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Elizabeth Price – choreograph

Void Gallery

June 22, 2021 – August 21, 2021

CHOREOGRAPH, the first solo exhibition of Elizabeth Price in Northern Ireland. Price’s distinctive film works inhabit the digital world using computer animated voices, graphics and a saturated videography that give the works a dystopic sensibility, exploring the human experience from industrialisation to the digital age.

The films are anthropological, often exploring mundane objects and imbuing them with a relevance, and situating them within an historical moment.

Elizabeth Price, installation image, courtesy of the artist
Elizabeth Price, installation image, courtesy of the artist

Emerging from this period of lockdown, where technology became our means of connection to the world, Price’s work embodies this notion of the cognitive harmony between the body and the machine. The title CHOREOGRAPH, a term derived from the Greek words: dance (chorus) and to write (graphy) is a reference to how the multi-screen works synchronise in the space aligning with the rhythms of the music, dance and writing and narrative that unfolds in the pieces.

THE TEACHERS (2019) is part of the trilogy SLOW DANS, the storyline follows a dystopian future where a contagion has spread rapidly through the establishment. The affected, THE TEACHERS communicate in the work through wearing elaborate costumes and perform absurd and profane rituals. The four narrators dispute the reasons for their continuing silence, it could be viewed as a silent protest. The disembodied figures reflect a Rorschach folding and unfolding reminiscent of a book page turning. The four-screen projection is choreographed visually to mimic a ritualistic form of movement. This piece alludes to the corporate structures or the ‘executive realm’ whose decisions affect the access to higher education which resonates with the current proposed funding cuts to art education.

Elizabeth Price, installation image, courtesy of the artist
Elizabeth Price, installation image, courtesy of the artist

With FOOTNOTES (2020), the four chapters Stiletto, Supertunica, Coal and Inky Spit follow the etymological exploration of cultural and technical histories. The single screen works were made during the period of lockdown, mining material from the internet and utilising hand-built sets, and recorded in total darkness, using infra-red light. The Inky Spit is a reference to the black lung often a physical manifestation to working in coal mines. The significance of the lungs could echo events in the last year with the utterance of George Floyd’s last words, “I can’t breathe’, which became a mantra for the Black Lives Matter movement and the respiratory virus that has led to mass deaths across the world from a lack of oxygen.

Elizabeth Price, installation image, courtesy of the artist.
Elizabeth Price, installation image, courtesy of the artist.

Price’s work operates within the digital realm and material culture. She explores occluded histories while critiquing vernacular language and technological innovation.

Her works reflect our anxiety of the automating of our identities through technology, the collection of user behaviour data to learn how to predict and shape our ideas and lives. As we enter this new historical moment there is a sense of the unknown of what our new reality will bring, and the significant role technology will play.

Elizabeth Price Biography

Elizabeth Price was born in Bradford, Yorkshire in 1966. She grew up in Luton, Bedfordshire and attended Putteridge Comprehensive Secondary School. She studied at the Royal College of Art, London and the University of Leeds.

Price creates short videos which explore the social and political histories of artefacts, architectures and documents. The subject matter may sometimes be historic artworks of great cultural significance, it is more frequently marginal or derogated things, and often pop-cultural or mass produced objects. The video narrations’ draw upon and satirise the administrative vernaculars of relevant public and academic institutions as well as advertising copy and other texts of private and commercial organisations.

In 2012, she was awarded the Turner Prize for her video installation THE WOOLWORTHS CHOIR OF 1979. In 2013, she won the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award with the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums, Oxford. She has exhibited in group exhibitions internationally, and has had solo exhibitions at Tate Britain, UK; Chicago Institute of Art, USA; Julia Stoschek Foundation, Dusseldorf and The Baltic, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK.

Price also works in academia, and is presently Professor of Film and Photography in the School of Art, Kingston University, UK.

 

Alan Phelan – echoes are always more muted

Void Gallery

September  5, 2020 – December 19, 2020

Installation image, Courtesy of the artist, photography Tansy Cowley
Installation image, Courtesy of the artist, photography Tansy Cowley

Alan Phelan’s exhibition echoes are always more muted is part of an expanded series of exhibitions that encompass his continuing research into the intersections of history, sexuality, material culture and politics which have evolved through sculpture, participatory events, and photography.

The genesis of this new body of work is the photographic process invented by John Joly (1890s) that created colour via a red, green and blue screen to create the full colour spectrum. The two-layer photograph consists of the striped colour screen and black & white sheet film, which also creates a unique colour shift upon viewing. The process was used into the early 20th Century and abandoned for colour without stripes.

John Joly, the inventor of the process, provides the biographical background to the 15-minute film Folly & Diction (2020). Instead of a detailed documentary, the music video format provides the structure with a narrative taken from a Samuel Beckett short story and narration in the form of song lyrics, culled from a poem by Jean Genet. The video tells an oblique story of loss, a forgotten history, and a failed relationship with his collaborator Henry Dixon. It brings Joly’s photographic process into a contemporary sphere with audio responsive animated stripes that pulse to the music and crude video layering that draws on multiple music video tropes.

Red, green and blue form the basis of how video screens present colour and how we experience colour in all electronic devices; this provides the background for other works in the exhibition. The centre piece of Gallery 1 is an installation of various props and parts which further expand the idea of a photograph as a multi-sensory object moving into an augmented reality and fragrance as a memory trigger. A small RGB hyacinth flower is enlarged via a mobile phone AR app and the sweet scent of the flower pervades the gallery. The mattress, pot, and plant notebook connects to the film, referencing an earlier script – elements that were eliminated in the final cut. The flower has persisted, however, as a memory trigger, as in the film, just like a fragrance, to a different sensory connection with the past.

Installation image, Courtesy of the artist, photography Tansy Cowley
Installation image, Courtesy of the artist, photography Tansy Cowley

The recurring use of this trio of colours shift to gels on spotlights, onto a new wall work comprised of screen-printed page layouts, from a zine dealing with images and texts that delve into a wider art history of stripes. The wall is punctuated by a single Joly screen photograph of a headless self-portrait, shot from behind, in red, with red roses, pushing bathos that bit further.

Five new Joly screen images hung close to this are the most recent photographs. They have dense compositions made of dots, with holes in the screen that reflect onto circular mirrors, creating monochrome gaps in the striped screen, overlapping into the objects photographed. Works by John Baldessari and Sigmar Polke provide more recent histories as reference points here.

Installation image, Courtesy of the artist, photography Tansy Cowley
Installation image, Courtesy of the artist, photography Tansy Cowley

Ten Joly screen images in Gallery 3 traverse different art histories relating to the pre-photographic photo realism of 17th Century flower paintings; moving through cinematic references, advertising, 1950s ikebana Japanese flower arranging, queer photography, and more. The inherent ambiguity of the images ghosts a history the process never had a chance to image or imagine. Convoluted titles attempt to navigate possible interpretative paths but they only leave echoes of a past that never happened and a present that has still more to achieve or reveal.

This series of works expands on Phelan’s preoccupation with re-imagining history in a contemporary guise, he appropriates histories, deconstructing others to make a mélange of humorous imagery that references the gamut of art and photographic genres. It is an exercise of storytelling that is at once all-encompassing but ultimately a story of invention, failure and love.

Alan Phelan Biography

Alan Phelan (b.1968) is an artist based in Dublin whose practice began in photography and has extended into many different media and mediums with a focus on interpretation, language and collaboration. He studied at Dublin City University and Rochester Institute of Technology, New York. Recent exhibitions and projects include RHA, Dublin; The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon (2020); Company of Others, CCA, Derry (2020); TBG+S Atrium (2019); The LAB, Dublin (2019); and Glucksman Gallery, Cork (2019). Our Kind, commissioned by Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane for 2016/1916 was also screened in Oslo, Bergen, Derry, Belfast and Carlow where it won the Hotron Éigse Art Prize. Internationally he has shown at Dada Post, Berlin; Loop, Barcelona; Videonale.15 Bonn Kunstmuseum; Detroit, Stockholm; Bozar, Brussels; Treignac Projet, France; Eastlink Gallery, Shanghai; Oksasenkatu 11, Helsinki; Mina Dresden Gallery, San Francisco; Galería Del Infinito Arte, Buenos Aires; ŠKUC, Ljubljana; SKC Gallery, Belgrade; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Public art commissions include works for Dublin City Council, Dublin South County Council, St Michael’s House Special National School Raheny and the Dept of Communications. He is currently the NCAD School of Fine Art Artist in Residence for 2019-20.

 

For more about Alan’s work please visit his website.

Dissolving Histories: An Unreliable Presence

Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast

Tue 7th April – Sat 25th April, 2020

Co-curated by Mary Cremin and Peter Richards, featuring artists: Bassam Al Sabah; Liliane Puthod; Michael Hanna; and Stuart Calvin

Installation view, Michael Hanna and Bassam Al Sabah
Installation view, Michael Hanna and Bassam Al Sabah

Dissolving Histories follows the acclaimed Collective Histories of Northern Irish Art series, which was conceived to explore the unreliable nature of history. While Dissolving Histories refers to this series, its purpose is to actively investigate the notion of history itself.

Co-curated by Mary Cremin and Peter Richards, the four artists presented use video, sculpture, found materials, and installation to create a dialogue between their work. The distinct qualities of each artist bleed into one another on encounter, creating ‘zones’ rather than spaces in which to explore our changing reality. Working to highlight the experience of the entire exhibition as a whole, different elements converge to provoke questions relating to exhibition making, encounter, and representation.

installation view, Bassam Al Sabah  & Michael Hanna
installation view, Bassam Al Sabah & Michael Hanna

Al Sabah, Puthod, Hanna and Calvin are individually interested in contemporary consumerism, materiality and futuristic landscape. The exhibition considers today’s lifestyle, informed by our consumption of material goods. There is a glut, an overspill, and a crowding of ideologies reflecting each artist’s interpretation of ourchanging everyday reality. Michael Hanna’s piece explores the ideas of utopian communities and ways of living. The work uses as its starting point the utopian publication Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy; at the time of writing in 1888 the western world was going through a similar moment when the disparity within society and world politics was in crisis.

Stuart Calvin’s work focuses on new age ideologies, his sculptural works are reminiscent of the symbols and connections that inhabit both the real and mystical landscape. The philosophical inquiry in his work explores our propensity and need to seek spiritual fulfilment in times of chaos.

Installation view, Stuart Calvin
Installation view, Stuart Calvin

Bassam Al Sabah creates surreal animated landscapes through his multi-media installations that move from the physical to the mythological. His works are influenced by Japanese anime that use hyper surreal imagery embedded in the ideas of fantasy. Al Sabah deconstructs this language by referencing war imagery to reflect the experience of countries divided by war.

Liliane Puthod in contrast highlights our fetishisation of consumer culture; neon lights, the hum and glow of a fridge, reference our consumer culture and the fabrication of desire through everyday objects.

Installation view, Liliane Puthod
Installation view, Liliane Puthod

 

This grouping of artists came about through studio visits and an idea of creating an exhibition that reflects our current moment, the artists areas of research compound that while we face the current political and global crisis our response and reaction reflects the complexity of our time and our means of translating this reality into artists practice.

About the Artists

Michael Hanna

Michael Hanna is an artist based in Belfast. His work takes a wide range of forms including text, video and immersive site-specific installation. Through this work he uses affective experience to explore connections between psychology, physicality and society. His current project examines utopian ideologies through representations in fiction and their real-world manifestations.

He is co-founder of the artist-run organisation AMINI (Artists’ Moving Image Northern Ireland). In 2018 Michael was selected for the Freelands Artist Programme, a 2 year fellowship with PS2, Belfast and Freelands Foundation, London. He has exhibited in the UK and internationally including Rencontres Internationales at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin and Multiplicity at NURTUREart, New York. Recent solo exhibitions include Looking Backward at PS2, Belfast, Short Films about Learning at Lismore Castle Arts, and Predictable Contact at the Naughton Gallery, Belfast.

Stuart Calvin

Calvin’s installation and sculptural work draws on familiar symbolism from various religions and belief systems. His work explores incorporeal worlds, supernatural experiences and the human propensity to venerate and fetishise objects. Throughout Calvin’s work, references to New Age ideologies, superstitions and theories of consciousness are ever present. The work proposes a type of modem mysticism, forming connections between the visible and invisible, the physical and metaphysical.

Born in Belfast 1974, Stuart Calvin graduated from the University of Ulster in 2011 with a BA Hons in Fine and Applied Art and in 2016, a Masters degree in Fine Art. He has recently been awarded The Royal Society of British Sculptors Bursary. Calvin was the first recipient of the Annual Gerard Dillon Award and Solo Show, selected by the Arts committee of Culturlann Belfast. He received the University of Ulster Dean’s list award and bursary 2009.

Bassam Al Sabah

Bassam Al Sabah’s work conveys visions of war, resistance and perseverance. He is concerned with how the past is continually revised to meet the present, when the juvenile fantasy breaks down into the reality of adulthood. He references Arabic dubbed Japanese anime series, which were broadcast across the middle-east from the 1980s. Tackling themes of revolution, war and exile, the work projects political meaning onto these cartoons, which have been connected with a cross generational identity, shared by now adult Arabs. Al Sabah draws attention to an ignored point in media globalisation: the influence, effects and agendas of Japanese anime on Arab popular culture.

Al-Sabah graduated from IADT’s BA Visual Art Practice in 2016 and was awarded the RHA Graduate Studio Award. He was shortlisted for the RDS Visual Arts Awards, curated by Alice Maher. Recently he was part of a panel discussion, chaired by Cristín Leach, in Dublin Castle as part of Cruinniú na Cásca, and was listed by Gemma Tipton in the Irish Times as an artist to watch in 2017. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at Eight (2017) and Dublin City Council’s The LAB (2018).

Liliane Puthod

Liliane Puthod’s practice often takes the form of large-scale installations and sculptures. Her work is informed by research into ideas of mass-production and its perceived value in our globalised world. Often taking her immediate surroundings as a starting point for her creative work, she uses both handmade and industrialised materials. She draws on modes of display, the language of merchandising and is interested in examining the way forms can problematise the materials from which they are made. She is drawn to archaeology, contrasting contemporary mass-production with singularly produced repetitive objects, as a way to approach archaeological and commodified time.

Recent exhibitions include group show Display, Link and Cure at The Complex, Dublin, 2019, solo shows How Long After Best Before at Pallas Projects/Studios, Dublin, 2019 and Everything Must Go at PS2, Belfast, 2019. She is recipient of the Project Studio 2020-2021 at Temple Bar Gallery & Studios and her work is generously supported by the The Arts Council.

Mary Cremin, Curator

Mary Cremin is a curator, writer and art historian.  She is the Director of Void Gallery, Derry, where she commissioned the Turner Prize winning film The Long Note by artist Helen Cammock in 2019. She was the Commissioner and Curator of the Irish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, 2019 with artist Eva Rothschild. Prior to this she was the Programme Curator of Temple Bar Gallery + Studios and the Artistic Director of The Treeline Project with Oonagh Young.

In 2015, she was Curator of TULCA Festival of Visual Art, Seachange, which included over 30 national and international artists. She has delivered large scale exhibitions and commissions such as Magnetism, Hazelwood Estate, Sligo, (2015), Richard Mosse, The Enclave, Irish Pavilion, Venice Biennale, (2013).

Documentation by Simon Mills
Supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council

https://www.goldenthreadgallery.co.uk/events/dissolving-histories-an-unreliable-presence/?v=79cba1185463

sur— [infinite Slippage: production of the r ~e ~a ~l as an intensive magnitude starting at zero-eight] —plus Ima-Abasi Okon

Void Art Centre

1 February – 22 August 2020

Void Gallery is delighted to present a commission by London and Amsterdam based artist Ima-Abasi Okon in partnership with the Chisenhale Gallery. Okon works with sculpture, sound and video to produce installations that explore exhibition-making as an exercise in syntax, adopting linguistic and grammatical structures within her installations as a way of complicating the construction of knowledge.

For the iteration of the commission, Okon delineates individual aspects of a previous vocabulary of symbols embedded in both hand-made and mass-produced materials, including film to explore representations of the body and the formation of taste, value and excess. A series of industrial air conditioners are adapted to become hosts for a new multi-channel sound piece comprising an existing audio track that has been slowed down. Acting as both a cooling system for the gallery and as a vehicle for the sound work, the fans perform at various speeds and durations.

Installation view, Ima Abasi Okon
Installation view, Ima Abasi Okon

In another gallery the ceiling has been partially lowered using a standardised modular system, often found within offices, retail spaces, waiting rooms and other administrative environments. The mass-produced ceiling tiles have been smeared with an invisible mixture of morphine, insulin, ultrasound gel and gold, imbuing the otherwise everyday objects with a personal, totemic charge.Hand-crafted glass light shades, each adorned with an opulent design and filled with palm oil and Courvoisier VS Cognac, hang from the ceiling. With the introduction of these liquids, the lights emit a golden glow, further highlighting an atmospheric friction between Okon’s production processes, pointing to the possibilities of magic as a sculptural act. Okon’s ongoing use of oriented strand board, painted with varnish and framed with ‘exotic woods’ further explore how value is assigned to a given object or material through its categorisation, modes of display and origin.

Installation view
Installation view

Through the use of sound, scale and light and film, Okon’s commission makes audible and palpable an excess, or surplus, that is often silenced or not seen and in doing so questions how to represent a body in its absence. Ima-Abasi Okon’s practice across print, sculpture and moving image revolves around a preoccupation with knowledge, its production and the methods which language both regulates and distributes it. The result is work that often deals with how information is performed as an extension of knowledge.

Whenthe - (after-the-world presocial vivid therenessssss and ongoinglyyy) - is the system, 2019
Whenthe – (after-the-world presocial vivid therenessssss and ongoinglyyy) – is the system, 2019

This new commission was made in partnership with the Chisenhale Gallery, London.

Capture Mechanism Bypass for Surplus - aChoreographic-Logic-Complex Dub, 2018 HD video 13'49
Capture Mechanism Bypass for Surplus – aChoreographic-Logic-Complex Dub, 2018
HD video 13’49

Ima-Abasi Okon Bio

Ima-Abasi Okon lives and works between London and Amsterdam. Selected exhibitions include: Infinite Slippage: nonRepugnant Insolvencies T!-a!-r!-r!-y!-i!-nas Handclaps of M’s Hard’Loved’Flesh [I’M irreducibly undone because] —Leanage-Complex-Dub, Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK, The Weather Garden: Anne Hardy curates the Arts Council Collection, Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne (2019); Sur— [MIX-USE COMMODITY] —plus, Kingsgate Project Space, London; Parables for the BLAZER: Mahalia’s EXCISTENCEandEXISTENTS-HyPE fragrant stacking balm (306.HAL), Plaza Plaza, London; 13th Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar, Senegal; There’s something in the conversation that is more interesting than the finality of (a title), The Showroom, London (all 2018); and UNTITLED: Art on the Conditions of Our Time, New Art Exchange, Nottingham (2017). In 2018, she was awarded both the Nigel Greenwood Research Prize and the Summer Residency at Hospitalfield, Scotland. She is currently participating in the residency programme at Rijksakademie voor beeldende kunsten (Academy for fine arts), Amsterdam.

For more about Ima’s work please visit http://www.imaokon.co.uk.

 

Photo credit: Odudu Okon

 

The Shrinking Universe Eva Rothschild

The Irish Pavilion 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia Artiglierie, Arsenale

May 11th – November 24th, 2019

Irish artist Eva Rothschild has created an ambitious and immersive exhibition for the Irish Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Continuing her exploration of sculptural presence, Rothschild presents a physical environment which materially resonates with current political concerns and our ongoing sense of global uncertainty.

The Shrinking Universe consists of four works made up of multiple elements. Each sculpture retains its own distinct presence while forming a cohesive totality within the pavilion. The array of materials that Rothschild uses in her work, alongside the distinction between the presence of the artist’s hand and industrially-created works, brings about a tension between the monumental and the personal. Drift (2019), a wall of cast concrete blocks painted in Rothschild’s signature geometric forms, is architectural and foreboding, its position controlling our entry to the space. Heaped against this wall we find a mass of cast forms hovering between the referential and the abstract, alluding to both geographical forces and the disposable nature of consumable materials.

 

In Amphi (2019) a series of cast polystyrene blocks are pushed together, pockmarked and graffitied they are reminiscent of a temporary road block or barricade. The viewer is invited to engage with this social sculpture, to climb and to sit, to directly encounter the piece and to become both spectator and participant, actively present within the work. From this viewpoint Princess (2019) rises from a base of cast columns at the centre of the pavilion, its triangular forms stretching high above the ground and forcing our eyes to trace its precarious and optimistic progression. The sculpture rests on waxed fabric crash mats, demarcating a space of safety around the sculpture, but failing to fully contain it as it meanders beyond its boundaries into the surrounding space.

Both Amphi and the truncated columns reference the ruins of past civilizations, while the antic triangular elements of Princess attempt a progressive geometric escape from their earthbound forms. In the midst of this sculptural activity, Rothschild’s Spektor (2019), a cast bronze of towering head-like forms, acts as a sentinel or ghostly presence: a watcher by the gates coolly observing the other works. Rothschild’s works are dynamically active, unapologetically monumental and bold. Expanding on the artistic lexicon of process, form, scale and materiality, Rothschild creates her own unique sculptural language. The Shrinking Universe is an invitation to look, to be attentive to your surroundings and most of all to be present with the work.

The Last of England Derek Jarman

Void Art Centre

16 November 2019 – 18 January 2020

Void is delighted to present The Last of England, an exhibition that explores the work of one of Britain’s most iconic filmmakers, painter, writer, gardener and political activist Derek Jarman. During the ‘80s and ‘90s, Jarman shifted from being apolitical – with his films documenting his private life in a ‘cinema of small gestures’ – to being at the centre of the queer movement, with his activism firmly integrated into his films. In this exhibition Jarman’s politics and activism are at the forefront; the GBH painting series (1983-84) and his film The Last of England (1987) reflect and resonate with our current political crisis.

The Last of England, installation view
The Last of England, installation view

Created in response to social injustices of the late ‘80s, the themes of The Last of England still reverberate widely across contemporary Britain and Northern Ireland. Jarman’s apocalyptic, postcolonial depictions of the ‘fall of England’ – reflecting the country’s desire to return to its ‘Imperial days’ – are ever present in the current political landscape, from Brexit, parliamentary suspensions and the absence of a government at Stormont, to the rise of nationalism, fascism and state surveillance. We are at an impasse in Northern Ireland and are once again at the mercy of Westminster decision-making. The film references the AIDS epidemic and the collective trauma that was experienced at that time. The film was initially going to be titled GBH The Last Of England, reflecting the destruction of the landscape and culture of England, and more personally the body through AIDS. Jarman said the GBH could stand for “whatever you want it to: grievous bodily harm, great British horror, gargantuan bloody H-bomb”. Instead he used the GBHtitle for his painting series, depicting the map of England in various stages of being enflamed. In exhibiting these works, it punctuates this particular moment in Northern Ireland and the UK political history, to show the parallels in the political struggle from then and now.

Installation view, GBH paintings
Installation view, GBH paintings

In the Shadow of the Sun (1981) will also be exhibited, reflecting his earlier works that are more biographical; a series of Super 8 films that were shot between 1972 and 1975, edited together with the soundtrack by Throbbing Gristle. This film was part of a body of film works referred to as the ‘cinema of small gestures’; the use of filters and the atmosphere of the film contrasts the dystopic sensibility of The Last of England.

In the shadow of the Sun, instllation view
In the shadow of the Sun, instllation view

The culmination of these works at Void allow for both a celebration of his work and highlight the continuing need to agitate and disrupt. The legacy of Jarman’s work and gay rights activists both past and present are demonstrated in recent societal and legislative changes; legalisation of gay marriage in Northern Ireland. Jarman’s work is prescient and has a strong resonance to our times.

Installation view, GBH paintings
Installation view, GBH paintings

Artist’s Bio

Derek Jarman (1942-1994) was an English film director, stage designer, diarist, artist, gardener, political activist and author. He was educated at the University of London and at the Slade School of Art. In 1967 Jarman exhibited in Young Contemporaries, Tate Gallery, London (prizewinner); Edinburgh Open 100, Lisson Gallery, London and Fifth Biennale des Jeunes Artistes, Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris. Jarman’s first work in the cinema was as a set designer on Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971), selected set designs include Savage Messiah (1972) and The Rake’s Progress (1982) with numerous designs for stage and ballet. Jarman’s first films were experimental Super 8mm shorts, his first full-length feature film Sebastiane was released in 1976, followed by selected films Jubilee (1978), Angelic Conversation (1985), Caravaggio (1986), The Garden (1990) and Edward II (1991).

Selected solo exhibitions: Sarah Bradley’s Gallery, London (1978); Edward Totah Gallery, London (1982); ICA, London (1984); Richard Salmon Ltd., London (1987) and Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester (1994). Jarman also wrote several books, including the autobiographical Dancing Ledge (1984) and two volumes of memoirs, Modern Nature (1992) and At Your Own Risk (1992). Derek Jarman’s Garden, which documents the creation of his extraordinary garden at Dungeness was published in 1995.

PROTEST!, published by Thames and Hudson 2020

IMMA and Thames and Hudson will publish a major new monograph on Derek Jarman to accompany the retrospective at IMMA, covering Jarman’s artistic development as well as reflecting on his life and legacy. The book will feature contributions from Seán Kissane, Curator, IMMA; Mary Cremin, Director, Void Gallery, Sir Norman Rosenthal; Jonny Bruce, gardener and journalist; Professor Robert Mills, University of London; Jon Savage, music critic and writer; Michael Charlesworth, an authority on landscape and the history of gardens and author of the book ‘Derek Jarman, Critical Lives’, and writers Olivia Laing and Philip Hoare.

The exhibition will co-incide with a major retrospective of his work at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in partnership with Manchester Art Gallery, and is accompanied by additional projects at John Hansard Gallery, Southampton.

 

 

 

 

I Am What You’ve Come To See Sonia Shiel

Void Art Centre

5 September – 1 November

sonia-shiel-installation-images-high-res-jpgsdsc_8513

In all works of fiction there belies an agreement that the reader/the viewer will allow for a suspension of disbelief. In this exhibition I Am What You’ve Come To See, the artist Sonia Shiel has transformed the three gallery spaces into a circular narrative, casting the audience as its central protagonist. The viewer is compelled to move through the galleries by a series of scripted audio-visual instructions, strategic objects and obtuse props that feign seemingly ungovernable chances – in a shape-shifting journey that is entirely staged.
The use of text, stagings, props and painting are preoccupations in Shiel’s practice. These works are both performative and self-referential with the central narrative being an instructional conversation between the artwork and its maker. The paintings portray various landscape/natural elements and patterns, imprecise geometries, and translucent planes of colour and shape. Mimicking a digital landscape that encompasses both the archaeological and futuristic, the works have mobile components which, when activated, suggest how mysterious and magical qualities might influence the directions we take, even in the presence of intent.

sonia-shiel-installation-images-high-res-jpgsdsc_8429

Shiel’s expansive practice shifts us between the fantastical and the real and often refers to our impotency within world affairs while celebrating the notion of agency and our endeavours to affect change. Within this body of work she flips the hierarchy; the artworks assert control over the outcome and we become players within its stage.

sonia-shiel-installation-images-high-res-jpgsdsc_8489

Artists Bio

Sonia Shiel is an Irish visual artist based in Dublin. She has had recent exhibitions and performances at the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin; The Glucksman Gallery, Cork; Artbox, Dublin; The NCAD Gallery, Dublin; The Treeline Pavillion, Dublin; The Observatory,UCD, Dublin and The Crawford Gallery, Cork. Other selected exhibitions include Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin; Rua Red, Dublin; The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Project Spaces, Dublin; the ISCP, New York; The Oonagh Young Gallery, Dublin; The Cable Factory, Helsinki; Pallas Contemporary Projects, Dublin; The Model, Sligo; Atelier Frankfurter; Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris; the RHA Galleries I and II; Ormston House, Limerick; and the Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, among others.

sonia-shiel-installation-images-high-res-jpgsdsc_8497

She has been the recipient of the Tony O’Malley Award from the Butler Gallery and the Hennessy Craig Award from the RHA. She has received a number of Bursary and Project Awards from The Arts Council; Culture Ireland; DLRCC; and the DCC. Her work features in several international, public and private collections, including the DLR Municipal Collection; the Arts Council of Ireland, the City of Frankfurt, the Glucksman Gallery and the Office of Public Works. She was Artist in Residence for Arts and Humanities, at the School of English, Drama and Film at UCD, Dublin from 2016-18. Other residencies and fellowships include the Art and Law Program, New York; the ISCP, New York; HIAP, Helsinki; The Kulturbunker, Frankfurt; Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin; and the Leighton Artists Studios Residency at The Banff Centre, Alberta.

Sonia Shiel, 'I Am What You've Come To See', Installation view

Command Lines Candida Powell-Williams

Void Art Centre

22 June – 24 August 2019

Candida Powell-Williams, installation view, Courtesy of the artist. Photographer Tansy Cowley
Candida Powell-Williams, installation view, Courtesy of the artist. Photographer Tansy Cowley

Command Lines is a theatrical installation of sculpture, performance and animation by artist Candida Powell-Williams. The works re-imagine the iconic tarot as a three-dimensional experiment in symbolism, action, story-telling and magical thinking. Powell-William’s installation uses the term Command Lines to frame the exhibition, insinuating systems, networks and feedback loops, control over and order of information. Her work builds on the play between performance, technology and sculptures that act as props to her fantastical stage setting, calling into questions structures of reality.

Candida Powell-Williams, installation view, Courtesy of the artist. Photographer Tansy Cowley
Candida Powell-Williams, installation view, Courtesy of the artist. Photographer Tansy Cowley

Throughout the gallery there is a multitude of scales and forms of sculptures that determine how we interact with the works. At the centre point of the exhibition there are colourful stationary sculptural forms that are a chaotic shambles apparently poised, ready for action; the space punctuated with enlarged heavy, stationary symbols.

This main body of work acts as an anchor that feeds back and circumnavigates the works in the adjoining gallery spaces.

Candida Powell-Williams, installation view, Courtesy of the artist. Photographer Tansy Cowley
Candida Powell-Williams, installation view, Courtesy of the artist. Photographer Tansy Cowley

There are miniature scale versions of the same forms, ordered in 10 dioramas arranged as a Celtic cross tarot spread. The viewer is invited to peer into each proscenium discovering abstract forms, empty castles and temple-like structures, animal heads and frozen magician’s gloves. The tarot is stripped of its archetypal human imagery leaving a space to fill and pushing the symbolic to the fore.

An interactive ‘game’, answering the viewer’s question with a series of animations derived from the performance and accompanied by a poetic voice; these vignettes mix ballet and computing terminology which, rather than giving divinatory guidance, are in fact instructions for the performance. This leads the viewer back to the main gallery where the props and costumes are waiting, as though inviting the audience to pick them up and start configuring their own imaginative reading.

Candida Powell-Williams, installation view, Courtesy of the artist. Photographer Tansy Cowley
Candida Powell-Williams, installation view, Courtesy of the artist. Photographer Tansy Cowley

The elements of performance and the sculptural props repeat and mutate across the galleries. Block sculptural forms and symbols are echoed in different media (ceramics, Jesmonite, resin, embroidery, textiles, drawing, animation) and different scales (human size and miniature), flipping back and forth creating a repetitive, self-referential loop, experimenting with positive and negative space; past and present; stationary and moving; animate and inanimate; soft and hard. The range of materials and textures reference digital pixilated landscapes rendered in the physical with apparently dissolving edges, wobbly geometry and bear the intimacy of the handmade to explore the mutability of meaning as they come together in a cacophony of voices.

Candida Powell-Williams, performance image , Courtesy of the artist. Photographer Tansy Cowley
Candida Powell-Williams, performance image , Courtesy of the artist. Photographer Tansy Cowley

The project is a culmination of research and development during a residency at London’s Warburg Institute, exploring the endurance of esoteric ideas and the cultural heritage of tarot, archetypes and mutation of symbols. A longstanding interest in our attempts to navigate the ‘Absurd’ led Powell-William to consider mysticism within storytelling and its meeting point with the mundane materiality of objects.

Candida Powell-Williams, performance image , Courtesy of the artist. Photographer Tansy Cowley
Candida Powell-Williams, performance image , Courtesy of the artist. Photographer Tansy Cowley

Powell-Williams’ work is a response to researching the slippage that occurs between primary and secondary source material in relation to historical artefacts. By discarding the original source and reimagining objects as a product of their interpretation she explores the consequences of retelling history and how we construct identity through objects and memory. She manipulates historical narratives, plucking references from disparate eras, folding them into the present and condensing them into a singular experience.

Artist’s Bio

Candida Powell-Williams graduated from the Royal College of Art, London in 2011 and the Slade School of Fine Art London in 2009. Her sculptural and performance works are a response to researching the slippage that occurs between primary and secondary source material, exploring the consequences of retelling history and how we construct identity through objects and memory. She was recently Artist in Residence at The Warburg Institute London. Selected exhibitions include: Lessness, still quorum, performance, Serpentine Galleries, London (2018); Boredom and its Acid Touch, Frieze Live, London (2017); Tongue Town, Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo (2017); Cache, Art Night Associate Programme, London (2017); Vernacular History of the Golden Rhubarb, Bosse & Baum Gallery, London (2017); PIC performance festival, Melbourne, Australia (2016); Coade’s Elixir-an occupation, Hayward Gallery, London (2014). Powell-William’s is the recipient of the 2018 Mother Art Prize with a group show at Mimosa House London (2019). Other awards include the Sainsbury Scholarship at the British School at Rome (2012-13), the Paris Residency at Cite Internationale des Arts, (2010), Eric and Jean Cass Sculpture Award (2010-2011). In 2019 common-editions published Powell-William’s 78 card tarot deck and artist book.

 

A Visibility Matrix Sven Anderson & Gerard Byrne

Void Art Centre

16 April – 8 June

A Visibility Matrix, installation view, Images Courtesy of the Artists, Photographer Tansy Cowley
A Visibility Matrix, installation view, Images Courtesy of the Artists, Photographer Tansy Cowley
There is now an expectation of visibility, from any place, at any time and by anyone.

– Sven Anderson & Gerard Byrne

A Visibility Matrix is an artwork that explores the politics and conditions of visibility. Initiated by Dublin-based artists and long-term collaborators, Sven Anderson and Gerard Byrne, A Visibility Matrix assembles contributions from a distributed panel of artists, film-makers and others within a synchronised, multi-channel video installation.

 

A Visibility Matrix emerges as a response to the ambitions of abandoned art and technology projects from the 1960s–1980s that prioritised multi-screen video projection, monitor arrays, communications networks and algorithmic composition principles. These projects explored visual excess and hyperstimulation prior to the development of the Internet, and before multi-screen video displays expanded into the vernacular backdrop of everyday public and private life. Considered now, the plural voices of these experiments in perception and communication simultaneously prophesise and bypass the homogenised conditions that have come to be accepted as network culture.

A Visibility Matrix, installation view, Images Courtesy of the Artists, Photographer Tansy Cowley
A Visibility Matrix, installation view, Images Courtesy of the Artists, Photographer Tansy Cowley

Exploring the paradigms of what we see and how we construct visual knowledge, A Visibility Matrix returns to the instincts of these projects. It proposes a condensed counterpoint to the migratory, hyper-networked nature of visibility in contemporary culture by conjuring an offline matrix of video material presented in the gallery space for communal observation. The artwork speculates on an alternative to the composite formed by subject + smartphone + online-video-sharing-platform that has come to represent the current standard of visibility. It gathers content through an associative network of collaborators including visual anthropologists, cinematographers, documentary filmmakers and others from across the globe. By shifting focus from the production of images for sharing online to their reception in a shared, fixed-time spatial context, A Visibility Matrix offers another window on visual excess, confronting its own situated spatiality in order to reflect the more universal conditions that it addresses.

 

A Visibility Matrix, installation view, Images Courtesy of the Artists, Photographer Tansy Cowley
A Visibility Matrix, installation view, Images Courtesy of the Artists, Photographer Tansy Cowley

A Visibility Matrix manifests as a network of screens and spatial gestures, in which we observe images being duplicated, mirrored and displaced. These gestures unfold over days and months of exhibition, pursuing both repetition and re-assembly. The system that determines these patterns reveals itself through its precision but also through moments of uncertainty, asserting its presence through a series of vocal cues that punctuate the relationship between the database of video and the space of exhibition. This system speculates on the possibilities of video not as passive image but as an active signal, and the gallery as a site of condensation; a shared space and a space of reflection.

 

A Visibility Matrix includes video material aggregated from a network of collaborators including:

 

Daniel & Marie Law Adams, Rosa Aiello, Matt Bakkom, Rosa Barba, Eric Baudelaire, Beat Detectives, John Beattie, Ericka Beckman, Maeve Brennan, Andreas Bunte, Duncan Campbell, Matija Debeljuh, Dennis Del Favero, Willie Doherty, Jeanette Doyle, Moritz Fehr, Diego Ferrari, Darko Fritz, Rene Gabri & Ayreen Anastas, Mariam Ghani & Chitra Ganesh, Ross Gibson, Judith Goddard, Jennie Guy, Louis Haugh, Kathy High, Klara Hobza, Jere Ikongio & Katja Kellerer, Ivan Marusic Klif, John Lalor, Charles Lim, Jeanne Liotta, Lovid, Hrvoje Mabic, Nicholas Mangan, Fiona Marron, Ed Mattiuzzi, Peter Maybury, Ronan McCrea, Conor McGarrigle, Toni Mestrovic, Abinadi Meza, Suzanne Mooney, Nadija Mustapic, Arnont Nongyao, Tadhg O’Sullivan, Dietmar Offenhuber, Matt Parker, Jack Phelan, Piyarat Piyapongwiwat, Jason Quinlan, Eugenia Raskopoulos, Lucy Raven, Ben Rivers, Karl Ingar Røys, Adam Sekuler, Craig Smith, Michael Bell Smith, Sean Snyder, Stephanie Spray, Danae Stratou, Daniel Von Sturmer, Jose Carlos Teixeira, Leslie Thornton, Gabriele Trapani, Sara Velas, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Grace Weir, Jeremy Welsh, Krzysztof Wodiczko and Tintin Wulia.

 

A Visibility Matrix was created under the editorial direction of Sven Anderson, Matthew Bakkom, Victoria Brooks, Gerard Byrne, Moritz Fehr, Igor Grubic, Dan Kidner, Nikos Papastergiadis und Oraib Toukan, and assembled with support from Louis Haugh and Fiona Marron.

 

A Visibility Matrix is an artwork formed through its infrastructure, system design and spatial permutations, which will continue to evolve as it moves from space to space. To date it has progressed through The Douglas Hyde Gallery (Dublin), Le Printemps de Septembre (Toulouse) and Secession (Vienna) before the current exhibition at Void.

 

A Visibility Matrix is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland / An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the British Council.

 

 

 

Sven Anderson (b. 1977) is an artist working between Ireland and the US since 2001. Anderson’s practice operates through installations, systems and performances that respond to details of the built environment, ubiquitous technological infrastructures, and fragments of local histories. Anderson’s projects incorporate methodologies premised on artist placements, shared authorship and long-term collaboration, often converging on forms articulated in public space. His public artworks The Manual for Acoustic Planning and Urban Sound Design (2013) and The Office for Common Sound (2016) probe the potential of the artist as urban planner and municipal resource. His permanent sound installation Continuous Drift (2015) explores new modes of curating sound in the public realm, presenting works from over 30 artists in an active city square. Anderson’s proposal for the UK Holocaust Memorial International Design Competition (developed in collaboration with Heneghan Peng Architects) was awarded honourable mention (2018). Recent video works include When I go home, I cut through (2018), GOLDEN PRECIOUSFIELDS UNFOLD (2017) and Before the Flood (2015).

 

http://www.svenanderson.net/

 

Gerard Byrne (b. 1969) lives and works in Dublin. His work in photography, film, theatre and multi-screen installation examines the slippage between time and the act of image creation. Recent solo exhibitions include Secession, Vienna, Austria (2019); Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2017); Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia (2016); Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, UK (2016); and Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland (2015). He has also participated in Sculpture Projects Münster, Germany (2017); dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel, Germany (2012); Performa, New York City, NY, USA (2011); the 54th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2011); Auckland Biennial, New Zealand (2010); Gwangju Biennial, South Korea (2008); Sydney Biennial, Australia (2008); Lyon Biennial, France (2007); Tate Triennial, London, UK (2006); and the Istanbul Biennale, Turkey (2003). In 2007 he represented Ireland at the 52nd Venice Biennale.

 

http://www.gerardbyrne.com/

 

Photo Credits for Images Used:

1. Sven Anderson and Gerard Byrne, A Visibility Matrix, 2018. Extract from material contributed by Gabriele Trapani.

2. Sven Anderson and Gerard Byrne, A Visibility Matrix, 2018. Extract from material contributed by Rene Gabri & Ayreen Anastas.

3. Sven Anderson and Gerard Byrne, A Visibility Matrix, 2018. Extract from material contributed by Ed Mattiuzzi.

Opened Ground Willie Doherty I Aslan Gaisumov I Amar Kanwar

Void Art Center

09 February – 29 March 2019

The title Opened Ground is taken from a collection of poems by Seamus Heaney; written between 1966 and 1996. The poems span a turbulent time in Northern Ireland and delve into both the physical and psychic landscape of that period. The presence of the border is part of the complex narrative of Northern Ireland creating divisions and divides. Since the Good Friday Peace Agreement in 1998 the infrastructures of the military checkpoints have been decommissioned and have become part of the past. With the approaching deadline of Brexit, and the lack of clarity on how the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will manifest, it gives rise to the tension of the possibility of the re-emergence of a ‘hard border’.

Borders are a contentious issue locally, nationally, and internationally. The idea of territorial markings has historically been a constantly shifting ground. The invited artists in this exhibition have a shared history as each have a unique relationship with the landscape they reflect on; there is a biographical element to each, bearing witness to the lived experience of both past and present borders, and their effect on society as a whole.

Willie Doherty’s early photographic work from the 80’s and 90’s is a powerful reminder of how borders, primarily a political agenda, dislocates culture and the shape of people’s identities and histories. The photographs document how history can mark a terrain and how memory is marked in the landscape. The series of photographs of the border document empty roads reaching into the landscapes laden with overtones of what came before. The poignant photograph The Road Ahead (1997) carries new meaning with the uncertainty of what is to come.

Amar Kanwar’s piece A Season Outside (1997) explores the demarcation line between India and Pakistan. The film narrated by the artist reveals the anxiety that surrounds the militarised border between India and Pakistan. Partition, the British government’s 1947 division of the Indian subcontinent into two nations—Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan—left millions of people on the wrong side of a border, causing violence that has since escalated into an arms race. Kanwar, through his narration and imagery, lays bare the violence that erupts from this dispossession.

Aslan Gaisumov’s piece People of No Consequence (2016) explores the effect of displacement of Chechens from what was known as the Soviet Union to Central Asia in 1944. The people gathered in the work represent the collective memory and narrative of the effects of territorial shifts. It is a reminder of the human consequence of political manoeuvring.

With the instability of global politics and economic precarity, we have witnessed the rise of nationalism and identity politics. The border crisis in Northern Ireland is one signifier of global anxiety. The border currently exists as an imaginary line; a change in texture of road surfaces, a representation of an historical point within our history. The unknown outcome of our political situation turns our attention once more to the border.

Willie Doherty

Since the 1980s, Willie Doherty has been a pioneering figure in contemporary art film and photography. At once highly seductive and visually disorientating, Doherty’s artworks tend to begin as responses to specific terrains (most often mysterious isolated settings; places, we suspect, with a troubled past) and evolve as complex reflections on how we look at such locations – or on what stories might be told about their hidden histories.

Aslan Gaisumov

Aslan Gaisumov (b. 1991 in Grozny, Chechnya) lives and works in Grozny and Amsterdam, NL. He is currently enrolled at Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam. Current and recent exhibitions include: If No One Asks, CAG Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver, CA, 2019); Crystals and Shards, Kohta Kunsthalle, (Helsinki, FI, 2018); Beautiful world, where are you?, Liverpool Biennial (Liverpool, UK, 2018); Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More, 1st Riga Biennale (Riga, LV, 2018); All That You See Here, Forget, Emalin (London, UK, 2018); I Am a Native Foreigner, Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, NL, 2017); How To Live Together, Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna, AT, 2017); and People of No Consequence, Museum of Contemporary Art M HKA (Antwerp, BE, 2016).

Amar Kanwar

Amar Kanwar has distinguished himself through films and multi‐media works, which explore the politics of power, violence and justice. His multi‐layered installations originate in narratives often drawn from zones of conflict and are characterized by a unique poetic approach to the personal, social and political. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including most recently the Prince Claus Award (2017).

Kanwar’s solo exhibitions of the last two years include: Luma Arles; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota; and Tate Modern, London (2018); Bildmuseet, Umea (2017); Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai (2016); Earlier solo exhibitions include the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2008); the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2007); and the Renaissance Society, Chicago (2004), among others. He also participated in the first Lahore Biennale (2018), documenta 11, 12, 13, and 14 in Kassel, Germany (2002, 2007, 2012, 2017).