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Duality of Form

Solstice Arts Centre

January 20th – March 11th

Eleanor Duffin/Caoimhe Kilfeather/ Barbara Knezevic



Duality of form is a philosophical inquiry into the nature of objects and how their meaning comes into being. The world of objects and artifacts are a trove of hidden meanings that evolve and change over time. As artworks, objects demonstrate their capacity to elude definition. In contemporary society we are defined by what we consume and collect, within these parameters we tend to define our environment. The invited artists explore and elucidate the idea of an object’s plurivocality through sculpture, photography, drawing and text.


In his book Illuminations, Walter Benjamin wrote that every object was invested with a double valence: negative and positive, like an object and its shadow. In the lifecycle of an object when it is created he viewed it as vested in its utopian dimension, its cynical dimension was as a commodity and only in its obsolescence could it regain its freedom. He remarked: “only in extinction is the (true) collector comprehended”[1]. Both Caoimhe Kilfeather and Barbara Knezevic play with this notion of the artist as a collector, as someone who ‘liberates things from the bondage of utility.’ What is decisive for Benjamin is that the “object be dissociated from all its original function in order to enter into the closest possible relationships with its equivalent. This is the diametric opposite of use, and stands under the curious category of completeness”[2].


Caoimhe Kilfeather’s photographic series titled Skep, looks at the properties of a defunct object that reflects outmoded practices as well as form and aperture. A Skep was used for collecting bees and has now become an ornament. Kilfeather’s oval line of bronze shown in conjunction with the photographs delineates the base of the skep as it rotates and outlines a boundary that alludes to drawing and perhaps a space that objects are contained. Her second photographic series in the exhibition of facades relate directly to the hanging ceramic tile works. They point to real world environments and reflect on the subjective nature of memory when recalling details of places. Memories tend to be a construct of objects, which retain significance only when recalled.


Through her sculptural pieces Barbara Knezevic traces possible meanings that are trapped in material objects that conspire to evade us through their presence and absence. Pine broomhandles are scorched and burnt in coded patterns, a floor piece of a knotted rope the center of which burnt is out, a clear cast glass object is placed in the center. The interconnectivity between the pieces allows us to decode possible interpretations of the works. Fire is a signifier of civilization, it destroys, illuminates, purifies. Knezevic edits and rearranges objects into unstable and often temporary arrangements creating new relationships between objects. The materials are conduits of meaning


The artist Marcel Broodthaer’s when talking about his work stated; ‘that fiction allows us to grasp reality and at the same time what it hides’.[3] Similarly, Eleanor Duffin creates a fictive space through her publication Phantom of Form; using text and graphics she creates a narrative around a fictional ‘other’ woman whose primary focus is materiality in relation to objects and their functional presence. The female protagonist is a device to create distance between the artist and her work. This resonates with Benjamin’s idea of the ‘double valence’ – in this case the artist and her shadow. Duffin through this work explores how language can inform sculpture and how material/immaterial language can be manifested in text and in visual formulation.


We have now entered speculative realism – ‘a world where the object, whether thing, tool commodity, thought, phenomenon or living creature has regained its rights, freed from the subject of mind, body and gaze’[4]. The artists demonstrate this liberation through artworks that obstruct, disrupt and interfere with social-norms. In a time when objects tend to define us through our reliance on them for validation, to communicate, socialise, we perhaps need to re-assess our relationship to the object and turn our gaze.

[1] Benjamin, Walter, Illuminations, Fontana Press, UK, 1973, 41.

[2] Ibid., 38.

[3] Krauss, Rosalind, A Voyage on the North Sea: Art in the age of the Post-Medium condition’, Thames & Hudson, UK, 1999, 41.

[4] Hudek, Anthony, The object: Documents of contemporary art, Whitechapel Gallery & MIT Press, UK, 2014, 16.

Seachange TULCA Festival of Visual Art

Participating artists

Ann Maree Barry| Rhona Byrne| Mark Clare| Carol Anne Connolly| Colin Crotty| Culturstruction| Christo| Jason Deans| Michelle Deignan| Caroline Doolin| Angela Fulcher| Tue Greenfort| Martin Healy| Louise Hervé & Chloé Maillet| Allan Hughes| Brian King| Barbara Knezevic| Clare Langan| Nevan Lahart| Richard Long| Ruth Lyons| Maggie Madden| Maria McKinney| Dennis McNulty & Ros Kavanagh| Ailbhe Ni Bhriain| Seamus Nolan| Seoidin O’Sullivan| Owen Quinlan| Oswaldo Ruiz| The Canary Project| Anaïs Tondeur & Jean Marc Chomaz| Michael John Whelan

Festival Gallery_27sml
Richard Long Kilkenny Limestone Circle,1991 Limestone 400 cm diameter Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art Purchase, 1991

Hy-Brasil film Screening

George Bolster| Adam Chodzko| Shezad Dawood| Otolith Group| Werner Herzog| Tadhg O’Sullivan| Laura Smith

Nuns Island_24sm
Clare Langan, Floating World, 2015, Ruth Lyons, Afterings, 2014, Maria McKinney Abyssals, 2014

The future of the global environment may very well be the most pressing political priority of our time. This exhibition seeks to illuminate issues of climate change and our place in the changing landscape while, at the same time, examining the language associated with climatologists’ future projections–language often evocative of science fiction rather than science fact. Through a combination of the real and the imaginary the exhibiting artists create a collective call for a sea-change, literally, in our current climate policies.

The James Mitchell Museum_2sm
Barbara Knezevic conglomerations, constellations, 2015

Climatic shifts could engender large-scale environmental transformations leading to a cycle of entropic social and ecological upheaval ultimately threatening human’s long-term survival. In fact, one could easily imagine that our western lifestyle is being turned back upon us now with cataclysmic results.

Remote Painter Balor’s Mega Baalistic Gall Stones, 2015 private collection of ancient Irish Stones and artefacts

What’s more, carbon emissions contribute to the world’s already deplorable social and economic inequality. It creates a kind of geography of vulnerability, which is vastly different between countries and social classes–as is the international response to the situation.

Barbara Knezevic animal, vegetable, mineral, 2015

We especially, as island dwellers, are vulnerable to the rising sea levels caused by warming. According to one estimate, by the middle of this century 200 million people may become permanently displaced due to the effects of the rising sea, especially heavier floods and more intense droughts.

Brian King Cloon Project (record of an environmental sculpture project at Cloon, Co Wicklow),1980

This is the starting point of TULCA 2015. At its conceptual core it focuses on the legendary island Hy-Brasil: an island, noted on maps as early as 1325, which the Genoese cartographer Dalorto placed off the west coast of Ireland. Mythologised through oral history and written accounts, Hy-Brasil was said to be inhabited by a highly advanced society, although it could only be glimpsed through the fog every seven years. It was only omitted from sailing charts in 1865 when its location could not be verified.

There are different hypotheses on the existence of this island, and the debate continues as to whether it is fact or fiction–for instance, a raised bank off the Atlantic coast is thought to mark the site of the island which sank like the legendary Atlantis. The ways in which the myths associated with this island reflect the changing landscape of our environment form the central line of inquiry of this exhibition.

Festival Gallery_52sml
Edward Morris / Susannah Sayler Water Gold Soil (American River Archive, doc. 2), 2015

We have entered an epoch of the anthropocene; climate change offers huge challenges to our societies and is a major test of our capacity for collaboration, imagination and resourcefulness. Art creates a platform for conversations to illustrate and encourage imaginative responses to both the history and future of the climate debate.

Festival Gallery_3sml
Seoidín O’Sullivan Orchard System, 2015 Apple trees, platforms & mirrors Dimensions variable

Into the Silence of the Night

Lee Welch
Lee Welch

Irish Museum of Modern Art

Lee Welch (USA/Irl) , Ruth Proctor (UK), Sarah Jones (UK),  Dimitra Xidous (Gr),  Ella De Burca (Irl), Sally Rooney (Irl), Claire-Louise Bennett (Irl), Dorit Chrysler (Aus)

June 24th, 2015

In the Silence of the night is a line taken from Etel Adnan’s novel Sitt Marie Rose; the style of writing is a mixture of conversations, news bulletins, monologues, and interviews. The series of performances engages with this idea of open forms of expression, through spoken word, live art, sculpture and music. They evoke the lyrical fluency and the abstract nature of forms of expression within a culture of language where words are the primary form of expression. The performances and the artworks are arranged to create a specific response through meaning, sound and rhythm.


Ruth Proctor
Sarah Jones
Sarah Jones



Ocusonic, Chasing Waves, 2011 Digitised analog audio visual installation
Ocusonic, Chasing Waves, 2011
Digitised analog audio visual installation

The Joinery

Richard Forrest, Adam Gibney, Ocusonic

November 7 – November 16

The era of the internet has hailed the most significant cultural shift in the twenty first century. The way we interact with technology to mediate our lives is unprecedented. InterPlay explores artists’ relationship with materiality, sound and visuals who work with technology as a genesis or point of origin.

Interplay_Richard forrest
Richard Forrest, Field of Vision, 2014
80 x 80 x 80 cm

Adam Gibney engages with sound and sculpture as a means to investigate semiotics and its relationship with technology. The sculptural work employs a mantra as a meditative tool to remove the viewer from reality; he is interested in this use of language not as a means of communication but to induce transcendental moments through repetition. Richard Forrest’s sculptural work infiltrates the digital world and breaks down imagery to its pixelated form, the result occupying the space between the virtual and the real. Ocusonic’s immersive installation explores the possibilities of creating visual music through the use of digital programming. The exhibition takes the viewer from the real to the virtual, creating a sense of inhabiting the inner workings of the digital world.

Interplay_Adam Gibney
Adam Gibney, Exercise 23: Mantric Formulations, 2013
Sound, sculpture and electronics


Interplay_Adam Gibney2
Adam Gibney, Exercise 29: Mantric Formulator, 2014
Sound, sculpture and electronics



Summer Rising, IMMA, 2014



Hélio Oiticica proposed with his work ways ‘of giving the individual the possibility to ‘experiment’  to no longer be the spectator and become the participant’, and it is in this spirit that IMMA invited visitors to be part of the SUMMER RISING – to taste, to listen, to look , to enjoy and most of all to take part.


A ten day festival of music, food, talks and performances


Martin Healy, Aether

Martin Healy, Aether, 2014 HD Film,  Installation view
Martin Healy, Aether, 2014
HD Film, Installation view
 Aether, a new film work by Martin Healy which continues the artist’s exploration of utopian ideology as both material entity and imaginary projection. In this instance, Healy’s work explores the belief in the progressive potential of science and technology that characterised the beginning of the 20th century and makes reference to Paul Scheerbart’s ‘The Perpetual Motion Machine – The Story of an Invention’ (1910). The diary is a written record of Scheerbart’s quest to build a perpetual motion machine and chronicles the author’s efforts to produce a machine he imagined would offer the world access to free energy and as a consequence have profound implications for society. Aether ruminates on the relationship between scientific truth (our attempts to explain the materiality of the world) and aesthetic form (the structures we build to do so) at a time when both these fields of inquiry existed in an ethereal and momentary unison.
Martin Healy, Aether, 2014
HD Film, Installation view


Lone characters often define Healy’s films; in this case an un-named narrator, wandering through a tidal landscape, sets the tone and rhythm of the film work. During his journey, the narrator makes associations between the original search for the aether, the composition of matter and the fundamental drive to understand the natural phenomena that affect human existence. In its analysis of the relationships between the natural world and man-made artefacts, Healy’s film is a pensive meditation on the multiple conflicts and consequences of the human desire to harness the physical world.

Martin Healy, Aether, 2014
HD Film, Installation view



RHA Gallery, Dublin

David Beattie , Mark Clare, Colin Crotty, John Dwyer, Barbara Knezevic

Vue, installation view
Vue, installation view

The artists invited to participate in Vue reflect current contemporary artistic practices. The use of materials both found and fabricated reflects on the nature of artistic production but also the economics of materials. The subtle nature of David Beattie’s sculptures invokes playfulness and a means to reinterpret how you view the utility of everyday objects. Barbara Knezevic in this series of sculptures continues her exploration into our relationship with materials.

Colin Crotty, installatio view
Colin Crotty, installatio view

The works use of materials such as marble and salt challenge notions of stability and the tentative nature of art objects. Colin Crotty’s paintings act as a social commentary on societal structure while also referencing art historical landscape painting. John Dwyer’s paintings referencing the Arab Spring or the London riots stem from digital images of current events. Mark Clare’s social commentary provides a platform to question the status quo and formulate future aspirations; his photographic work reflects this notion.

Vue, installation view
Vue, installation view

Art for Gaza

David Beattie, Mark Clare, Mark Cullen, Mark Garry, Oonagh Gilday, Martin Healy, Caoimhe Kilfeather, Gillian Lawler, Nevin Lehart, Isabel Nolan, Liam O’Callaghan, Niamh Mc Cann, Dennis McNulty, Ciaran Murphy, Gavin Murphy, Alan Phelan, Sonia Shiel, Amy Stephens

Art for Gaza, 2014
Installation view

Art for Gaza is a benefit exhibition in response to the situation in Gaza. We invited a group of established Irish artists to generously donate a work to the exhibition, the sales of which go directly to the Unicef: Gaza Appeal.

Art for Gaza, 2014
Installation view

We feel strongly about the situation in Gaza and want to make some effort to support the people and, in particular, the children. This is a humanitarian issue, the images and news that have been coming out of Gaza are deeply disturbing and it is a conflict that seems to have no end.

Art for Gaza, 2014
Installation view