An exhibition by Martina O’ Brien | Mick O’ Kelly
Curated by Sorka Rae Healy
April 29th – May 10th
The LAB, Foley St., Dublin

Roundtable Discussion on Art & Activism : Dialogical Art Practice as a form of Activism
Speakers: Anthony Haughey, Jesse Jones, Mick Kelly and Fiona Whelan.
Thursday May 9th at 7pm


“Art will never get out of its own ghetto until someone comes to need it. Among those who need it might be social movements that work toward solving the economic and political needs of societies all over the world. Unfortunately, these movements seem not to need artists to achieve their goals. Art needs to be reinvented…” Artur Zmijewski.

The poster as political trope occupies a unique place in the history of art and activism, from Rodchenko to Martha Rosler, from John Heartfield to Shepard Fairy, it is a recurring motif and a symbol of solidarity in the collective memory of political & social activists. Having been historically used by artists to elucidate socio-political concerns often depicting idealised progressive models of living (utopias) and collectivist ideals, the poster is a familiar tool in the activists tool box. Martina O’ Brien has produced a set of six posters as a response to her engagement with ‘Books of Grievance’, a set of twenty books depicting the hopes and grievances of the members of various Dublin-based Youth Groups, a project conceived and produced by ‘Spectacle of Defiance and Hope’. Resisting the institutionalisation or fetishisization of propaganda, and avoiding engagement with any specific political polemic, this work is conceived to explore the agency and use-value of aesthetic engagement in the context of street protest. Mick O’ Kelly‘s textual work explores the terms of engagement for the artist within existing societal order. Maintaining that the space of art and the political is a place of contingency marked by contradictions and conflict, he questions whether the gallery can be a space of critical engagement in challenging failed political systems in late capitalist society.

As part of this exhibition a roundtable discussion on ‘Art & Activism : Dialogical Art Practice as a form of Activism‘, is scheduled for Thursday May 9th,. 7pm at The LAB, Foley Street. Dublin 1. Speakers: Anthony Haughey, Mick O’ Kelly, Fiona Whelan, Jesse Jones.
RSVP: sorka.healy@gmail.com

Anthony Haughey is an artist and lecturer/researcher in the School of Media at the Dublin Institute of Technology where he is also a PhD supervisor at the Centre for Research in Transcultural Media Practice.
He recently completed a three-year research fellowship at the Interface Centre for Research in Art, Technologies and Design at University of Ulster where he completed a PhD. During his research fellowship in Belfast he organised public discussion forums around Art and Contested Spaces, and curated public art projects including, Art, Media and Contested Space, an international public art event, which included artists, Alfredo Jaar, Peter Kennard and Cat Phillipps and Wendy Ewald and Faisal Abdu’ Allah.
His recent work employs relational/dialogical aesthetics to explore notions of citizenship, migration and contested spaces. How to be a Model Citizen, (December 2008) was a participatory performance work with the Global Migration Research Network – a diverse group of asylum seekers and refugees who have worked with the artist for more than four years.

Jesse Jones creates works that primarily takes the form of film and video. She explores historical instances of communal culture and resistance that resonate with contemporary society and politics. Her practice uses devices such as drive-in cinemas, film, music and performance in order to explore popular culture as a site of shared collective social consciousness.

Jones has recently had solo-exhibitions at CCA Derry, Artsonje Seoul, Spike Island, Bristol, The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin, and REDCAT, Los Angeles, as well as projects at The New Museum, New York, and Serpentine Cinema, London. She is currently in the production phase of The Prosperity Project, a multi-disciplinary collaborative public art commission in Dublin which aims to deconstruct the idea of prosperity in Ireland’s post boom economy.

Mick O’Kelly is a Dublin-based visual artist. He completed a PhD with Interface at the University of Ulster Northern Ireland and an MFA with California Institute of the Arts. O’ Kelly’s research is informed by ongoing concerns with the changing nature of contemporary art, and issues of situated practice, location and context. He has exhibited nationally and internationally and engages in contextual art initiatives beyond the gallery and museum structure.

Work includes, ‘Nomadic Kitchen’; an interstitial art initiative that engages in the process of regeneration with the residents of Vila Nova, Sao Miguel Brazil and ‘Artwork in an Imperfect World’, a Dublin-based project which questioned the nature and potential of an artwork.

Fiona Whelan is an artist concerned with issues of inequality and social justice. Her practice is collaborative working across sector with one youth organization for over nine years steering a longitudinal site specific enquiry that facilitates interdisciplinary learning. Her practice attends to both macro and micro environments- the local and situational as well as the political and social, developing work that is multifaceted and multi vocal including reading events, film, dialogues, exhibitions and workshops. This has included the formation of the What’s the Story? Collective who lead a four year project exploring power relations with multiple manifestations including Policing Dialogues at The LAB in 2010. See www.section8.ie

Fiona is the Course Coordinator of the Graduate Diploma in Community/ Arts/ Education at NCAD which is currently being developed into a 2 year MA in Socially Engaged Art.

Artist Martina O’ Brien and curator Sorka Rae Healy are students on the MA in Visual Arts Practices (MAVIS) course at IADT.

This event is scheduled as part of POSTER#POLITIK, an exhibition conceived for Public Gesture 2013. Public Gesture is an annual experimental exhibition of projects by students of the MA in Visual Arts Practices (MAVIS) at IADT.

POSTER#POLITIK opens in The LAB’s CUBE Gallery on Tuesday April 30th and continues to Saturday May 11th.