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)