Archived entries for Writing

With-Hold, Exhibition by Padraig Cunningham at the Return Gallery

Return Gallery, Goethe-Institut Irland, 37 Merrion Square Dublin 2

Opening
20th September, 2019 6.30 – 9pm
Exhibition runs through 31st October, 2019.

With-Hold forms part of artist Padraig Cunningham’s 2019 thesis submission for the MA/MFA Art in the Contemporary World in the School of Visual Culture at the National College of Art & Design in Dublin.

The exhibition at the Goethe-Institut, With-Hold proposes a series of intervals, each one based on a particular site: firstly the Goethe-Institut itself and its role as instigator as a place to think and explore, and how it along with the MA/MFA Art in the Contemporary World have etched
a series of intersecting possibilities for education, theory and making; secondly, Kesh Caves in Sligo and the folklore narrative the cave as a portal, a primordial site of consciousness, a place to enter and a time to be-in; and thirdly, the tiny Claggan Island in Co. Mayo that is just about held onto the mainland by a small sandbank. The film explores the cliche of the cave while an accompanying publication speculates on the island’s precarious position and the opposing forces that keep it in place.

The work is presented as a series of intervals, embedded in the philosophy of Deleuze and his reconsideration of temporality through cinema and image-making.
An embodiment of thought in-time or sub-time where Art as a quasi object, a portal, is unfixed and in transit.
An event.
Something to be apprehended than held counter too.

Common Denominator is curated by Art in the Contemporary World,
a theory-practice postgraduate MA/MFA programme at the School of Visual Culture, National College of Art and Design, Dublin, led by Francis Halsall, Declan Long and Sarah Pierce.
www.acw.ie

Supported by the Goethe-Institut Irland in collaboration with the National College of Art & Design.

Gallery hours:
Monday–Thursday 10am to 9pm
Friday 10am to 5.30pm
Saturday 10am to 1:30pm
Closed Bank Holiday weekends.

Contact:
Heidrun Rottke
Cultural Programme Co-Ordinator Goethe-Institut Irland
+353 1 6801100 heidrun.rottke@goethe.de

Silence is the Master by Orlaith Phelan

A recap on Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s Earwitness Theatre at the Chisenhale Gallery, London. The show marked the artist first solo UK exhibition in 2018, and remains one of such interrogative force that it has duly propelled him into this year’s Turner Prize arena. Occupying a trajectory that encompasses art, activism and investigation – boundaries are rewritten, language is reconstituted, and interrogation breathes a new articulation where even silence becomes deafening.

Earwitness Theatre artist and researcher Lawrence Abu Hamdan shows his latest enquiry into the political effects of listening at London’s Chisenhale Gallery. The exhibition is a double installation presenting Abu Hamdan’s latest research with Amnesty International and the first portrayal of his sonic library of sounds. For those of you unfamiliar with his work, his initial interest in the spatial qualities of sound has ledway into a career where the extent of his knowledge, acoustic research, and art production now even position him as an authority in legal cases where sound analysis is required. Apart from an ever growing list of accolades most notably he was approached to undertake the sound dissection of the ammunition used in the killing of two teenage boys in the Gaza Strip (2015). Expanding his acoustic analysis for the trial, stills and video of sonic imaging were distilled from the killing and used to form the basis of his acclaimed exhibition Earshot (2016), questioning the “aesthetics of evidence and the politics of sound and silence”. His affiliation to Forensic Architecture, nominated for the Turner Prize in 2018, should also start to ring some bells.

Earwitness Inventory is Abu Hamdan’s physical offering within the Chisenhale. 95 objects are on display that make up his catalogue of sonic violence. The objects are sober, unnatural and sharp within the space. Without knowing his work or the usual preoccupations of the Chisenhale Gallery they could almost be dismissed as the exhibition of an angst ridden assemblage artist. Almost. Once rushed through the immediate entrance of the exhibition space, amidst those first seconds of disorientation and strain for comprehension, the flickering text on the wall is just enough to ground your attention to a halt. The sudden anchor is exactly Abu Hamdan’s power. While you’re busy trying to side step the paddling pool, breeze block, and melon configurations on the ground to find where the real exhibition is, the words begin to register. Streams of text start implicating the various objects in descriptions of death and trauma; descriptions of brutal violence now being reconveyed through textual sound analogies of the everyday. The carefully stacked Pepsi bottle now evokes someone being bludgeoned to death, and the generic box of cinema popcorn becomes the plummeting sound of a collapsing building. Text and objects flicker across your eyes and body but though no sound is uttered the impact is deafening. You want to use a different word to describe this but there really is no other, this is exactly what it does. Confusion and naivety are replaced by a reality with such immediacy you’re now shocked, grateful, and fully engaged without having even glanced further into the gallery then past the objects by your sides.

The second installation is Saydnaya (the missing 19db); an audio work portraying the new limits of torture by the Syrian regime within the existing prison now used to house only political protestors. In this prison silence is their torture. The audio installation is housed separately in a dark sealed room placed at the center of the gallery space. Inside is the kind of dark that makes you fumble anxiously until you gratefully bang your head on the opposite wall; it is consuming. The audio track is less than 15 minutes long and gives you firsthand accounts of the prisoners within Saydnaya. To begin, Abu Hamdan uses sound samples in an ever descending scale to take you into the silence of the prison – because this is not sound as you know it nor that you could comprehend without these efforts. On our way there we plummet from the boom of a Boeing 747 landing, the screaming sounds of a New York highway, to the whispers of tranquility at a Swiss Alps retreat, and into stark sharpness of the Chernobyl exclusion zone… and we are still not at Saydnaya.

The prisoner testimonials that follow eradicate the assumption of anything over an inaudible whisper existing within the prison. In Saydnaya “the border between sound and silence is the border between life and death.” To move, to cough, to make any sound involuntarily or otherwise results in punishment of death. If life in Saydnaya has any opportunity to be clung to, how excruciatingly can you choke silence for survival? Using tonal comparisons between the whispers of prisoners before and after 2011, when the prison switched from housing standard inmates to those of political protestors only, 19db was found to be the difference. To put this into perspective a difference of 19db is the same as comparing a jackhammer on a footpath to a dishwasher. Now instead of subtracting from the sound of a jackhammer, subtract from the average level of a human voice. That unbearable border of sound, the difference of 19db, suddenly becomes quantifiable. Once the brain has grasped this recognition its effect can’t be removed. Saydnaya is a reality that we could never have conceived before, but through Abu Hamdan’s tools of reconstruction it’s as if we sit in those cells too.

While the title of “artist and researcher” might cause an initial dismissal of the credibility of the work, it is clear that Abu Hamdan is a master of both the subject matter and its representation. He is using distortion to portray distortion, something only achievable through the manipulation of language to demonstrate the perversion of its use in Saydnaya. The result of this complex contradiction is incredibly evoked between both installations. It is as if the war of sound that now suddenly exists, can only be combated and reconstructed with the architecture of an exhibition that exploits sound itself. The uncanniness in the work makes it impossible not to surrender. It’s something which we have never had to question before, but now after this experience will find it hard to clear from our minds.

The content may appear brutal but it is so necessary; Earwitness Theatre is making us all accountable. Whether these are issues you want to engage with or not, there isn’t really an option when encountering this work. It is presenting concepts that are sordid and extreme, yet it still manages to transform them into something fiercely tangible. The installations succeed in quantifying the unquantifiable and your reward for listening is a brief glimpse into the realms of terror of a Syrian political prison from the safety of a respectable East London Gallery. You will never have experienced this in an exhibition before.

You feel the silence of Saydnaya when Abu Hamdan wants you to feel its silence, and you hear only the sound of brutalized violence when his text and assemblage compositions invoke you to do so. Freedom of speech now becomes confused with freedom of silence, but you can’t quite work out which is more necessary or whether one exists without the other. Crystal clear but almost out of grasp, this is the art of Abu Hamdan’s work.

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

Interview with Alan Butler by Seanán Kerr, ACW student

Alan Butler has been examining the implications of new media, the internet and the politics of appropriation for over a decade, he works with various media, from sculpting virtual landscapes for astronaut cats, to large scale multi-coloured paintings, and sending glitter bombs to Julian Assange, though even when venturing away from computer-based work, there is usually some call back involved to the looming spectre of this ethereal, and not so ethereal technology we find ourselves increasingly enmeshed with over the past two decades.

A recent strain has been an examination of the world of Grand Theft Auto V, a widely popular open world computer game released in 2013. The core mechanics revolve around the theft of cars (approach the side of a car on foot, press a button and in one movement (if the door is unlocked) you open the door, haul out the driver and take their place ready to drive), and running rampage with various weapons around an environment that has become increasingly intricate with the advancement of hardware and the developers’ drive to give their world as much life as possible. Butler sees this drive as attributable to nothing other than love, as GTA co-author Dan Houser said in a 2013 interview with the Guardian, “They have to bring a huge section of the world to life, get things working in the right way, make areas that look believable but work well for gameplay and give good roads for car chases and areas for shootouts. It has to be planned out but must still look organic; you have to capture the essence of what’s really there in a city, but in a far smaller area. It’s a great, great skill.” (Stuart, 2013).

The two series that deal with GTA V are the one-off ‘On Exactitude In Science’ two screen installation where a shot-for-shot remake of Koyaanisqatsi made within the GTAV world is screen next to and in sync with the original, and the ongoing ‘Down and Out in Los-Santos’, a photography series where he utilises the in-game camera function to document homeless characters in the game environment. I visited him in his studio to talk about his work in general, but with a focus on these piece in particular in light of consideration of the theme ‘mess’.

His studio was a bit cluttered and with a lot of exhibition and projects in the pipeline, I wondered if captured in time-lapse would the space seem to pulsate with chaos as deadline approached, did one kind of form necessitate a sympathetic deform…

Seanán Kerr: “…like the way a tidy house is a sign of a wasted life, is this some kind of manifestation of your inner mind?”

Alan Butler: “No, because it’s totally temporal, it’s like this now because there was an intersection of ten different deadlines in the last few months which resulted in disarray, after the deadlines it gets tidies up. I don’t really get back to work until it is tidied up. There’s other factors where knowing that I’m going to have to move out of here, I’m not dedicating a huge amount of time to manicuring the whole place, I’d sooner dedicate time to throwing stuff out. But I don’t think there’s any over-arching pattern to it, like this particular mess is because of a number of things, sometimes when I’m making work I’m tidying as I’m going along, when installing if everything is going well I do a tidy up every day, but that’s just me then, everyone is different I’ve friends who’d never have a clean studio, it’s a mess, because they’re pigs.” And he laughs. He shows me his computer desktop.

AB: “You’ll notice, there’s no fucking files on it.”

Which is true the desktop is entirely bare, though it takes me a moment to realise it, a desktop without any files on being indistinguishable from an image, we move on to discuss his works made within the GTA world…

AB: “What those series were really about were structural issues to do with language. Some people get that out of it, there’s a segment of the audience who enjoys deconstructing it to look at the episteme and the paradigms within the language of simulation, there’s still a few echoes of Foucault and Baudrillard lingering around in how people are reading them, but what’s interesting for me if we talking about mess in virtual terms: the mess is simulated to add realism, because reality isn’t clean and neat and laid out the way architects and city planners want it. Once people start living in things, the shine comes off, the corners get smoothed over, but what’s interesting about the inclusion of poverty in a simulation of our reality is in the video game they don’t take part in the narrative either. It highlights the actual tragedy of reality, in order for the simulation to be realistic, we have to include this shit. So therefore we should look at simulations to look at what reality is like, and how things exist in reality, it’s only when things are simulated we begin to see what things are important, with things like the mess, or class issues, or any of that, like the mess simulated, we should look and see what kind of agency do these people have.”

SK: “So this is like the head in the fridge trope, which comes from a green lantern comic, where the hero finds his girlfriend’s head in the fridge and that her character and her character’s death exists purely to give the main male character a motivation?” (Wikipedia, 2019)

AB: “Yeah, but it’s structural stuff as well, when I make work inside a simulation, it’s not to say, “oh look this equals that”, didactic, it’s more if I operate and produce my work as if that is reality, that we are in a simulation, then it affords and audience a bit of critical distance form the world and we have to rethink paradigm and episteme of how we live, where power is, what is it we value? Because I think there’s a real material consequence to that, I’m doing a research residency in Glasgow in December, which is a month for me to sit down and calculate the real world environmental impact of street litter in video games, because it needs to be downloaded, processed, put out a HDMI cable into a TV screen. Litter is there to create realism, but if you think that every street in GTA has a hundred pieces of litter in it, so how many microprocessors does it take to render them in each instance. And a hundred million people bought this video game, so to think about how this stuff is having real world devastating effects on the environment via power consumption. It’s a nice thing to do for a month, a way to ask “what is happening with the virtual?”. Even just isolating a single piece of trash, narrowing it down to the file, how much energy is being burned between the Playstation, the server, the network nodes, the home router? I don’t know what I’m going to do with that, but I’m thinking about how the mess in the simulated world is also the mess in our world.”

I mention the recent fire in Notre-Dame and how the scanning of the inside for video game series Assassins Creed is now the most accurate image of it (Rea, 2019)

AB: “It’s great isn’t it? It shows they’re doing their jobs properly.”

It’s the broader implications for how we define reality when copies become originals.

SK: “Would you think you’re holding a mirror, trying to ground the viewer in what is going on, raising consciousness?”

AB: “I don’t feel like “raising consciousness” is the right direction to describe that, I’m more re-examining things that seem familiar to us, trying to use existing worlds, like they could be video game worlds or some cultural artefact, but representing them in a different context to allow people to consider their relationship to these things that exist anyway. I am presenting something in a different context that people are able to stand back from. Existing in the world and having a routine is a kind of psychosis, trying to be normal all the time, and how the psychosis of normality clouds and conceals our relationship with what’s happening – with reality. So by accessing things that are familiar and shared with each other, that we both subjectively experience and doing something with the context of that and how it’s experienced, permits people to reexamine these shared things we have. “Oh it’s just a video game”. Well, ”oh, it’s just a song” or “oh, it’s just a painting” we’re so normalised in own consumption, most people don’t have time to critically think about these things, so I’m into art about creating space for people to meditate on their relationship with other things.”

SK: “So like that moment in a recent interview (Vincenteli, 2019) where you discussed the uncanniness of being in Los Angeles and knowing the place from Grand Theft Auto without having been there before…”

AB: “It’s so weird, to know where a carpark is before you turn the corner onto the street for the first time, it feels like a psychic ability. I know if I walk up a couple of blocks there, the scale might be off, so I won’t know if it’s two or three blocks, but I know I’m going to come to a big piece of public sculpture that is red.”

SK: “It sounds like Yuri Gellar or Derren Browne.”

AB: “It is, it totally is, but it’s because people in video games do their job very well, like the Notre Dame cathedral thing, like that guy, he could have just taken short cuts, it didn’t need to be that well done, but the people who work in these industries, it’s something to do with real love and putting love into things, people who put love into their work will do a really good job.”

I ask then if he feels phenomena like that are an indication that we’re passed through the rabbit hole?

AB: “If you read someone like Graham Harman, what’s he’s saying is if we have a philosophical theory that helps us understand what reality is nowadays, it can’t be a procedural scientific one, because mythologies and fantasies can’t be explained through maths, we could explain what’s going on in someone’s brain when a thought happens but he has a nice one where he talks about where Sherlock Holmes lives on 225 Baker Street, when the book was written there wasn’t one, but the street was extended in reality, and so the new 225 becomes a tourist trap and now American tourists who go there think that he was a real person, so it becomes a reality in someones head. Things we misinterpret as being real or true, need to be explained somehow as well, you can’t have a theory of everything with quantum physicists that doesn’t allow for fictions to exist because we know they exist in some minds. If we just rationalise or describe or quantify everything through algorithmic procedure we’re presented with a problem where the spectre of existence can’t be accounted for. There’s things we know that we will never be able to account for in the world, because science is also a lens to look at a particular things. So in video games we begin to think about processes, in terms of the material function of a character in a video game, if you spend too much time underwater you’ll drown, if you run for too long you get tired, so there are all these restrictions interlaced to simulate real life.We can quantify it all down to these reflexive components and algorithms and that’s going to align very nicely to object orientated ontology. Where if you’re looking to deanthropocentrise Seanán into these other components, these different systems at play, but what the video game algorithms can’t describe is that Seanán also has fictions and mythologies and structural relationships to culture. So the video game character looks a different way, or has a certain kind of swagger, there’s a cultural reason behind that that wouldn’t be quantifiable by some doctor with a high tech body scanner. So video games provide us with a way of expanding the thought process of ontology, and allow us to look at the reality that we’re not just blood and guts, but we also somehow ended in Alan’s studio because of what was going on in the heads of Francis, Declan and Sarah.It’s like a virus in the minds of these MA students, you end up here, and that can’t be explained algorithmically, that’s why scientists will never explain everything.”

I mention a recent Adam Curtis interview in the Economist (Future, 2019) where he concludes with saying religion is set for a come back, but that’s the wrong way of putting it, I mention how speaking of Notre-Dame the cathedral was an instrument of technology in that it told the story of God, but what was what was thought then of as reality that the illiterate would understand and that arguably the computer game could be said to have a similar function.

AB: “Well there’s a definite morality to it, it’s a form of political story-telling, like the great stories in scriptures yes totally, Curtis has the right idea in thinking beyond the scale of the individual, he talks about socialist realism and the modern equivalent isn’t the likes of a Banksky painting of monkeys in parliament., Social realism now is all of Twitter happening at once, all the energy, human thought and anxieties, the Big Other stuff that’s happening within that. It is the true expression of our time all happening at once, when everybody thinks what they have to say is important, and it’s a testament to the level of individualism and how people want to be complicit in their own packaging and marketing, like good neoliberals, Conor McGarrigle has a really interesting piece in the Green on Red where he follows the hashtag ‘riseandgrind’, and there’s people who are good little capitalists on social media all over the world, they’ll say, “I’m getting up, gonna be in the money #riseandgrind” and he has machine learning algorithms scraping them up and trying to learn the heuristics by generating new tweets with riseandgrind and hashtag hustle (1). And it’s great it’s getting better, the tweets start to feel more accurate with time, but ultimately it’s producing a kind of beat poetry for neoliberalism. But what Adam Curtis is right about is we need to think about scales larger than Tony Blair, we need to this about scales larger than Donald Trump because the only problems we have really right now, are the ones that aren’t just ideological, have to do with the survival of all life on the planet, so to think about scales ever larger than that so the process of deanthropocentrisation, is a political endeavour and a spiritual one as well, not just a cultural one.”

(1) Visible in action here on McGarrigle’s Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/_stunned/status/1124326555860127745

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.

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.



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