I had the extreme pleasure of soaking up a mixed bag of international selections at the Pallas Project’s space in Dominic Street last Friday night. The experience began with a palatable young Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile, Casa Leona 2010. This rough and ready red, available from Marks and Spencer’s, was accompanied by an exuberant and well attended opening of a “group exhibition” or so it seemed.
But when is a group show not a group show? On perusing the information provided, it turned out to be “a discursive action”. Strange, I thought, as I swilled down the overly perfumed viscous red, what is the difference between a group show and a discursive action? I needed another hit of the red to steady my thoughts. Four curators, twenty artists and too many well wishing attendees crammed into the two small rooms of the Pallas Project’s exhibition space…the head began to swim a little. The critical capacity only recovered from the textual broadside of the exhibition guide after another shot of the red stuff. I had to try and rethink my whole perspective on the event.
To assist with the difficult task of pondering the quote from Foucault that placed the event outside the realms of the ordinary experience of a group show, where we see “the gallery as a magazine-like layout of images that speak,” I returned to the drink table to consult once more with the Chilean. To my dismay and delight I was confronted by an alternate, this time from France, a ravishing encounter with a French Chevalier de Faveau, Pays D’Oc. A merlot that, according to Fiona Beckett of the Guardian, is a bit of a bargain considering the unfashionable status carried by the grape in these hard pressed times when pinot noir holds the supremacy of favourable grape variety. This very pleasant French alternate is readily available on the shelves of Lidl.
Well, I finally began to understand the thinking behind what ‘a discursive action’ could be as the Chilean and the French began to mix, conflate, ruminate and inform each other in the gullet. I was even considering adding a little of the dutch Heineken to the conversation but thought better of it… lest it might be a discussion too far. After attempting a second tour of the exhibition space I found it difficult to see how the objects hidden among the forest of humanity could say anything to each other in such a crowd. I then wondered about what the beer was saying to the wine in the vestibule and what the relationship was between the plastic cups and the wine glasses that were rapidly running scarce. As the empty red stained wine glass in my despairing grip began to audibly squeak at me I knew it was time to cast myself off into the night leaving a very effervescent and upbeat throng happily chatting on the steps of 23 Lower Dominic Street.
Our wine correspondent attended the opening of the Pallas Periodical Review, containing work selected by Ruth Carroll, Carl Giffney, Mark Cullen and Gavin Murphy. It runs until December 17th at Pallas Projects, 23 Lower Dominick Street, Dublin 1. Our thanks to Paul Shanahan for providing the portrait of Ligvine Kreek under difficult circumstances.