surrounding the artefact and its displacement, creation, destruction, and reimagining.

Read the publication here: http://www.ontologyoftheartefact.xyz

Please join us for the launch of The Ontology of the Artefact at Temple Bar Gallery and Studios on Wednesday 30th Jan at 7pm. Speaking at the launch will be Rachel Dwyer, lecturer of digital cultures in the School of Visual Cultures in the NCAD and Melanie Otto, lecturer of postcolonial literature in The School of English in Trinity College. Talk followed by wine reception.

Wednesday 30 January 2019
7pm
Studio 6

Free admission, no booking required.

Free event on artists’ writing at Dublin Art Book Fair – Tuesday 27th November

Why do artists write? And do they approach the task of writing differently?

The Art in the Contemporary World MA/ MFA programme at NCAD and Paper Visual Art are hosting an evening of readings at which artists and critics will read their own words, or those of other artists. Speakers include Sue Rainsford, Suzanne Walsh, Fiona Gannon, Jessica Foley, Lily Cahill and others. It will take place on Tuesday 27th November at 6pm in Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin, as part of the Dublin Art Book Fair 2018.

Free. Open too all. Refreshments served. Please book a place via eventbrite here.

This will be the first of a series of events putting the spotlight on new forms of writing and publishing practices in contemporary art planned for 2018-19.

Review: Furtive Tears by Niamh McCann at The Hugh Lane Gallery by Brendan Fox (ACW)

A New Occult and Encounters with the Invisible Man

A review of Furtive Tears, 4 October 2018 – 6 January 2019 by Niamh McCann at The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin, 2018.

Rodin's The Age of Bronze AKA The Awakening Man AKA The Vanquished One (masked) - Box Steel Frame, Walnut Burl Veneer Panel, Painted Panel, nuts and bolts, The Age of Bronze by Auguste Rodin from Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane’s collection - 2018.Photo Credit: Ruarí Conaty.

Occultation; n. (Astronomy); The passage of a celestial object across the line of sight between an observer and another celestial object; as when the moon moves between the Earth and the sun in a solar eclipse.

Beckoning us through ghostly operatic echoes as we ascend the stoic neoclassical staircase of the Hugh Lane Gallery, McCann’s video work Furtive Tears, Salomé’s Lament eventually drenches us in
an opulent fusion of Richard Strauss’s Salomé and Donizetti’s Una Furtiva Lagrima from here the hybridism of language and landscape becomes only more strange.

An imposing screen seduces us. Boris, a suited man, appears to await our arrival and scales the grandiose marble staircase of Belfast City Hall in a pair of red high heels. In a duo of impassioned tableau vivant’s he mimics the stance of Sir Edward Carson’s statue, situated at Stormont Castle, Belfast, followed by the Jim Larkin monument on O’Connell Street, just meters away. Both prominent twentieth century political figures immortalised in a state of dramatic public address. Outside the gallery they tower over contemporary cities fraught with new political uncertainties, their power redundant, their bodies now relics cast in silence. McCann breathes a last breath into their predominance and within it gives us space to reassess our own position in relation to both historic and contemporary power structures.
In the following scene we follow Boris’s continued ascension as he scales the Ridge View of Black Mountain leaving Belfast city behind having swapped his suit for a panda costume. Still wearing his red shoes, we witness him meandering through dewy grass, climbing fences and encountering mildly inconvenienced cows. He again mimics these political ghosts but this time the man is hidden, masked, he has become a cartoon. The dramatic inhabitance of these two iconic statues becomes a pathetic historical indistinct echo falling on deaf ears. We see his physical intentions without the details of expression, he is present but not apparent, something has passed between us and him obscuring our perspective, our reality.

This notion of occultation is pushed further in the adjoining gallery as we encounter our third immortalised male figure in a work wryly entitled The Age of Bronze AKA The Awakening Man AKA The Vanquished One (masked) pertaining to Rodin’s multi named bronze cast male figure (1876-77), a piece from the Hugh Lane Collection. McCann encases the gallery’s own Age of Bronze in a sharp green box frame, his head and upper body obscured with two panels, one blue the other a walnut burl veneer. This is a mongrel of the opposing sides of modernism but beyond its formal and art historical loft dwells a new space for interpretation. Through McCann’s geometric addition the figure of the naked bronze solider appears vulnerable, even caged. As the linear mechanism contrasts with the details and curvatures of his lower anatomy a palpable intimacy develops, yet he cannot “see” us, he is a pawn in a statement, to be looked at but not fully engaged with.

These historic male statues and monuments bare a contemporary vulnerability. McCann is redistributing notions of power and how we perceive it. She confidently harnesses these icons like a child might put batteries in an old toy and asks us to look again. Paradoxically there is a sense of the prophetic here, these historic regurgitations feel immediate and succeed through McCann’s ubiquitous intentions, her place amid the current socio-political zeitgeist and our own conception of the dawning of a new order.

In another gallery a taxidermied fawn towers above us, its head suffocated with a zipped black balloon, its fore limbs extended to its rear with black curved rods as it precariously sits, like a rocking horse, atop a box frame plinth, containing a dangling umbilical-esque blue neon tube light. From a height a pair of white voile drapes partially veil the rich blue walls before theatrically pouring to the floor surrounding an offering of fresh lilies, their fragrance inhabiting the space in a sharp organic sweetness as if Salomé herself was present, seducing us, dancing the Seven Veils amid this mise-en- scène tempered with sacrifice, vulnerability and power. These works lean on us as viewers to decipher what we do not see, or what McCann chooses to occult; they deftly summon forth the invisible. In the same room a large bronze nose cast from Seamus Murphy’s marble bust of Michael Collins (1949), another work from the Hugh Lane Collection, sits on a faux classical plinth, faceless, ironically pointing at a second green pedestal with a pair of destroyed aviator sunglasses. The monumental male is almost invisible now, surviving only by a nose, snorting contemporary air, like a man drowning in history or to quote Salomé in “black lakes troubled by fantastic moons.”

Art critic Rosalind Krauss writes of the logic of sculpture as being inseparable from the logic of the monument, “It sits in a particular place and speaks in a symbolical tongue about the meaning or use of that place”. McCann’s landscape of artefacts is profoundly routed in the space it inhabits; it is of the institution and rebels tangibly and intellectually within that frame. It is quite literally a Trojan horse, it is a series interventional contraptions concealing rebels and soldiers.

Here Salomé no longer dances alone under the gaze of men McCann’s ideas head bang alongside her, amid the Hugh Lane collection, like their parents have gone out of town. Furtive Tears is a spiky romantic affair it confronts us with fact and fiction, real and faux. Like Parrhasius’s curtain the perceived occultation is the work. As McCann’s objects pass between us and the past they momentarily eclipse history and in that darkness dwells a new constellation offering us portals into the alternative, interrogating socio-political shifts and arguing the legitimacy of the relics of politics and art, placing us at the centre of our own truths and preconceived ideas of our idiosyncratic place in story that is history.

Brendan Fox is an artist, curator, film maker and writer living in Dublin, he is currently studying MA Art in the Contemporary World, NCAD

www.brendanfoxart.com

Review by Seanán Kerr, ACW: Sean Scully, The Land/The Line at The Kerlin Gallery

Landline Burgandy, Sean Scully. Photo by Seanán Kerr

The Land/The Line, Sean Scully

The Kerlin Gallery

3rd October-17th November

“People come in here wanting to hate them…” To turn a trite cliché if Sean Scully didn’t exist you’d have to invent him, but such is the particular idiosyncrasies of that aspect (or perception) of Ireland he captures, there is perhaps only space in the collective art consciousness for one. What the gallerist informed me cannot be said for certain to be a wholly accurate gauge of the mind state of those before encountering one of the large square Scullies from 2015 and 2017 (curiously not 2016) of the landline series. As ever the space of the Kerlin excels in displaying work of this kind of scale, big, but not excessively so, a generously portioned meal for an obese Goldilocks, the size and lighting of the space suits these creatures. Yet what the gallerist said certainly indicates there is an expectation, that they are too easy, a little too technical bereft, or perhaps rather a little too close to the bone as regards precisely what it is they speak of.

The seven works are the same size, approximately the same form, though two are canvas and five are aluminium, the ‘lines’ of the show title are there and they are not. This use of line as a denominator is surely at least partially ironic, at very few points are the delineations between the horizontalised colour forms these paintings consist of so clean as to honestly be called “line” with a straight face, there is a minimum of three dimensions at play here. They smack and trample, into and over, akin to the colours in a four year old’s ball of play dough, once pristine, now mangled and bet into each other. Which isn’t to say they aren’t clearly defined, but sometimes the so-called lines aren’t defined by themselves inasmuch as they are by the last vestiges of older lines peeping out, like disturbed graves on a building site.

But what of the uncomfortable truth in Scully’s work? TJ Clark once defended the abstract expressionists citing “vulgarity”, is there a similar defense to be mounted in Scully’s case? Perhaps, perhaps not, in selecting the term “vulgar” Clark chose a word perfectly suited to a political, economic and cultural superpower on the rise, different to Ireland. Were I to propose such a term for Scully in the context of Éire it would have to be one that holds to an equivalent essential truth about both; that word would have to be “adequate”.

Like “vulgar” it conjures a sense of the pejorative, but not necessary so. The etymological root is in the latin for “equal”, the modern sense means “just good enough”. Both meanings speak of a certain truth of Irishness, where the light under overcast skies is spread wide, thin, nothing pops in such light, photographers complain of it, the lines are not quite lines.

The paintings follow a clockwise pattern, you climb the stairs and start with the one on its own on the left. This one is clearly the first in the sequence, there is a sense of signature about it, if you had to chose one to speak for the remaining half dozen, this would be it. The mix of blues is emblematic of the selection of works here, the inside of an old pot left outdoors rust orange, the burgundy that gives the work it’s title (Landline Burgundy), the sticking plaster fleshy-beige that streaks across the middle…

The presence of aluminium and canvas-based paintings begs a question, encourages examination of the brush strokes for stories and meaning. The aluminium resists, the canvas gives; so I’m told. (Though one risks making a fool of oneself if you can’t pass the pepsi challenge without peeking round the sides to note the material). The two blues speak of dark sea, yet the blue at the bottom is almost comically so, a mutant stowaway, a child’s idea of what blue is, unnatural and yet a shade often found on school uniforms. No single “line” is uniform. As with how the margins bleed and bump, fight and jostle, so too within the strokes themselves there is disagreement, different colours cling to different bristles, nothing is clearly defined and yet it is. There are seven “lines” (Newton who gave us two purple-blues (because the number seven appealed to his occultist sensibilities) would be pleased), the burgundy is second from bottom, it is complimented by the sticking plaster beige by looking like something you’d find under a bandage.

It is difficult sometimes to separate those aspects of Irishness that are in and of themselves, “pure” so to speak and those which emerged as a technology to be used against the English. An example can be found in a scene from Paddy Breathnacht’s I Went Down, where three men in a car approach a Garda checkpoint, the two in the front are kidnapping the one in the back, the kidnappers frantically curse the presence of the Gardaí on the road ahead as they pull up towards them, but as soon as they do pull up and the Garda looms through the wound down window, Brendan Gleeson’s Bunny draws the biggest laugh of the film by making this face…

There is something sinister about “Céad Míle Fáilte”, the term “aggressive gift giving” springs to mind, to be welcomed a hundred thousand times would be beyond tolerable.

The paint is slapped and lathered, the root of the strokes, as much in elbow, shoulder, torso, as wrist. A lick of not quite painted-over brown between beige and navy blue, another of the aforementioned disturbed graves.

The second Landline Asure, promises something more tranquil, this paint is borne by canvas, the surface less brutalised, shorter strokes, more delicate, curvier. A thick, almost slime-like spearmint green dominates the middle, an unfamiliar brand of toothpaste, one blue is so navy-dark it is as though the paint itself is hiding the strokes out of shame. There is no flatness here either, not really.

The third is brother to the first, perhaps twin. A broader spectrum. The longer, raking, straighter strokes the aluminium provokes, return. Again sea and rust, but a darker rust-red, situated on top, like a burning sky. A green is murdered and buried under granny-tights beige, can something that doesn’t aim for perfection have imperfections? A stab of white along the side, elderly pubic hair to go with the tights. Along the bottom is a dirty mustard, you’d think it had been dipped in it, if it wasn’t for the strokes.

The state of mind these images most readily reveal their nature to is sleep deprived. Jordowsky stayed awake for a week in the company of a zen master before shooting Holy Mountain. Camera pull back. Extreme heat and extreme cold are indistinguishable to touch. Place your arm along a series of bars which alternate cold and warm it will trick your system into registering extreme heat; apparently. The fourth is shaded like a child hiding in a ditch, or maybe she’s just thinking or longingly for the recent past to escape the near future as she rides in the back of the car being driven officiously back to the home she’d fled. This is what comes to mind when I look at Landline Crimson.

The lines have personality. The one painting called untitled has an expanse of grey, halfway between a view and being intensely accosted by John Major’s Spitting Image puppet. What does Scully have against canvases? Michelangelo struck David with his hammer demanding it speak, after it was finished, Scully attacks his canvases from the get go screaming, “shut up”.

The sixth is almost behaving itself, “yes Garda, as you can see…” the lines are almost evenly spaced. Here at last we have some green, but a green no Board Fáilte brochure would dare make use of. This is the green of Holbein’s dead Christ that so disturbed Dostoyevsky’s Prince Myshkin, not dying, not resurrected, but dead. This was the painting that on my first visit attracted flies, the gallerist approached me when he saw me taking photographs of them up close, we’d been in college about the same time, he a year below me (I think), but older, American, “please don’t post those online”, of course. Like a fascinating wound, the seat of all your attention, itchy, sore, pustulant, begging to be popped, prodded, picked, more engrossing than a smartphone in a hospital waiting room.

It is a treat to spend so much time with them, or at least to have a reason to, they require time. Footsteps and mouse clicks, short overheard conversations. The owner asking about the affordability of water taxis in some city he has to meet an artist, the gallerist answering a phone, saying matter of factly “about 11”. It seems everyone in here has a cold, sporadic coughing abounds, including from myself. I take it back, this one is the most obedient yet. Strokes shorter, more numerous, smoother, more bet in.

All is lit superbly. I am done, but never done with you Ireland, emigrant writers who can’t stop writing about here, you know the type, suppose you get it in painters too. Dignity in smeared makeup, like the drunk who feels sobered up in the company of the far drunker companion she’s waiting patiently with in the station at four in the morning. A strange blue-pink, the colour of a newborn chick tossed from a nest, an umbilical cord or varicose veins.

They are not lines,
They are not land,
They are people.

Seanán Kerr

Seanán Kerr was born in 1980, some stuff happened, then he wrote this. He is currently studying for an MA with Art in the Contemporary World, NCAD

Continue reading…

there is still much to do – a response to the work of Julia Dubsky by Sara Muthi

Baby Sharing. 96 x 80 x 2.5 cm. Oil on Canvas. 2018

What has already been said about painting is still not enough, the number of canvases marked has not scratched the surface of possibility. There is still much to do.

In a postmodern era which has given way to expanded painting (at times reaching intimate levels with forms of sculpture, installation and performance) there has also been a return to painting per se. This is the painting which concerns itself with hue, tone, composition, temperature (the list goes on). There are no frills, no gimmicks, just a primed stretched rectangular canvas with existing marks ready to be marked again. While painting may look inward questioning its ontology and possibilities, an exercise which has allowed for important movements such as expanded painting, painters of today can also simultaneously look at preserving the now. To quote David Joselit: “painting marks time, rather than intervening in the events that populate it”. Each mark made traces the fleeting action with which it was made. It stores gesture as evidence. The marking of time and engagement with painting per se are among the many concerns of Julia Dubsky.

Julia Dubsky is a Dublin born painter, and former studio mate of mine in the graduating class of 2016 from Fine Art Paint and Visual Culture at NCAD. She has since been granted many honourable opportunities, namely the coveted Temple Bar Gallery Recent Graduate Award. Dubsky has since relocated to Germany where she is currently doing a mentorship in the class of Jutta Koether in Hamburg University of Art. Personally, I chalk up her success to this; a delicate confidence. This is to be attributed to not just her painterly practice, but also to her character from which her work is inevitably rooted.

Dubsky’s Jealousy in the Garden (2018) concerns itself with her memory of painting, a sort of testing her unconsciousness. With that said, I feel this delicate confidence comes not from her unconscious ability but from where her conscious intention lies. I’ve been familiar with Dubsky’s practice for a number of years now and have seen it in many provisional stages. My mental portfolio of her work spans from peeking into her neighbouring studio at the Granary building of NCAD, to viewing her work Peacock (Jealousy) (2018) at the Kevin Kavanagh only earlier this year. My response to her painting has however still not been recast. I pick up on a palpable tension between her and her material (specifically oil paint). A point between artist allowing paint to be and the point of taking control, volition. I can almost hear the “oh no you don’t” as artist travels the canvas with material. Going back and forth, alternating her relationship between painter and consumer as she steps back to observe the canvas, it is clear nothing is incidental. If an aesthetic of frenzy emerges, consider it organised chaos. This is conspicuous due to the lack of drips or spots, no evidence of a mania or rashness. Given the painting’s thin application, as if razored flat, telling stains would be expected but none are present. Perhaps we could call it a power-play. This is what I imagine to happen behind her studio door.

It is this sew-saw of control that Dubsky utilises that elevates her delicate confidence. The image of the painting is immediate, it can be considered casual or brushed on. Dare I say rushed. But it is the security Dubsky has in her discernment and her carefully chosen materials that I believe grant works such as Baby Sharing (2018) it’s success.

I believe there is a point in each of Dubsky’s paintings in which she trusts her paint to slip into the unintentional. TJ Clark famously dismissed artist’s intentions stating he preferred to focus on what art can do. What Baby Sharing is doing is marking time, each layer reacting to the dry or wet paint beneath and laid upon it. However, none of that would be possible if not for the delicate confidence oozing from Dubsky and her work.

Sara Muthi

Julia Dubsky (b. 1990) is a Berlin based artist. She graduated from the NCAD Fine Art and Visual Culture BA in 2016; and she received the annual Temple Bar Gallery and Studios Recent Graduate Residency Award in 2017. Julia is currently doing a mentorship in the class of Jutta Koether, in Germany. Upcoming: nascent dirty lemon yellow, with Kyle McDonald at Pallas Projects 21-24 November,a solo exhibition in Amanada Wilkinson gallery, London (2019). Recent exhibitions and public speaking include: Island Life group show in Kevin Kavanagh Gallery (2018), Salon of Good Time solo residency exhibition in Temple Bar Gallery + Studios (2018); Basic Space Artist Talk, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane (2018).

Sara Muthi (b. 1996) is a Dublin based writer and curator. Muthi graduated with a BA from NCAD Fine Art and Visual Culture in 2016. She progressed and is soon to graduate from an MA in Art in the Contemporary World at NCAD. Since 2017 she has been managing editor of in:Action, the Irish Live Art review. Recent work includes: Anticipation: Actualisation curated event and panel discussion at the NCAD Gallery (2018); Homo Lundens (Man at Play) accompanying text for Black Church Print Studios (2018) Young, single and ready to navigate through complex issues regarding temporality and time review of PLATFORM’18 and panel discussion at the Draiocht (2018).

Photo credit goes to Matthew Thomas.

half-way to cyborg-city*


*a liminal-point at which a hybrid entity consisting of organic human and technological mechanisms is in the process of becoming a cyborg, though does not yet have a body. The ‘city’ in this case suggests a hypothetical destination in which the cyborg is integrated into contemporary metropolitan society.

ACW student Sara Muthi responds to Composition 2: Notes on Breathing + Space by Siobhan Kavanagh and Adam Gibney at Ground Floor Gallery, The Complex. The text is avalible to read on in:Action, here: https://inaction.ie/2018/08/20/half-way-to-cyborg-city/

‘The Inexquisite Corpse’, ACW Publication now available at The Library Project

A novella written collectively by Nathan Cahill, Jack Cole, Padraig Cunningham, Dorothy Hunter, Valerie Joyce, Ronny Koren, Stephen Lau, Roisin McVeigh, Sara Muthi, Sadbh O’Brien, and Hannah Tiernan is now available for purchase at The Library Project, 4 Temple Bar, Dublin 2.

The Inexquisite Corpse

There is a cold blue light in the sky. A train trundles southbound through rural terrain. It has been raining, transforming the view from the windows into a blur of green and grey. Raindrops make tracks through the dirt on the train’s neglected car. The atmosphere amongst the passengers is subdued. It’s as if they know the cargo on board and sense unrest…

The Inexquisite Corpse is a speculative thriller set in the dystopic future of post-Brexit Dublin. Trains carry bodies living and dead, wakes are held in pubs, detectives quote Kristeva, and money talks if only to lament low self-worth. Amidst the chaos, a corpse becomes aware of its post mortem existence. Perspectives shift. Bodies have been altered…

I’m not heading to the necropolis,
I’m just a necro heading to a polis.

Unlike the methodology of “exquisite corpse” where each collaborator consecutively adds to a text in sequence, this novella has been continuously and collectively reworked and reedited by the authors. The Inexquisite Corpse is a gauchely assembled, rickety, interruptive, conflictual account, where no rule prevails and no voice dominates.

Published by Art in the Contemporary World
School of Visual Culture
National College of Art & Design
100 ­Thomas Street
Dublin 8 Ireland.

www.acw.ie

BASIC TALKS ~ The White Pube

Friday, June 8 at 1 PM – 2 PM

The White Pube is the collaborative identity of Gabrielle de la Puente and Zarina Muhammad under which they write criticism and sometimes curate. It is based at thewhitepube.com and on Instagram and Twitter as @thewhitepube. The duo publish a new text every Sunday in the form of exhibition reviews and occasionally baby essays or podcasts, working from their respective cities of London and Liverpool.

BASIC TALKS is a series of talks with leading contemporary practitioners, taking place at The Hugh Lane on the second Friday of every month. Curated by Basic Space in partnership with The Hugh Lane, BASIC TALKS is a platform for lectures, workshops, presentations, and performances. Speakers will include artists, curators, writers, and critics who will generate discourse on producing, framing and exhibiting art. BASIC TALKS is a collaboration between Basic Space and The Hugh Lane, exploring alternatives in the dissemination of contemporary art and its discourses.

Admission is free but spaces are limited to 50 so please arrive promptly to avoid disappointment.

Basic Talks ~ The White Pube is part of a multi-site programme of exhibitions, residencies and public programmes looking at institutional attitudes, community spaces and education.

‘The Inexquisite Corpse’, ACW Publication Launch

The Inexquisite Corpse
Publication Launch
31st May // 6pm
Eblana House
Marrowbone Lane Dublin 8

The launch of the publication will be at Eblana House, Marrowbone Lane, Dublin 8, May 31st at 6.00pm.

The publication is collectively authored by the MA Art in the Contemporary World, and will be available in limited numbers as a special first edition tabloid newspaper on the launch night.

All are welcome. Light refreshments will be served.

Art in the Contemporary World presents:

The Inexquisite Corpse

A novella written collectively by Nathan Cahill, Jack Cole, Padraig Cunningham, Dorothy Hunter, Valerie Joyce, Ronny Koren, Stephen Lau, Roisin McVeigh, Sara Muthi, Sadbh O’Brien, and Hannah Tiernan.

There is a cold blue light in the sky. A train trundles southbound through rural terrain. It has been raining, transforming the view from the windows into a blur of green and grey. Raindrops make tracks through the dirt on the train’s neglected car. The atmosphere amongst the passengers is subdued. It’s as if they know the cargo on board and sense unrest…

The Inexquisite Corpse is a speculative thriller set in the dystopic future of post-Brexit Dublin. Trains carry bodies living and dead, wakes are held in pubs, detectives quote Kristeva, and money talks if only to lament low self-worth. Amidst the chaos, a corpse becomes aware of its post mortem existence. Perspectives shift. Bodies have been altered…

I’m not heading to the necropolis,
I’m just a necro heading to a polis.

Unlike the methodology of “exquisite corpse” where each collaborator consecutively adds to a text in sequence, this novella has been continuously and collectively reworked and reedited by the authors. The Inexquisite Corpse is a gauchely assembled, rickety, interruptive, conflictual account, where no rule prevails and no voice dominates.

More info here.

Published by Art in the Contemporary World
School of Visual Culture
National College of Art & Design
100 ­Thomas Street
Dublin 8 Ireland.

www.acw.ie

Young, single and ready to navigate through complex issues regarding temporality and time

ACW student Sara Muthi responds to PLATFORM 2018, an exhibition and a series of associated events showcasing the work of emerging and early career artists who will use the Gallery as a playful, experimental and creative space. Using a wide range of visual media as well as sound, music, dance and food, PLATFORM provides an opportunity for the public to engage with artists, creatives and curators as they animate their ideas and practices.

“PLATFORM creates ample opportunities for emerging artists to exhibit, grow and consider their practice in light of their peers. Spaces for fresh creative freedom, in which things may be tried and tested in a critical context such as this are few and far between.”

Read full response here: www.inaction.ie

Image: Sadbh O’Brien, Lacuna, 2018.

“Copy that, Kapton”, a review of Sam Keogh’s Kapton Cadaverine performance at the Kerlin Gallery

“The space that situates the performance is so thoroughly inseparable from the performance that it would have been non-sensical to not textually indulge in this rich scenario by Sam Keogh. Everything from the control panel the astronaut heavily interacts with to the see through plastic panelling of the walls in the spaceship that allows the audience to see the performance from all sides in a voyeuristic fashion are all aspects of the symbiotic relationship the space shared with the performing body.” – Sara Muthi responds to Sam Keogh’s performance and exhibition at the Kerlin Gallery, up now on in:Action
https://inaction.ie/2018/02/22/copy-that-kapton/

Homo Ludens (Man at Play)

Homo Ludens (Man at Play),
The Library Project, 4 Temple Bar, Dublin 2.

Exhibition continues until Saturday, 27 January 2018
Opening hours: 12 – 6pm Tuesday – Saturday

Homo Ludens, the title of this exhibition, is the species of people who inhabited New Babylon, a future utopian city envisaged by Dutch artist Constant between 1956 and 1974. The term Homo Ludens was originally coined by Dutch cultural historian J. Huizinga in 1938, meaning a species of people whose fundamental activity is considered ‘play’. In New Babylon, Homo Ludens were free to lead creative and imaginative lives, released from labour by the development of automated systems. Here, the inhabitants were in control of their environment, able to change it to suit their needs, moods, and behaviour through the use of “moveable architectural components such as walls, floors, staircases… [and] colour, light [and] texture..”.

ACW student Sara Muthi writes the accompanying text available HERE

Curated by Roisin Bohan, Winner of the Black Church Print Studio ‘Recent Curator Graduate Award’, 2017.
Exhibiting Artists: Daire O’Shea, Cará Donaghey, Irene Whyte, Isabel English, Margot Galvin

Mythology, Authenticity, Representation & Psychosis by Sara Muthi

Exploring themes of mythology, authenticity, representation and psychosis, Sara Muthi, managing editor of in:Action and ACW student shares her latest response to the bi-monthly performance art platform Livestock titled “Get Real”.

“With a formula such as Livestock’s the performances tend to be more open to interpretation as there is (usually) no overarching theme of the live art on show, nor any available text associated with the performance to guide your interpretation any which way.”

https://inaction.ie/2017/12/08/mythology-authenticity-representation-psychosis/



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