Solo exhibition by Dublin-based artist Isabel Nolan. The exhibition comprises paintings, drawings and objects, reflecting Nolan’s ongoing interest in modes of human organisation, the shifting status of artefacts and images over long periods of time.
The experience of lockdown during Covid-19 and the slowing down of time has a resonance in this exhibition. Often working at home, drawing, an important element of Nolan’s practice, became the sole conduit of how she made ‘meaning’ happen and manifested a response in a time of huge uncertainty.Drawing is integral to her studio practice, it is a means to conjure new representations of the world, of making it legible. Sketching, scribbling, note-taking, erasing and sometimes simply expending nervous energy is fundamental to the way Nolan draws. Often made without the intention of being exhibited, pages absorb ideas and begin to suggest material ways to formulate and give shape to often abstract ideas. The line, colours, patterns and forms are a starting point for her expanded practice; from there she transfers this mode of working to encompass painting, sculpture or tapestry.
The paintings have an ethereal and otherworldly quality stemming from years of reading and harvesting ideas from diverse fields; philosophy, archaeology, physics and theology. The figures in the paintings, such as shadowy St. Jerome, the patron saint of archaeology, known for his translation of the bible, and St. Columba, the patron Saint of Derry, who is credited with spreading monastic Christianity Christian culture in Ireland, and Scotland (and overseeing the emergence of an Irish historical record,) reflects Nolan’s love for elaborately honed narratives that become the channel for disseminating both troubling beliefs and great spirituality.
The paintings have an energetic quality to them, a hum, a liveness through her use of colour and motifs that recur throughout her work; suns, spirals, and waveforms give this sense of momentum. These forms also express the macro and the micro, the cosmic to the cellular.
Her works are revealing; representing the unseen, a fluid version of the world that continues to explore the periphery, the otherworld, and questions of ‘meaning’. As we have returned to the everyday, and things are as they were, and we are overloaded with quotidian concerns, those philosophical questions concerning the nature of the human condition have receded. This exhibition is a reminder that existence is delicate, unfathomable and our vocabulary often struggles to encapsulate the profundity and strangeness of being alive. In a time where the world feels as if it is teetering on a precipice of cumulative disasters Nolan provides a provisional space for us to occupy and ruminate on the nature and beauty of existence.
Isabel Nolan Biography
Isabel Nolan’s work includes sculpture, textiles, paintings, drawings, photography and writing. Her work responds to the fundamental question of how humans bring the world into meaning. How we make, (through science, politics, agriculture, religion, etcetera), reality happens. Whether examining the knees of a 17th C sculpture, perceptions of a Neolithic artefact, the shifting symbolic status of a donkey or images of distant galaxies, Nolan looks for the ways we can like, or even love, the difficult and complex human world we’ve made.
“The arc of almost every little thing I’ve proffered in public, in exhibitions or texts is quite similar. It goes as follows: Life is often hard and without meaning in any grand, a priori sense. Art is a good way to find meaninglessness beautiful. Meaning must be invented. And those inventions must be contested and questioned, and never taken for granted.” Isabel Nolan
Void is delighted to present the premiere of Glaswegian artist Luke Fowler’s short feature film Being in a Place – A Portrait of Margaret Tait, featuring the work of filmmaker-poet, the late Margaret Tait. Drawing on a wealth of unseen archival material and unpublished notebooks, the film weaves a complex and personal portrait of Margaret’s life, from the perspective of a fellow artist sensitive to the potential Margaret envisaged for film as a poetic medium.
At the centre of the film is an imagining of an unrealised script for a feature film discovered amongst Margaret’s documents in Orkney titled Heartlandscape: Being in a place. Heartlandscape was originally written by Tait in 1986 but never got beyond the proposal stage. The proposal describes several sections and films – including Garden Pieces which was realised and became Tait’s final 16mm film. At the heart of Tait’s proposal is the description of a landscape, and a journey through it – covering a terrain of moorland and hillside that Margaret knew intimately as her daily drive; from her home in Aith – to her work at Orquil Studio, in Rendall. The journey encompasses views over Rousay and other Orkney isles and beyond it to the Atlantic ocean and Hoy but it was the diversity of the terrain that fascinated Margaret; covering everything from peaty wilderness areas, to pre-historic dwellings and signs of modernity – including TV towers and experimental wind-turbines.
Although Margaret’s films have been acknowledged recently as pioneering and ahead of their time – she lived a largely isolated life in Orkney. Her body of work – some thirty-two short films and one feature film were for the most part self-funded and self-distributed, and, compared to the work of her male counterparts, often dismissed or ignored for appearing too “amateur-ish”.
This film sets about to offer a new reading of Tait’s life and work based on her own notebooks, film scripts, recordings, correspondence and portraits of people that she filmed. The exhibition provides an opportunity to discover the works of Margaret Tait through archival material that demonstrates her multifaceted practice through her drawings, assemblages, poetry and films. Fowler’s film draws on the landscape and the terrain that was so significant in her work and creates a unique portrait of one of Scotland’s most significant, and proudly independent, filmmakers.
Luke Fowler Biography
Luke Fowler (Glasgow, 1978) is an artist, filmmaker and musician based in Glasgow. He studied printmaking at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. His work explores the limits and conventions of biographical and documentary filmmaking, and has often been compared to the British Free Cinema of the 1950s. Working with archival footage, photography and sound, Fowler’s filmic montages create complex portraits of counter-culture and other marginalised figures. Fowler was awarded the inaugural Derek Jarman Award in 2008 and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2012 for his first feature film All Divided Selves. In 2019 he won Best Short film at both Glasgow Short Film Festival and Punto De Visto international documentary festival, Pamplona, for his film Mum’s Cards.
Margaret Tait Biography
Margaret Tait was one of Scotland’s most important female independent filmmakers; she died in her home town of Orkney in 1999 at the age 80. 2018 marked her centenary with a series of exhibitions and events taking place worldwide to broaden the distribution and appreciation of her work (MT100). Tait made one feature film in her life (Blue Black Permanent, 1992) but was best known for her short 16mm poem-films (or film-poems). It’s not surprising that she also wrote and published poetry and prose (publishing three volumes of poetry, a volume of short stories and a book for children). After studying with Roberto Rossellini at the Centro Sperimentale film school in Rome (1950-52) she based herself in Edinburgh where she ran the Rose Street festival – rubbing shoulders with the likes of John Grierson, Hugh MacDiarmid, Sorley Maclean and Norman MacCaig. She returned to her birthplace of Orkney in the late 60’s – which became the landscape and subject of the majority of her following films until her passing.
Orna Kazimi, Kubra Khademi, Mario García Torres, Erkan Özgen.
The title of the exhibition is taken from a novel by Fowzin Karimi, that explores the trauma of war and how that reverberates through the generations. Forced migration and the burden of carrying the past to the present and into the future is a condition of many forced into exile. The impact of war on women and the trauma that seeps through the generations forms the centre point of this exhibition. We have seen the legacy of war on women throughout the Middle East especially in the last year. We have seen the transformation of Afghan society in terms of girls’ access to education and women losing their positions at work. There is also the legacy of the second generation of migrants fleeing to places such as Iran and the US who fled in the 80’s during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. It has huge implications on people’s sense of place and culture, and how they can regain that sense through returning generations to a place that has only existed in their imaginations and through the stories of their parents or ancestors. The displacement of people is nothing new and throughout history this has been a common occurrence. Women and girls suffer disproportionately during and after war, as existing inequalities are magnified, and social networks break down, making them more vulnerable to sexual violence and exploitation.
Erkan Özgen’s movie Purple Muslin is a touching contemporary portrait created in collaboration with Yazidi women who escaped the menace of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham forces and sought refuge in Northern Iraq. Erkan Özgen’s project explores the impact of war on the female refugees who fled the conflict zones. The video is an inquiry into the ways in which these women cope with their traumas in an environment full of violence. The artist intends to give them a voice to tell their individual stories and their shared experiences of war, of suffering and displacement. The real force, nonetheless, is the power of “Awakening” (a stirring and often direct document), and its incredible capacity to reveal a vision that can be shared.
Orna Kazimi animation The Greeness of a Mosque (2021), focuses on the lack of social mobility among the Afghan community in Iran who originally fled the conflict in Afghanistan about four decades ago. A new Afghan generation of children and grandchildren were born into a similar, or worse, socio-political climate as their parents and grandparents faced in Iran due to racism, despite being born in Iran. ‘The Greenness of a Mosque’ depicts the suffering of Afghan mothers, fearing that their children might decide to go to the war in Syria on a promise that their families would receive money and the right to remain in Iran.
Kubra Khademi’s piece Armour (2015), was a provocative performance that she made in the city centre of Kabul. The performance was made in defiance to the patriarchal system in Afghanistan. She walked through a busy area in central Kabul dressed in custom-made metal Armor: an artistic gesture meant to highlight how women are sexually and verbally harassed in public spaces. After studying fine arts at the University of Kabul, and later at the University of Beaconhouse in Lahore, Khademi committed herself to the continuous reflection of the condition of women’s lives in Afghanistan. Her work spans performance, painting, and drawing. In the last year, Khademi finished a series of large-scale paintings and drawings. They are inspired by the way Afghan women express their sexuality through a coded and subversive poetic language that remains unrecognisable to men.
about the relationship that another artist, Alighiero Boetti, had with the city of Kabul from 1971 to 1979. Following meticulous research lasting over three years, García Torres shows us a new episode: the One Hotel that Boetti opened in the capital of Afghanistan. The images projected in Alguna vez has visto la nieve caer? (Have You Ever Seen the Snow Fall?), along with the off-screen voice, tell of a conceptual journey somewhere between history, myth and fiction, where the past and the present flow together in a story that takes place within other stories. The political substrate can be felt in the film’s reflections on the changes occurring in the landscape and daily life in Afghanistan, especially after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
Erkan Özgen (Derik, Turkey, 1971) lives and works in Diyarbakır. He graduated from Çukurova University Painting Department in 2000. He works on video based installations and has participated in group exhibitions in Turkey and abroad. Most of his recent films deal with migration and human rights. Purple Muslin was presented as a worldwide premiere at Manifesta 12 (Palermo, Italy, 2018) and won a unanimous public acclaim.
Orna Kazimi is a visual artist based in London. Orna’s work and research explore personal encounters with migration in relation to collective trauma and memories of displacement through drawings, installation and writing. Her work has received recognitions and nominations for a wide range of prizes and grants such as Ingram Art Prize in 2021 (shortlisted) and the Writers Grant funded by Creative Debuts in 2020.
Her works have been shown at Unit1 Gallery and Workshop – London, Lethaby Gallery – London, Tate Exchange – Tate Modern – London, Centre de la Gravure – La Louviere, TCNJ Art Gallery – New Jersey, Imago Mundi – Milan, Theca Gallery – Milan, Queen’s Palace – Kabul. She was awarded the Caspian Arts Foundation Scholarship (2016) and completed a master’s degree in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London (2018).
Kubra Khademi (born 1989) is an Afghan performance artist based in Paris. She studied fine arts at Kabul University. In Lahore she began to create public performances, a practice she continued upon her return to Kabul, where her work actively responded to a society dominated by extreme patriarchal politics. After performing her piece Armor in 2015, Khademi was forced to flee Afghanistan due to a fatwa and death threats. She is currently living and working in Paris.
Mario García Torres (born 1975 in Monclova, México) is one of the most internationally renowned Latin American artists. He has used various media, including film, sound, performance, ‘museographic installations’ and video as a means to create his art.
Garcia Torres often mentioned untold or ‘minor’ histories, as departing points for his work. He has re-created historical exhibitions and has even ‘completed’ unfinished artworks, often blurring original and reenactment, past and present, while questioning universal ideas about truth, certainty and time –all core ideas in the development of his body of work. During the early 2000s García Torres stopped dating his works; In so doing, he undermines the narrative of an oeuvre and career as a progressive evolution over time. n.d. (no date) often accompanies, since then, the work’s title, and has become a signature of the artist.
His work has been shown at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Hammer Museum in Los Ángeles, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam among many others. He has participated in international biennials like the Venice Biennale, the Sao Paolo Biennial and the Documenta in Kassel.
BLACK MED SECCO, a solo exhibition by Invernomuto, the name of the artistic personality created in 2003 by Simone Bertuzzi and Simone Trabucchi. Invernomuto’s works are research-based projects that often use cultural references as their starting points and utilise open systems to disseminate their work – outputs that take the form of moving images, sounds, performative actions, and publishing projects.
For their exhibition at Void, Invernomuto created an immersive sonic, physical and visual environment referencing the Mediterranean basin. David Abulafia, the historian refers to the Mediterranean as a sea with many names: an in-between sea or sea ‘between the lands’. He writes about the world having several ‘Mediterraneans’, all of which present us with vast, empty spaces like a sea or a desert that have helped to bring into contact with each other very different cultures. Throughout this exhibition Invernomuto delve into the idea of the sea historically being a crossroad of cultural exchanges and a space of contention that separates us and bring us together. In gallery one, through their research in the textile collection of the Museum Studio Del Tessuto (Fondazione Ratti, Como) they have created a walled work using moiré textiles that allude to the refraction and movement to the sea. This pattern is replicated in the live stream in gallery two of Black Med.
This is an online platform (accessible on blackmed.invernomuto.info) that is an archive of music that is compiled by Invernomuto and a vast array of invited artists and contributors. As part of the live projection stream the music is accompanied by projected slides containing theoretical texts and backstories that enliven the score. This music archive demonstrates the dynamic, multi-cultural sounds and music that emerge from this region and beyond. The intention of the project is to create an open and live system so anyone can upload new sounds into it: the goal is to have a growing archive, a Black Med magma, which constantly evolves.
Black Med is an ongoing project initiated by Invernomuto in 2018. The Mediterranean Sea, once understood as a fluid entity aiding the formation of networks and exchange, is now the scenario of a humanitarian crisis and heated geopolitical dispute. The migration crisis across the world, be it for reasons of economics, war or climate change, is escalating and while one crisis is in the news, the others continue to be exacerbated. Migration has been one of the biggest and most divisive political questions of the twenty-first century, and it seems likely to be a central part of our politics going forward, especially in the Mediterranean area where several continents and migration regimes meet. The notion of the Black Meditererranean captures the long history of racial subjugation and sites of resistance. It tells the complex story of colonial history and a post-colonial world where borders and frontiers represent fortress Europe. This exhibition creates opportunities for the audience to expand their cultural frameworks and explore their ideas of the periphery, the center and the in-between spaces that are often precarious, transitory and transactional.
Invernomuto have participated in the Liverpool Biennial 2021, 58th October Salon-Belgrade Biennial 2021and Pompeii Commitment, Pompei. Solo exhibitions include The Green Parrot, Barcelona (2021); Auto Italia, London (2020); Galleria Nazionale, Rome (2019); NN Contemporary Art, Northampton (2019); Pinksummer, Genoa (2019); Artspeak, Vancouver (2015); Marsèlleria, Milan and the ar/ge kunst, Bolzano (both 2014). Their work has also been exhibited at the 58th Venice Biennale; Tate, London; Manifesta 12, Palermo; Villa Medici, Rome; Alserkal Avenue, Dubai; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; Nuit Blanche 2017; Paris, Museion, Bolzano; Kunstverein München, Munich; Bozar, Brussels; FAR°, Nyon; Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva; Bétonsalon, Paris; Italian Cultural Institute. Addis Ababa; American Academy in Rome, Rome; PAC, Milan; Vleeshal, Middelburg; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; Hangar Bicocca, Milan; Netmage 07/09, Bologna; Premio Furla, Bologna; No Fun Fest 2009, New York; Biennale Architettura 11, Venice.
Sampler, the first solo exhibition by artist Aleana Egan in Northern Ireland. The exhibition will bring together existing works and two newly commissioned pieces, which expand on Egan’s nuanced approach to working with familiar materials that often have residual memories associated with them. The word sampler derives from the Latin exemplum, meaning an ‘example’. In the context of sewing and textiles, it was originally like a personal notebook for keeping stitches and motifs of interest together. Bringing works together under this title, Egan intends to put emphasis on the ephemeral and fragmentary. The exhibition will continue her investigation into creating an ambient space through which to convey emotions by using sparing sculptural gestures. In short, expressing the immaterial through material means.
The exhibition stands for an alternative to ‘confidence culture’ and fixed meaning, and is a subjective response to its context within Derry alluding to the city’s history within the textile industry. It tentatively asks the viewer to consider vulnerability and the inchoate as values from which to view the world.
Egan has been deeply engaged with the work of British artist and psychoanalyst Marion Milner (1900-1998) and it is her attention to a wide-angled focus – the oceanic over a sharp pointed rational focus – that she returns to. Her writings have influenced how Egan assembles the work and the gestural interpretations of the pieces. Memory and dreams are brought into focus and the useful flex of nostalgia is exercised. The ‘primacy of memory as a mode of consciousness’, as Walter Benjamin stated, is a fluid phrase which reminds us of the potential for art to reveal something we do not yet realize we know, that would not yield to words. The new sculptures are enigmatic forms made from fabric, wood, papier-mâche, steel, shadows and dust. Alongside these are paintings made over the last year which incorporate traces of experience from a material world as well as an interior one. The fabricated steel is filigree in register and will be punctuated by intense hand-hewn objects built up from papier-mâche and pigment.
In seeking to describe Egan’s work, there is gap between what you perceive and how it is understood, the works punctuate the gallery space and create interfaces and interactions that tend to avoid definition, returning to the idea of that which can be felt but not named. The interactions with materials are fleeting moments, chance encounters with things that are too slight to be defined but in the context of the exhibition become whole.
Aleana Egan uses a variety of materials to create sculptural gestures and installations which can take the form of slender, fluid works and a more densely concentrated constellation of forms. Often, the sculptures are expressive whilst using a language of materials and artistic technique that is sparing. These materials such as various metals, cardboard, concrete, wood, pigment and fabric are incorporated into a practice which comes from an intuitive as well as an intellectual place and which plays with the materials’ qualities; how they curve, hang or sag. More recently works are made up of constituent parts, each forming a social relationship with the other. Recent solo exhibitions include small field, Künstlerhaus Bremen (2021), New People, Konrad Fischer Galerie, Duesseldorf (2020) Spitze, Farbvision, Berlin (2019); A House andIts Head, Kerlin Gallery (2017); Recent group exhibitions include Feeling of Knowing, The Complex, Dublin from narrow provinces, Cample Line, Dumfrieshire, Scotland (2019); staring forms, TBG&S(2019); Aleana Egan/Pearl Blauvelt, Mary Mary, Glasgow(2018)
Void Gallery is delighted to host The Shrinking Universe by Eva Rothschild, as part of the Ireland at Venice 2019 National Tour. The Shrinking Universe was the national representation of Ireland at the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia 2019, curated by Mary Cremin.
The Shrinking Universe consists of individual works made up of multiple elements. Each sculpture retains its own distinct presence while forming a cohesive totality. 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.
Through her diverse use of materials and sculptural formats, Rothschild constructs a sculptural and immersive environment that allows the public to be both viewer and participant. Rothschild’s exhibition creates a socially sculptural space, allowing for contemplation of the material legacy of both present and past civilisations.
One of the leading sculptors of her generation, Eva Rothschild’s practice demonstrates a great awareness of the modernist tradition while maintaining its own distinctive sculptural language. Her works also engage with objects from the surrounding urban environment that she lives and works in, and the eternal forms of geometry and classicism. Her sense of materials, scale, monumentality, colour and line reflect a refined aesthetic sensibility that redeploys and subverts familiar sculptural formats.
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.
Eva Rothschild Biography
Eva Rothschild was born in Dublin in 1971 and lives and works in London. She has undertaken largescale commissions for Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries (2009) and Public Art Fund, New York (2011). Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2018); The New Art Gallery, Walsall (2016-17); The Hugh Lane, Dublin (2014); Nasher Sculpture Centre, Dallas (2012); Kunstverein Hannover, Hanover (2011); South London Gallery, London (2007); and the Kunstalle Zürich, Zürich (2004). Rothschild’s 2011 solo Hot Touch was the inaugural exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield. In 2014 Rothschild was elected Royal Academician by the Royal Academy, London.
Cevdet Erek is an Istanbul based artist and musician. A background in architecture, sound engineering, and performing in a band forms the basis of his practice. In his working process Erek often responds to architectural context through interventions, using sound to inhabit architectural spaces. His work is provocative, proposing new perspectives. The exhibition at Void, Beating a Retreat, was disrupted by COVID-19 and due to travel restrictions, has been developed at a distance through the lens of conversations, processes of experimentation and virtual tools.
For Beating A Retreat, Erek has composed a new sound piece titled Back with the bodhrán, an instrument associated with traditional Irish music of the 1960’s. The history of the bodhrán is often connected with the ancient Celts and has a musical legacy that predates Christianity. Within the exhibition Erek draws parallels between the bodhrán and instruments widely used across Turkey, Northern Africa and the Middle East, as well as the traditions of disparate cultures.
In Back the sound of the percussion alludes to the exhibition’s title Beating a Retreat, a reference to the military use of drums in signifying the end of battle and a retreat. The piece follows Erek’s previous solo performances and music releases such as Davul, 2017 and Zincirli, 2021 (both on Subtext Recordings) that consist of long duration improvisations done by experimental playing and recording techniques applied on davul, the popular bass drum instrument from Anatolia, Balkans and the wider region. Alongside Back, Erek presents a wall piece utilising parchment similar to the drum’s skin.
In the exhibition, Erek also draws on our perception and experience of time in the series Rulers and Rhythm Studies (2007 – ongoing). A new ruler conceived for this exhibition, Ruler 2019 BC19 to 1 AC19, bases itself on an imaginary COVID-19 calendar that takes 2020, the year that the pandemic was declared by WHO, as its year zero. The exhibition serves as a punctuation and meditates on where we are at present as we slow down and move through this tumultuous period.
Beating a Retreat starts and ends with the sound work Welcome and Goodbye – a piece that builds on Erek’s previous large scale installation works such as ÇIN (Turkish Pavilion, Venice Biennale, 2017). Welcome and Goodbye utilises signals which interfere differently, corresponding to whether you are entering or leaving the exhibition.
Cevdet Erek, born 1974, lives and works in Istanbul. He studied architecture at Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts in Istanbul and sound engineering and design at the Center for Advanced Studies in Music (MIAM) at Istanbul Technical University, ITU. During his studies he worked in several architectural offices, produced and performed with the Istanbul based band Nekropsi.From 2005 to 2006 he was an artist-in-residence at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. In 2011, Erek received his doctorate in Music from the ITU MIAM. In 2012, he received the Nam June Paik – International Media Award from Kunststiftung NRW. He currently teaches at ITU TMDK and ITU MIAM. Erek has presented his installations internationally in numerous solo and group shows. In 2017 he represented Turkey at the 57th Venice Biennale with his work ÇIN. In 2012, at dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, he showed the installation Room of Rhythms, a work that he later realized in site-specific versions in altered form at MAXXI, Rome, 2014, the Istanbul Biennial, 2015 and the Biennale of Sydney, 2016. Erek has had solo exhibitions at venues including the Art Institute of Chicago, chiçiçiçichiciç, 2019; M HKA, Antwerp, AAAAA, 2018; MUAC, Mexico City, A Long Distance Relation, 2017; Spike Island, Bristol, Alt Üst, 2014; and Kunsthalle Basel, 2012.
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.
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.
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.
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’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.
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.
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.
Co-curated by Mary Cremin and Peter Richards, featuring artists: Bassam Al Sabah; Liliane Puthod; Michael Hanna; and Stuart Calvin
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’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’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 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).