Page 1

paper visual art journal: cork


paper visual art journal: cork



paper visual art journal email: website:

Cork Edition Two | 04.13 Editor: Niamh Dunphy Co-Editor: Adrian Duncan Design: an Atelier Project. Printed in Dublin by Impress Printing Works ISBN 978-0-9573350-1-1 Copyright © Paper Visual Art Journal and individual contributors, 2013. All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmissions, in whole or in part, may be made without written permission. Paper Visual Art Journal is an online website that publishes art writing, essays, and reviews. This hard copy edition is the second of a three-part, city-specific project. The editions will focus on Limerick, Cork, and Dublin. Paper Visual Art Journal is a Dublin-based art journal that began in November 2009. Paper wishes to thank all of our contributing writers over the last three years for their ongoing support and generosity. We would particularly like to thank all of the writers to this edition. Thank you also to Greg Baxter, Miranda Driscoll, Feargal Ward, David, Sarah, & Oran at Atelier, the Heinrich Böll Cottage Residency on Achill Island, John McHugh, The Guesthouse, Mick O’Shea & Irene Murphy, The National Sculpture Factory, MA Art & Process 2013 graduates, Colin Crotty, Ed Krčma, Marta Fernández Calvo, Eleanor Duffin, Barbara Knezevic, and Gypsy. A big thank you to the lovely Stephen McGlynn whose invitation got this hard copy project going in the first place. This project was made possible with the kind support of the Arts Council.



















paper visual art journal: cork




In October last year, we spent a three-week residency at the Guesthouse in Cork city to compile this edition of Paper Visual Art Journal, our second in the three-part, city-specific project (Limerick, Cork, Dublin). During this time, we were able to engage with and meet a number of artists and writers based there, and to find out about the exciting visual art and music scene. This initial period of interaction helped inform what this publication would become — i.e. the form and content of the publication emerged from the city, or at least our interaction with it, and particularly with those who live there and work in the visual arts. This publication is a snap-shot of what is being done and who is doing it. Many thanks to Stephen McGlynn, Mick and Irene from the Guesthouse, The National Sculpture Factory, The Glucksman Gallery (UCC), the writers and contributors to this edition, and to the Heinrich Böll Residency (Co. Mayo). Thank you also to Marta Fernández Calvo and Eleanor Duffin who came to the Guesthouse during our residency to make and exhibit some new work and to try something new in the space. Niamh Dunphy, Editor _April 2013







previous page Gypsy (2012) River Lee, UCC Campus Photo: Niamh Dunphy

When Dennis Potter gave this interview to Melvin Bragg he casually sipped morphine directly from a bottle to mitigate the pain of the cancer that was killing him. The closeness to death had gifted Potter a great privilege; that of being able to attend to the aesthetic richness of living with the relish of a glutton and the meticulousness of an obessesive. The fullness of everything in the world, he seemed to be saying, was too much to be contained by words alone. The experience of living life in the present tense causes language to become stuffed to bursting point. It begins to split at the seams and irruptions like “blossomest” — a word that shouldn’t exist — spill out. A few years ago I found myself in Beijing enjoying the hospitality of philosophy students at the university there. They invited us to a lavish lunch on campus and, inspired by a mixture of generosity and



institutionally sanctioned greed, ordered plates and plates of food until there was no room left on the table. Some of the foods were familiar; others less so such as a fungus broth served in a log (as I remember it.) Our hosts took great delight in explaining what was in each dish and how we should eat it. But amidst the flavours and textures both familiar and strange, there was a taste I couldn’t place: “What’s the ingredient in this?” I asked. I struggled to be more specific. In the end the best I could come up with was a face in which I pulled my lips back over my teeth: “The one that makes my mouth go sccchhh and tchkk,” I said. Our hosts thought this hilarious. “How can you not have words for these tastes?” someone asked, puzzled that something so ordinary could fail to be named. I’ve since worked out that the flavour comes from Sichuan pepper, a common and popular ingredient in China. It provokes a particular and peculiar sensation in the mouth. It’s called málà in Chinese which roughly translates as numbing and spicy. Quite obviously the world that I taste with my whole body is not one that can be limited to linguistic approximations of it; language is not the limits of my world. The world is richer than the words I find in it. The numbing spiciness of blossoms will always exceed their descriptions. All of which suggests to expect descriptive precision from language in the face of the world is unreasonable and perhaps futile. Implications for criticism emerge from this; namely, if we can’t describe the world in general then we’d have no hope in critiquing those little bits of it set aside in the name of art. However, we needn’t accept this. Instead, experience is intertwined with the world through our participation in the language that things speak, both to one another and to us. Merleau-Ponty emphasises that “speech about the world” is the language of the world, rather than a symbolic linguistic system which represents it in specifically human expressions. He sees this task of speaking the world as the primary aim of philosophy. The role of philosophers, then, is to search for the origin of meaning. They should seek out what he calls the “wild-being” of the world as it is before humans experience it. What this means is that if language is to reflect back upon the world, then its only hope of doing so is through the aesthetic gestures of poetics. In these terms the whole world (including my descriptions of it) becomes an aesthetic object, one that reveals further dimensions and hidden trapdoors with each aesthetic reflection: “The whole landscape is overrun with words as with an invasion, it is henceforth but a variant of speech before our eyes, and to speak of its 'style' is in our view to form a metaphor. In a



sense the whole of philosophy … consists in restoring a power to signify, a birth of meaning, or a wild meaning, an expression of experience by experience, which in particular clarifies the special domain of language … Language is everything, since it is the voice of no one, since it is the very voice of the things, the waves and the forests. And what we have to understand is that there is no dialectical reversal from one to the other; we do not have to reassemble them into synthesis: they are two aspects of the reversibility which is the ultimate truth.”[1] There are two ways of reading what Merleau-Ponty claims here. The first is a strongly anthropocentric one in which reality, as it is known, becomes thoroughly enmeshed in systems of human meanings and language. This means accepting that the world would never be knowable or speakable in itself. A second and more interesting reading, however, proposes that the world has a language all of its own which we might vetriloquize in our acts of writing and speaking. Poetry in all its forms — be they visual, verbal, aural, tactile, or gustatory — is our clumsy, human attempt to see in the present tense and talk about the narcotic thrill the world offers. Art works best when it attempts to participate in the prose of the world. It begins at the point where language as it is ordinarily used falters and begins to break down. All of which does not point to the failure of criticism (or writing about art) but the place at which it must begin. Writing must continue to push back against its inadequacies and test its limits. We must continue with these failures, not to bear witness to their shortcomings, but to allow our aesthetic experiences to escape them time and time again. Because, even if we’d rather not accept the challenge, the world will continue to taunt us to find words to describe it, even if they don’t exist. Yet, our starting point here was not a failure of criticism, but a man facing death and experiencing blossom again as if for the first time. I don’t want this to lead back to the glib conclusion that art might do the same for us all; that it has an ameliorative or palliative capacity to offer paltry compensation for a life we will all lose. But rather art can give us back our life by making it all the more obvious to us, in the present tense. Even if our attempts to ventriloquize it leave us tongue-tied.


Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the Invisible, trans. Lingis, (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1968) pg. 155



Tacita Dean Still Life (2009) 16mm B & W film, 5.30 mins, silent Image courtesy of the artist; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York  /  Paris; Frith Street Gallery, London




MOTION CAPTURE ED KRCMA AND ADRIAN DUNCAN Lewis Glucksman Gallery, University College Cork (UCC) 26th July – 4th November, 2012 Curated by Ed Krčma & Matt Packer

Q. Ed, thank you for agreeing to take part in this Q & A. I will begin with a straightforward question: you are not necessarily known for curating exhibitions, so why now, and why this show? A. Many thanks for asking me Adrian. Yes, I’d never curated any shows before this one, although I’d often been interested in what designing exhibitions might involve. Making connections on paper is certainly different (although not unrelated) to making them on the gallery walls.

Motion Capture initially developed out of research I’d been doing over

the last few years concerning the relationship between drawing, the moving image, and debates regarding analogue and digital media. It’s common for the Lewis Glucksman Gallery to work with members of academic departments within UCC, and Matt Packer and I had been talking for a while about a potential project on which to collaborate. While the initial impetus for the show came from my research, Matt’s input was vital in shaping both its structure and its content. Beyond this local situation, however, it’s important to acknowledge that there has for some time been considerable momentum gathering behind discourse on drawing, with several compelling exhibitions and texts appearing in recent years. Our agenda for Motion Capture has certainly been sharpened and specified in light of these contributions, which offer another kind of context for the show. Q. Drawing and the moving image, both digital and analogue, feature in a number of different works in this show. Perhaps you would like to say something on these relationships and how certain artists’ works in this show attend to these relationships. Perhaps Susan Morris’s ‘photographs’ and Tacita Dean’s projected film, as documents of traces, might be a good place to start? A. Yes, this issue was an important preoccupation for us. Tacita Dean is well known for her commitment to analogue film (especially 16mm), which she describes as having its roots in drawing. The logic there is that when we think about the



 ‘photo-graph’ or the ‘cinemato-graph’, we are dealing with technologies that have an idea of drawing or writing present in their very name (the Greek word graphemeaning both things). Analogue photography and film share with drawing an ‘indexical’ operation: at a basic level they are both types of sign that refer to their objects not by resemblance or convention, but by existential connection (in this case, as imprints). Whatever a photograph or a drawn mark might resemble, fundamentally they are produced by the inscription of light or pressure upon a surface. (That is, while photography has come to stand for our idea of what ‘realistic’ images look like, the camera isn’t thinking about how to make a likeness, rather it is merely allowing light to inscribe itself onto a photosensitive surface.) This indexical quality lends the drawn mark and the analogue photograph a more direct connection with their referent (the photographed subject and the artist’s hand, respectively), than digital images, which are composed of vast sequences of 0/1 combinations. Sampling, for example, involves the breaking down of a continuous signal into discrete numerical values; that numerical data can then be used to produce various kinds of outputs: a text file, an image file, a sound file, etc. So here there is this mediating level of numerical code, which means that a direct (you might even say tactile) relationship between sign and referent is lost, or at least complicated.

Tacita Dean’s 16mm film Still Life was shot in the small studio of the

Italian painter Giorgio Morandi. Dean filmed the lining paper which Morandi kept on the surface on which he would place the objects that he would paint. In order to remember where the objects were to be placed, he drew on this sheet with a combination of traced circular outlines and rather cryptic signs and glyphs. So this is a kind of ‘found drawing’, sections of which were then filmed in a sequence of static shots. Dean shows her film with the projector stationed in the gallery space, so the viewer is very aware of its presence and can watch the line of film running through the mechanism. And just as Morandi’s lining paper was marked and soiled over time, so the 16mm film is inscribed by all kinds of contingent flecks, spots and lines, making the connection between paper and film as inscriptive surfaces very clear. And just as Morandi’s drawings refer directly to his hand (and, by extension, to his way of thinking), so Dean’s film refers directly to those resonant markings. Essentially, this becomes about the trace: the traces of people and things that are not just apprehended by us as any marks whatever, but as the residues of a singular and transient life.

In Susan Morris’s case the analogue / digital question becomes very

complex, and would probably need a longer discussion to unpack it in any satisfying way. Although she uses digital technology, Morris is herself very interested in the operation of the index: it is really central to her whole practice (across various media). Her work centres on giving visibility to the body outside of any intentional control: the truant and contingent life of the body beyond the ego,



top Susan Morris ERSD: Facing View (2012) Inkjet on Hahnemule paper, 150 × 250cm.

bottom Susan Morris ERSD: View from side (2012) Inkjet on Hahnemule paper, 150 × 250cm.


All images courtesy of the artist and FRAC Alsace


beyond the Symbolic. This might require a bit of a digression… Morris’s most important reference point is the work of psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, who —  and I am necessarily simplifying here — thought about human subjectivity as composed of three registers: the Real, the Imaginary, and the Symbolic. To become properly socialised subjects, we need to take on a coherent image of ourselves and, later, we need to take on the language, laws, injunctions and conventions of whichever symbolic systems are operative in regulating our particular form of social life. Our assimilation to the Symbolic involves us disavowing certain unacceptable aspects of our desires and pleasures. The excised aspects of our bodily life form part of the Real. The Real, for Lacan, is defined negatively, in terms of what cannot be assimilated into Symbolic or Imaginary. Morris is interested in trying to give visibility to the Real — to her body’s functioning beyond the controls of the ego, the ‘I’, and beyond any identification with a mimetic image.

The works in the exhibition are a series of ‘Motion Capture Drawings’,

which are made from digital data gathered in a high-tech motion capture studio. While performing a pre-determined repetitive activity she wore reflectors on various parts of her body. The data gathered — which corresponds to the inadvertant or involuntary movements of her body — was converted, by way of algorithms, into lines. These are made visible by printing a matt black ground; the very fine white lines are actually those bits where no ink has been printed. So Morris is using digital technology to record the movements that she was not conscious of making; they do not resemble the body in any way, nor are they conventional signs for the body.

And for Morris she had to use digital as no other technology could capture

this kind of movement. But not only that: for her the body is a fleeting, intangible, properly non-symbolisable thing, a kind of ‘zero’ in the world of symbolic meanings. So, oddly, Morris uses the digital to maintain a relationship with the index (the lines are not ‘made up’), but she does not rely on the operation of the imprint (for the philosopher C.S. Peirce, to whom we owe the idea of indexicality, the imprint is not the only way in which indexical signs work). Morris has written quite extensively on this – readers might be pointed to her recent essay, ‘Drawing in the Dark’ (Tate Papers 18, October 2012, online).

So the relationship between analogue and digital is a complex one in

general, and in this show in particular. One important thing to say though is that it might be less useful to see film and digital video (or ‘hand-made’ and digital drawing) in competition — to think about which is better and which is worse —  but rather to see them as just different technologies with different structures, capacities and limitations. Unfortunately, economics playing the determining role that it does, the digital, which is so much easier, cheaper and quicker to use, has meant that 16mm film is all but obsolescent now, despite the efforts of Dean and others to save it. 16


Q. Pierre Bismuth’s work in this show might offer a suitable avenue for you to bring us from these ideas of recorded act and movement to some of the many registers by which ‘the cinematic’ was approached in this show, let’s say for now with Brian Fay’s work and Henri Matisse’s series of drawings. A. Yes, the images of the cinema, and not just the formal or structural operations of the medium of film, also play an important role in the exhibition. While the emphasis is perhaps more frequently upon an exploration of the material conditions of film as a medium — as in Brian Fay’s total evacuation of the images of Buster Keaton’s film so as to draw attention to the unregarded flecks, spots, and other signs of decay on the film stock — the question of how cinema both elicits and structures desire is also alive in the work of Matisse and Bismuth here. Indeed, in the exhibition we hung Bismuth’s Following the Right Hand of Sophia Loren next to his new film, Following the Left Hand of Jacques Lacan, and opposite a vitrine containing two sequences from Matisse’s Themes and Variations drawings from the early 1940s. It was intended that these juxtapositions would emphasise specific aspects of each work. Matisse’s phantasmatic drawings of his model seem filtered through the stock poses and feminine icons of the cinema, all the while with the striking images of Sophia Loren and Greta Garbo commanding the surrounding space. Bismuth’s ‘automatic’ drawing strategy, in which his will is given over to following the movements of the actress, also brings out the involuntary dimension of the movements of Matisse’s own hand (movements which were in fact discussed by Lacan when he was formulating his influential conception of the gaze, itself very important for film theory). The juxtaposition of Matisse and Bismuth also raises the more critical question of gender politics in these works: Matisse’s depictions of a languorous, seductive femininity have been the subject of many substantial critiques from feminist scholars. And the question of the relationship between the male artist’s hand and the image of the female body will arise again here in relation to Bismuth’s series. The show would pose rather than answer these questions. In that respect it is interesting, I think, to compare Bismuth’s work with that of Susan Morris, who also produces an involuntary mark, related directly to her body, but minus any iconic image; and with Alice Maher’s video drawings, which mine the cultural repositories of images of femininity (amongst other things) in a fluid and indeterminate way. Q. I think there is something very interesting in the range of ways in which the still, analytical image is treated in this show: one of which being the framing or ‘stilling’ of a moment of fluid movement (which itself gives little sense of the movement that gave this ‘moment’) — another being the ordering of a series of stilled moments together, then mechanised and moved to offer out a sense of fluid movement to a viewer. Maybe we could linger on the latter for a moment, and you might say something about William Kentridge’s and Duncan Campbell’s narrative works, narrative in the sense of relaying their making,



top Duncan Campbell Sigmar (2008) Super 16mm film, 10.00 mins, sound Installation view Lewis Glucksman Gallery © Lewis Glucksman Gallery

bottom Tom Hackney Projection # 6 (Duchamp vs. Colle, Brussels, 1923) (2012) 51 × 51 cm Indian ink on graph paper Courtesy the artist and Lewis Glucksman Gallery



but also representing a story-line with causation and drama.

Also, these two projected works were placed on the mezzanine of

the building — between the first and second floors — and perhaps also at some conceptual in-between point of the show generally? A. Well, certainly the relationship of movement to arrest is in some ways highlighted in both of the projected works by Campbell and Kentridge. I would say, however, that the decision to have them together in the mezzanine was more pragmatism and the fit between work and space than an argument for their particular centrality to the show as compared with other works. The Kentridge spec really demanded that we use the large Sisk Gallery, and Duncan Campbell’s Sigmar just worked perfectly in that small, rather claustrophobic space adjacent to it. I would also be a little wary of reading into either film too determinate a narrative. Kentridge’s Other Faces certainly suggests a narrative fairly explicitly, but there is plenty in there to disrupt any stable sense of the unfolding of causally related events. Rather, such a narrative structure is interpenetrated by all kinds of diagrammatic, self-reflexive and associative images and sequences. In that way it puts me in mind of some of the old Soviet avant-garde films like Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera, with which Kentridge is intimately familiar, and which frequently disrupts the unfolding of a scene with elements which insist upon a recognition of the material conditions of film (and their bewildering, magical effects).

Certainly both artists are interested in very different kinds of mark-

making, recorded in very different ways too: Campbell by way of stop-motion animation plus a belligerent (and faintly ludicrous) voiceover, to which the movements of the line seems to respond; and Kentridge by way of his celebrated method of the repeated inscription, erasure, photographing, redrawing, rephotographing (etc.) of a small number of individual sheets of paper. Campbell, it seems to me, allows the by-turns wayward, faltering and errant progress of the line to say something about Sigmar Polke’s way of operating, and Kentridge’s method provides a technological support which resonates powerfully with his thematic concerns: while he explores themes of history and memory (personal and collective), the persistence of his erased marks in the ‘present’ of each shot literally makes visible the history of the production process undergone. But perhaps there was something specific here regarding the relationship between movement and stasis that you wanted me to respond to more precisely? Q. I think you have touched upon it there for sure, even just in the description of Kentridge’s method of animation, in his repeated movements, over and back in his studio between drawing and camera, it exemplifies the unknowable (to us anyway!) between the making of the stills in his film. Maybe by staying with these ideas of method, movement, and the still you might like to say something about Tom Hackney’s beautiful ‘chess board’ drawings on the second floor of the building?



A. Yes, the relationship between movement, stillness, and process is key to what Tom Hackney is doing, although at some distance from the way these concerns play out in Kentridge’s practice. This requires a bit of setting up, as the historical stakes are quite important to the logic of Hackney’s practice. The four ink on paper drawings that he made for this show are all transcriptions of found (or ‘readymade’) data from chess matches, and specifically chess matches played by Marcel Duchamp. In 1923, Duchamp famously declared that he would give up art for chess. Of course he didn’t quite do this, but he was a very skilful chess player, and he found something in the intensity and cerebral elegance of chess that he considered to be a kind of model of what art making might be about. Chess is also both a game played out on a flat surface (indeed, a grid) — linking it to the history of abstract painting — but also one fought out off the board, many moves ahead in the minds of the players. The real action is that which is not directly visible.

Hackney translated the moves of Duchamp’s games into a three-

dimensional projection that lies on an 8 × 8 grid. The points of the four corners of any square are ‘raised’ incrementally according to a 60 degree projection, each time that square was moved over in the game. In the final drawings, varying shades of black ink are applied using an airbrush to build a three-dimensional tectonic surface. Just as Hackney’s method constitutes a very spare way to concretise information in visual form, the chess data itself stands, by way of its clarity and simplicity, as a kind of sheer index of thought. Here, Hackney emphatically re-aligns abstract picture making with ‘the grey matter’ (Duchamp’s famous phrase), while also finding a way to keep abstract picture-making going. The ink settles on the surface without the influence of the hand; like dust, it falls in accordance with the weightlessness of the thought it translates. So this is quite different from the emphasis on manual processes in Kentridge’s work. Rather, Hackney seems to have internalised LeWitt’s proposition that the execution of a work of art can be a ‘perfunctory affair’ when the idea becomes the engine that drives production. Nevertheless, the final drawings have an evanescent, nuanced and, as you say, rather beautiful visual character. Q. Alongside, or at least near Hackney’s work we are led between another two works by Susan Morris, and on to two ‘video’ works by Ailbhe Ní Bhríain. Maybe you might like to say something about the placement of these works, and their physical proximity to each other in the show. A. Yes, some of the logic of putting Ní Bhríain’s videos next to Morris’s was visual: Matt and I really liked the way in which the horizontal bleed of Ní Bhríain’s Vanishing Point rhymed with the ‘strata’ of marks in Morris’s piece to the right. This brought out the suggestion of landscape (clouds, rain, light on the sea?) in the latter, as well as making explicit the involuntary dimension of Ailbhe’s strategy. Vanishing Point was made by immersing a landscape photograph in a bath of bleach and filming the slow dissociation of the pigments from the surface. This footage



was then edited in reverse and run as a loop so that the image of the landscape disappeared and re-emerged slowly and seamlessly. In many ways the concerns here are very different from those of Morris, but they connect in the way that their materials are subjected to a pre-given process and the results are allowed to run their course without the guidance of artistic intention. (It might seem odd to talk about Morris’s working body as a ‘material’, but not inappropriate here I think.)

Ní Bhríain’s second video, Residuum, shown around the corner, also

connects with this. At night, footage was taken of a building under construction, wrapped in white sheeting that wavers and buckles in the breeze. This footage was then back projected onto a surface and re-recorded through a tank of water, into which ink was then injected. The ink, suspended in the water, gathers and unfurls in front of the video image. These complex movements could not have been willed, and they set up an evocative tension with the incomplete architecture: like the dreams that continue to animate our rational structures.

The connecting term here, though, is Henri Michaux’s Mouvements, which

is a book he produced in 1951, which reproduces (life-size) a selection from a series of hundreds of glyphic, language-like ink drawings he produced over the preceding months. Here, the flexible liquidity of the ink and the supple manual gesture (is it voluntary or involuntary?) produce marks that both evoke the structure of language (they are arrayed on a grid and have a calligraphic quality), while also playing truant from such systems. Michaux was a powerful influence on Ní Bhríain, and his work (shown in a vitrine close by), and his exploration of drawing as the registration of ‘the consciousness of existing and the flow of time’, makes good sense next to Morris’s work. Both artists seek to make marks and lines that could register the body’s rhythms and intensities directly, without the mediations of language or mimesis. Q. There seem to be a number of different levels upon which ‘the unconscious’ is attended to in this show. Some works explore ‘the unconscious’ in specific and very different ways as you have explained via Bismuth, Matisse, Michaux, Dean, etc. Also, particularly in relation to your last response, there are certain unconscious connections — which become apparent in the larger physical navigation of the show itself — allowed for by you and Matt. Were there discussions of authorship between you in relation to the arrangement of these potential connections? And how comfortable were you (as let’s say a ‘noncurator’) with this? A. Would you be referring here to the way in which certain aspects of the works are revealed, in many ways unexpectedly, by their sharing a space? It was certainly part of our pleasure and excitement in putting the show together that these kinds of unforeseen connections arose, and I think it made us feel more strongly that the premise of the show was a coherent one. I think that once a certain centre (or perhaps centres) of gravity establish themselves — conceptually, aesthetically,



top Ailbhe Ní Bhriain Vanishing Point (2004) SD video, 6.00 mins, colour, silent Courtesy of the artist and Domobaal Gallery

bottom Alice Maher Flora (detail) (2009) Video animation with sound by Trevor Knight, Duration: 5.51 min Installation view, Lewis Glucksman Gallery Lewis Glucksman Gallery © Lewis Glucksman Gallery



formally, and in terms of process — then aspects of each work get drawn into that field and become newly prominent and available. There were many instances of this when we were organising the hang. This might echo something like what Kentridge has called ‘fortuna’: a principle of contingency whereby satisfying solutions to artistic problems come about in the thick of the process of making (for him, when he is shuttling back and forth between drawing and film camera). This is neither pure chance nor pre-meditated calculation, but something between the two. I’m not sure if I answered the question you asked though …?

Q. No, that’s exactly what I’m talking about, and the Kentridge reference is most helpful in this context too. Where Kentridge works with large-scale drawings to make the images for his animations, Alice Maher’s animated piece Flora in this show — while it also shows its traces (or clouds) of erasure from frame to frame — the drawings are smaller, but also the technical support is different; Kentridge uses a camera and Maher uses a scanner. This movement between drawing and technical support opens up spaces of opportunity or (as you mentioned in the exhibition notes) a space of ‘predictive calculation’ to the artist.

Also, during a recent lecture you gave at IMMA, you mentioned the

importance of forms and space in Maher’s Flora too. Perhaps you would like to say something of these things here? And perhaps how the emergence of these forms can then be thought about in terms of Dennis Oppenheim’s video work Two Stage Transfer Drawing where the interdependence of form emerging and time elapsing, among other things, is particularly evident. A. There are a few things here I think Adrian. Yes, in that recent lecture on Maher’s video drawings at IMMA I was interested in part in exploring of the kind of space in which the metamorphoses of her forms operate. I used Hubert Damisch’s concept of / Cloud /, which is that element within the system of painting (his focus is upon the system of linear perspective), which resists assimilation to the laws of that system. The argument is perhaps a little too involved to go into detail with here, but Damisch describes how this indeterminate element (clouds, for example, are constantly moving, they have no linear boundary, nor even their own colour) becomes a space within pictures from which can issue phenomena which are not assimilable into the rational, measurable, homogeneous space of linear perspective. So this would include divine visions (as in, for example, El Greco) or the force of erotic feeling (think of Correggio’s Jupiter and Io). For me, Alice Maher’s video drawings explore this realm of imaginative transformation and the power of affective life, and the space of her page operates as something of a flexible arena in which the forms issuing from these dimensions can play and transform themselves, while at the same time drawing from the repositories of imagery from vernacular and high culture. This is a ‘blurred’ world in which forms themselves (and not just images or representations) can dictate the ways in which



top Pierre Bismuth Following the right hand of Greta Garbo in “Flesh and the Devil” (2008) Permanent marker on anti-UV plexiglass and lambda print on forex, 114 × 153cm Courtesy of Budaga & Cargnel, Paris

bottom Henri Michaux Mouvements: Soixantequarte Dessins Un Poeme Une Postface (1951) Installation view, Lewis Glucksman Gallery © Lewis Glucksman Gallery Published by Gallimard, Paris



metamorphosis occurs (there are sometimes similar operations going on in Kentridge’s work also). I should also say that when Flora was first exhibited it was shown opposite another video drawing, which was run simultaneously. This means that, while being very much aware of each, it was impossible for the viewer to see both works at once. This, along with the accompanying soundtrack (made with Trevor Knight), meant that Maher was aiming at an immersive experience which could never be grasped in its entirety in any one viewing (but perhaps forms a coherent impression in the viewer’s imagination subsequently).

Oppenheim’s films operate rather differently for me, but their scenario

also points towards strong affective relations. The artist and his son take turns to draw on each other’s backs. The one whose skin operates as an inscriptive surface at the same time tries (blindly) to transcribe the sensations of touch back into drawn marks on the wall in front of him. Here then we have motion captured by way of the tactile and not the visual. Also at stake here is a kind of inter-generational temporality. As the artist draws on his son’s back, and the son then passes on his marks to another surface, the viewer might feel analogies with the passing on of traits and behaviours between generations; this then becomes a rather intimate scene, despite the neutral aesthetic and formal rhetoric of the piece (the context of which is the development of Process and Conceptual Art in America in the early 1970s). So the dynamics of emotional life are dramatised by both works, albeit rather differently. Q. I was hoping to finish our Q & A by returning to Henri Michaux’s Mouvements, the book of glyphs that are ‘not to be complete, but true to one’s passing’ (Michaux). That they are in book form also dictates how one might navigate through them, putting each glyph in context with the previous and / or next that appears on the turning of the page. Is this movement (turning a page) or the idea of this movement — which is as much a part of the work as the glyphs themselves — very important here, and if so, why?

So too the placement of Michaux’s work near to Hackney’s and Morris’s

seems important, maybe you could say why. And then, perhaps, to finish, it might be helpful if you could say something about the claim that Michaux’s drawing practice can be described in cinematic terms. A. It’s a very interesting issue that you pick up on here with regards Mouvements, and one that we could perhaps have developed more fully in the exhibition: the sequencing and rhythm of the turning of the pages of the book. In fact the drawings that were included in the book were a selection from a much greater number of sheets that Michaux had produced over the preceding year (about 1,200 in total). It was actually Michaux’s editor, René Bertelé, who guided the selection, and by so doing he lent something of a narrative to their unfolding: each of the four sequences of the book were arranged so as to suggest a movement from a more tightly ordered, gridded format to sheets in which the glyphic signs become



more freely disposed on the page. In that sense — and this only occurs to me now in fact — the placement of Michaux’s book between the very precisely ordered grids of Hackney’s chess drawings and the more truant lines of Morris’s Motion Capture Drawings makes some sense with regards to that shifting relationship to pictorial structure (although this will not have been evident to a viewer who would see the books only within the vitrine). I do think though that the book format makes clear that Michaux’s drawings were made on a horizontal axis, something that would conventionally distinguish drawing more broadly from painting. Perhaps that orientation aligns drawing more with writing (and even thinking) than with an address to the vertical optical field.

In terms of the cinematic dimension of Michaux’s drawings, this was

something that was made quite explicit in the artist’s own writings. Michaux wrote of an attempt to ‘drawing the flow of time, as one takes one’s pulse’. But of course these strange, gestural, language-like marks are not all flow and unbroken continuity. The supple, liquid ink dries and, like film, they combine movement with stasis: each ‘character’ is discrete, but they are then sequenced together on the page, staging movement both within each character, as well as between them. By way of his drawings Michaux hoped that he might capture something of his body’s singular duration: its exuberance and shifting intensity, in a way that he felt could not be achieved in the same way using the units of formalised French. After all, the words that we use to communicate have nothing specifically to do with us as singular embodied beings (Wittgenstein said that there is no such thing as a private language). So Michaux’s work raises several questions that are important to much of the work in the show: the relationship of still images to the singular, complex movements that gave rise to them; and the attempt to at once escape from symbolic systems and to make such less codified graphic marks over into something that might operate like a language, which could communicate in its own way.





top L & R Exterior and interior tower at disused Irish Fertiliser Industries Facility, Marino Point, Cork Images courtesy of Alan Boardman

The urea and ammonia that was once produced here for the purposes of regenerating and enhancing the earth, has become a forgotten thought, having long since seeped into the dry dust. The birth and death of this forgotten hinterland is embedded in a history that both withered and grew with a relentless current of progress. This current grew stronger with the industrialisation of the chemical world and the invention of synthetic substitution extracted from fossil fuels. From rose madder to synthetic dye, from guano[1] to the white crystalline solids of ammonium nitrate. As in the connected history of the human chemical blueprint of DNA — a small set of letters are momentous: BASF. Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch, two German chemists, achieved their goal of synthesising and mass-producing ammonia in the BASF plant at Oppau by 1911. A massive explosion would kill 600 people in Oppau in 1921. This disaster would



also contribute to a further understanding of the explosive qualities of ammonia nitrate and sulfate. The Haber-Bosch process would allow the mass production of synthetic fertiliser to begin, but also to contribute to the production of explosive and chemical weapons in WWI, where Haber himself would be in the frontline to oversee the first use of chlorine in Ypres in 1915. The growth effect of synthetic fertiliser would not be truly felt until after the carnage of two world wars had relented, and the growth in population caught up in a renewed and unhindered current. Heading east out of the city, the train picks up speed allowing only glimpses of the instant past. A dockyard, container terminal, an oil depot, concrete lots quarter filled with new cars, then mudflats patterned with micro tributaries. We are moving with the tide and with the current. We will deposit what slows us and move with the ‘fall of the stream’. The train moves over the steel and stone as if part of the flow of the river, eager to reach the open sea, to avoid losing itself in the brown sediment. The fractal patterns in the sand and mud inspire an infinite vocabulary.

Pigeon excrement at Marino Point Image courtesy of Alan Boardman

I climb through broken glass, racks of gritty test tubes, outmoded scientific apparatus, desecrated musty floors and walls all swept up in a whirlpool before being laid rest. Upstairs, in a similar whirlpool-sweptroom, a pigeon, once still before my arrival, now sends an uncontrolled



and motorised flutter towards the window. The glass pain is intact and the pigeon tries again to escape, but only bounces into helplessness. Perhaps this pigeon has strayed from its duty to deliver some unknown piece of information or perhaps this information has long since been delivered. Perhaps this derelict site once a fertiliser manufacturing facility is now a monument to an excremental resource and its contribution to the fertilisation of human territory and to the technological progress that it preceded.

Concrete Tree at Marino Point Image courtesy of Alan Boardman

Fractured trees blot out taller, dilapidated industrial buildings gathered anonymously among a network of pipes that flow above the dusty contaminated earth. The grey soil turns to concrete slabs, an interior ground on the outside. It seems only one species of weed can survive here. It has forced its grey root into a stem, to rupture the concrete and expand its territorial monoculture. These concrete weeds seem at ease in this strange hybrid landscape. Mirroring the trees and weeds that frame and penetrate the space, the man-made structures that were constructed to control the environment have now themselves become an uncanny reflection of the patterns that only natural growth can create. Two rectangular concrete towers with steel apparatus jutting out on either side form a symmetry that can only precede a further jutting — a bifurcating branching structure. Perhaps when I return, this



monument will have sprouted new growth and form an indiscernible mirror with the landscape, ‘an armature for history’. The concrete structures share the same systems of meaning with the organic matter that overhauls, evicts, and consumes it. Rusted metal scabs dangle from the concrete shrines like broken branches. They squeak and scrape the air as the winds begin to signal an approaching storm.

Concrete Chamber at Marino Point Image courtesy of Alan Boardman

In this grey industrial landscape of stripped, vacant hangers, cosmic altars of concrete distillation tanks, steel tubes and pipes re-unite with the bifurcating veins of a reclamation process born underground. A vast concrete chamber is like a secret cave under the soil that would have been reached through a deep mine shaft of black concrete. It feels subterranean, it is being drawn down into the earth by patination but this patina is also growing up, out and around what has become an ambiguously permanent concrete fossil.



Chemical material remnant on site Image courtesy of Alan Boardman

This malodorous hybrid material is formed from the remaining ammonia bicarbonate, exposure to the damp coastal air, and the decaying sediment of concrete and rust. These imagined fossils erode up and layer down upon this industrial ruin are urolites, fossils created by piss.[2] They are industrially and synthetically in the making. The initial production of ammonia and urea is continued in this decaying fossilisation. This site is a physical manifestation, both in mind and in the world, that human progress is an ephemeral stream caught in a larger unknowable torrent, a torrent recognisable to us through the decay of the organic world into inorganic ruin. Moving past the towering tanks and forcing my body through the overgrowth, I move out of the sheltered inter-zone towards the shoreline. The heavy wind disrupts my balance and pushes me out over the pier to confront the racing current. More ruined fragments of allegory, more steel frames, more concrete surfaces and piping. Off the pier and out along the shoreline, the pebbles and slippery rocks have replaced the dead soil and concrete. Amongst the washed up debris, a Ballardian ‘tree of life’ is an attendant to plastics of all varieties. Swept up to the high water mark by the ever-flowing torrent.



Tree of Life at the high water mark, Cork Harbour Image courtesy of Alan Boardman


Guano, a natural mineral resource, is made up of bird droppings and is historically most abundant in the Chichan Islands off the coast of Peru. The bird droppings deposited over thousands of years, layering up to 400 feet deep, became a prime resource for a short, but important period from the 1850s up until Haber and Bosch made their breakthrough. On the islands, archeologists have found headless female mummies whose breasts and thighs were covered with platelets of gold. The bird species responsible for creating such large quantities of guano was the cormorant. The cormorant has become a symbol of a voracious greed. In Milton’s Paradise Lost, the devil appears as a cormorant, observing Adam and Eve from a perch on top of the Tree of Life.


Urolites are a type of trace fossil, created by liquid waste expulsion and thought to have been created by dinosaurs.Trace fossils are geological evidence of biological activity.




STAG & DEER Pádraig Spillane & Pamela Condell

Stag & Deer is an exhibition-making partnership that engages with photographic-based works. We came in to being in 2010 and are an independent, non-profit organisation based in Cork. We use slack and temporary sites for exhibitions. Our role is to explore issues surrounding contemporary photographic and installation practice. Our aims are: 1) to create visibility for emerging lens-based artists; 2) to support new work and to encourage risk taking from such artists; 3) to open up critical dialogue in both lens-based and installation practices; 4) to explore unoccupied and unexpected spaces for art presentation. Our endeavour is to provide fresh and unconventional exhibition situations for artists and audiences through installation and intervention. Our purpose is to examine what it means to be exhibition-makers, questioning what draws audiences to contemporary work, and the formation of contexts for work to be experienced. Our first exhibition was held on a cleared storeroom floor in a clothes shop in November 2010. It was a mixed media event that included photography, painting, and drawing. From this we have concentrated on photography to generate a distinctive identity and to follow our exhibitionmaking concerns. As we are both practicing lens-based artists, our awareness and understanding is in the photographic field: our exhibition-making practice is informed by our individual art practices. There are a lot of vacant retail venues, unoccupied sites, and other unexpected places available to work with. The context, architectural aesthetic, and the accompanying narrative of a slack space are vital to how 33




opposite page top Roseanne Lynch Show (2012) Installation view, curated by Stag & Deer Image courtesy of Stag & Deer. Photo: Stag & Deer.

opposite page bottom Viviane Sassen Belladonna (2010) C-print, 100 × 125cm and J.F., (2010) C-print 80 × 100cm, from Parasomnia. Installation view at the Sculpture Gallery, Crawford Gallery, Cork. Curated by Stag & Deer

we gather, plan, organise, and present work. We look for details in site beyond just housing work within it; we look beyond the four walls and the ceiling. Each site brings its own record and form of expression. Each space we take on is appraised in terms of how it will exert particular forces in conjunction with selected art works. What we do is transformative, combining the particularities of a space with a selected work, allowing new awareness of both. Our use of unusual permutations between site and work offers a definite, but not definitive exhibition — these activities and permutations allow for the unfolding of new potentials for site and art works. In relation to photographic works, our core concern is: what does lens-based artwork need / stand for in this present time of image proliferation? What do we expect from photography? To a certain extent our use of slack space for photographic presentation is comparable to, and yet disruptive of, the existing omnipresence of photographic images. This omnipresence has created an aura of predictability around photographic works where potentials are reduced by meeting expectations. We know the phrase “that’s a nice photo” and increasingly in the photographic realm expectations are met by remaining with what has gone before. Through the use of slack space and varied contexts we hope to challenge these expectations by allowing different perspectives and new entry points for lens-based work. We see ourselves in the midst of the developing national photographic scene that has reached a tipping point of energy and exposure in recent years with increases in exhibitions, awards, courses, groups, profusion of photo books, and online platforms dedicated to photography. Our programme for 2013 / 14 will include an exhibition with Occupy Space in Limerick City. We will also be working with PhotoIreland this year on a survey of the photographic scene in Ireland now, as they extend their programme to Cork and Limerick. We are on the main exhibition panel and are portfolio reviewers for this project. We also have the support of Cork City Council.

Courtesy of the artist and Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town. Photograph by Jed Niezgoda.


Sarah O’Brien Nobody is Looking (2012) Polythene, paint, wood, lycra, jersey, canvas, silk, dimensions variable, site-specific, Installation shot taken at the Galway Arts Centre Image courtesy the artist.

following spread Domestic Godless Brain of Piglet in Barley Wine Image courtesy of the Domestic Godless

pg 38 – 39 Marta Fernández-Calvo Fog (2008) Digital print on microperforated canvas, ratchet straps Commissioned by Arte en La Tierra and the Government of La Rioja (Spain) and supported by Thisisnotashop gallery (Dublin), Kaldarte (Pontevedra, Spain), Cervantes Institute Dublin, Margenes Festival (Dublin), and Paper Visual Art. Photo: Adrian Duncan. Image courtesy the artist.




No doubt about it, beer and cooking go back a long way. It is wine, however, that is linked to fine cuisine and this is something that needs to be addressed! The Japanese have got it right, feeding their cattle ale and massaging their flesh has produced some of the finest beef to be eaten anywhere. We have, as part of our culinary studies, re-categorized beer into the following subspecies: fine beers or premium ales; fighting lager and cooking lager. The effect of such beverages on the behaviour of domestic animals was infamously noted by U.S. zoolinguist, Ernesto Rotundo, who swore that after several litres (sic) of Mexican beer, his pet boar Paolo actually said: "Did you call my bird a slag?", before becoming uncharacteristically aggressive. There is one beer, however, that stands alone and beyond these 'mere mortals' — BARLEY WINE. This very strong and sweet 'ale' is commonly associated with old people in the North-West of England, for it has two essential qualities that make it particularly attractive:


1. It induces a euphoric misanthropy in the drinker. 2. It is capable of unblocking the tardiest of digestive systems, promoting assured regularity. For the past three hours we have been experimenting with the effect that Barley Wine has on the texture of pig's brains. When given to mature animals, the effect can be dangerous, but for piglets between 4 and 8 months, the physiological effect on the brain of the squeeler is quite startling. Normally a fairly disappointing and lacklustre affair, the addled piglet's brain after a weekend of Barley Wine becomes sweet and creamy, not unlike crème caramel. Go on! Try it! The Recipe: (Note: One pig's brain will do for one person — and you will need 6 oyster shells per person for presentation) Sit the brains in a shallow pan with about an inch of Barley Wine. Put a lid on the pan and bring to a boil, then simmer for no more than 2 minutes. Carefully lift the brains out of the pan with a slotted spoon, chop each into six portions (each should sit comfortably in an oyster shell) and leave aside. Meanwhile, add a little chopped sage to the pan, boil, and reduce the liquor by one half. A little of this should then be spooned into each of the shells. Sprinkle with salt, ground black pepper, and crispy fried sage leaves and serve. Eat from the shell, as with oysters.




top The National Sculpture Factory, Cork Photo: Š Mike Hannon Image courtesy NSF


Francis Shier A space for debate

(2013) At Crawford Municipal Art Gallery Image courtesy NSF




The National Sculpture Factory is, as the name suggests, a national organisation, founded by and dedicated to artists. Its remit is to provide and promote a supportive and enabling environment for the making of art and the realisation of creative projects. Artists and their practice are actively supported through a varied and ambitious program of residencies, lecture series, cultural exchanges, master-classes, and professional development workshops. Situated in an old tramway depot adjacent to Cork city center, the NSF provides a dynamic and flexible environment for artists to work on projects or acquire new skills. Since its inception, it has played host to artists of international standing. James Turrell installed his Ganzfeld Sphere here in 1994, while Tony Cragg used the cavernous space and highly skilled technical staff to make his enormous World Events piece for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Jesse Jones, Isabel Nolan, Bik van der Pol, and Chantel Mouffe among others have delivered lectures and workshops at the NSF’s invitation. On the Factory floor, the NSF provides facilities for working with glass, ceramics, stone, metal work and woodwork. Studio spaces are flexible and accommodate work of diverse scales. At present, the NSF is working at capacity — artists currently resident include founding member Maud Cotter, who is preparing for upcoming shows in Waterford and the MAC in Belfast. Alex Pentek is working on a large public art piece for a school in Galway, while Joe Neeson is finishing a huge resin and stainless steel sculpture destined for the pier in Dingle. Another founder member, Éilis O’Connell, is finishing a large-scale resin sculpture, entitled Slope, which will form part of her contribution to the open air exhibition sited in Jubilee Park in London’s Docklands. Winner of the NSF graduate award







pg 42 top The National Sculpture Factory © Maud Cotter, Image courtesy the artist and the NSF.

pg 42 bottom L & R The National Sculpture Factory © Peter Owens, Image courtesy the NSF and the artist.

pg 43 The National Sculpture Factory Workshop space Image courtesy the NSF

Rory Mullins, who garnered much attention for his elaborate yet determinedly lo-fi cardboard apartment / installation, is using his six-month residency to develop and expand his practice. Meanwhile, stone carver Mick Wilkins is taking advantage of the NSF’s sophisticated extraction and ventilation systems to work on his granite pieces in house, while a group of emerging ceramic artists, Gwenda Forde, Annmarie Twomey, Carol MacGabhann, Sinead Gibbons, and Áine Farrell share another large space. The NSF is committed to giving space and support to young graduates, affording them the time and the facilities to continue to create new works and develop into fully professional artists. Each year, candidates are selected based on the merit and potential of their work and are chosen from some of the leading Fine Art institutions in the country. This year, award recipients include ceramicist Gwenda Forde and sculptors / installation artists Rory Mullen, Fiona Scally, and Adrian McGrath. A wide-ranging program of professional development and training workshops, ranging from specialised insurance for artists to 3D printing demonstrations, provide yet more opportunities for artists to hone their practice. This year’s program will emphasise mentoring and support skills as well as responding to the demand for social media training so that artists can promote themselves and their work online. In addition to facilitating the fabrication of large-scale artwork, the NSF is committed to initiating dynamic and ambitious art projects. Last year we collaborated with the Cork Midsummer Festival and the West Cork Arts Centre to produce an artwork by leading Irish artists Mark Garry and Seán Carpio. DRIFT involved the artists working with a musician and boat builder based on Sherkin Island to transform a wooden sailboat into a floating Aeolian wind harp (a harp 'played' by the wind). Last March, to coincide with the United States of Europe exhibition, the NSF ran a series of conversations reflecting on the political, social and cultural aspects of Europe. The expanded definition of sculpture embraced by the NSF likewise informs our programming and has led us to instigate and facilitate ambitious series of performance, sound art events, and film screenings. Just Listen, for example, was an international sound art event which took place in venues across Cork and Limerick in 2011, while more recently, the NSF hosted the screening of Phil Collins’ This Unfortunate Thing Between Us on the factory floor as part of the Corona Cork Film Festival. A national organisation with international reach, the NSF is embedded in the local cultural community. We are open to school tours and group visits, while also hosting public events to co-ordinate with the



Cork Midsummer Festival, the Corona Cork Film Festival and Culture Night. As part of Cork Capital of Culture 2005, the NSF, along with curators Art / not art (David Dobz O’Brien and Fergal Gaynor), Charles Esche and Annie Fletcher, devised Cork Caucus, a major interdisciplinary, international meeting of artists, thinkers, writers, philosophers, and other creative individuals to investigate cultural, political and artistic issues. Meanwhile, last year, Dr. Zoe Laughlin of the Materials Library, along with artists working on the Factory floor, presented various aspects of materials and making through a series of hands-on workstations looking at art, science, craft, and the engineering of stuff. The NSF similarly fosters and enjoys a close relationship with the architectural community. In recent years, the NSF commissioned awardwinning architect Tom De Paor to create a Mezzanine space within the facility to provide a clean space for meetings, research and occasional lectures and workshop programs. Our dynamic new façade and signage, designed by Robin Lee architects has made the Factory more visible on its Albert Road site. Meanwhile, Francis Shier, recent M.A. graduate from CCAE-Cork School of Architecture, has been designated the NSF’s architect-in-residence, and aims during his tenure to investigate the position of architecture within the broader cultural landscape. The NSF is a place where things are developed, fostered and made — huge public art works, delicate ceramics, technical skills, cultural connections and relationships. Started by artists to facilitate art-making, the NSF and its team continues to advocate for artists and their practice and to contribute to the fabric of the cultural community both locally and internationally. Twitter @NsfIreland Facebook






The recent Outbox exhibition took place in an unoccupied ground floor of a large grey office block on Copley Street, home also to the Cork Centre for Architectural Education, on the outskirts of Cork city centre. It is an atmospherically cavernous space of bare breeze blocks and rough concrete; a liminal, unfinished space that reveals the traces of its construction and hints at various possibilities for its eventual use. The word liminal comes from the Latin limens meaning ‘threshold’ —  a liminal space then is a space of transition, of becoming, of uncertainty, and potential. As such, it formed a fitting site for this inaugural graduate exhibition of the Crawford College of Art and Design’s new Masters program which is organised around the idea of art and process; a generative and usefully open-ended concept that embraces both the physical making and the conceptual operations that go on in the studio.


This sense of active material exploration and intellectual enquiry was in evidence in this absorbing, multi-disciplinary show. Some of the exhibits were akin to overhearing a snippet of an ongoing conversation, while others were more complete and resolved, like an experiment or maths equation that reveals its working out in the margins. Sarah O’Flaherty’s work exemplified the latter tendency. Her concise selection of work, which nonetheless incorporated video, sculpture, and photography, formed a systematic yet lyrical study of material properties, dwelling particularly on the transition between physical states of liquescence and calcification. Vegetable or floral forms dipped in plaster hung in the space like stalactites, some almost a metre long; the organic shapes made abstract by their bone white coverings. Videos recorded their dripping milkiness or lapidary forms shattering on the concrete floor while an amorphously blurred photograph seemed to capture a transitional, gaseous stage where the pale form almost dissolved into a fog or mist. O’Flaherty’s blending of the organic and mineral, as well as her interest in the intermediary or transient material states, draw the viewer’s attention to the temporality of making, as well as the life span of an object, suspended in an ossuary of plaster or splintering on the floor. The result was deeply satisfying. Fergal Cunningham shares this interest in properties of fluidity and employs a beguilingly simple device to convert banal labor into a medium for lyrical transformation. In Untitled, a large format projection focuses on a close-up of a person mopping a concrete floor. As the mopping progresses, the spreading water forms a reflective plane that in turn changes the concrete floor into a mirror or a screen. The limpid surface reflects the effort of the task, while the projection onto the gallery wall functions almost like a window that opens onto the poetry of the everyday revealing winter trees, curdled skies, and passing trucks. The view gradually fades as the water evaporates; an elegantly lucid and beautiful conceit. Performance-based work was strongly represented with the chasmal venue standing as backdrop to many of the pieces. Sally O’Dowd’s pithy video of her Untitled performance piece involved the artist donning a pair of tights made bulbous and elephantine with sugar that surreally thickened her calves and ankles. The film simply focuses on the otherwise elegantly shod legs pacing the space, shedding a fine dust as she passes. As with Cunningham’s work, the conceit


previous page top — background image Feargal Cunningham Reflection 1 (2012) Dimensions: Variable (dimensions in show approx.: 2m × 3.5m) HD video, colour, 5.49 mins duration

previous page top — foreground image Sarah O’Flaherty Sous Rature (2012) Materials: plant material and paint Dimensions: 450mm × 160mm × 122mm approx Installation view.


previous page bottom Sharon McCarthy Activation of different hues of H (2012) Materials: steel, PVA & pigment

top Tom Crean The Future Lies Heavy On Our Heads (2012) Medium: sheet steel, audio speakers Dimensions: 8ft × 5ft × 4ft Installation view.

bottom Pádraig Spillane Where there's smoke there'll soon be fire (2012) Metal and photograhic print on paper Dimensions: 130cm × 40cm × 40cm Installation view. All photography by Jed Niezgoda


is simple, but effective. O’Dowd deftly satirises the valorisation of various female body parts, as well as the anxiety around shape, weight, and consumption. The concrete floor of the space retains the trace of her passage, a spectral dusty track, very narrow, deliberate and controlled, and it forms an interesting counter-point to the more anarchic public enactment of the performance as recounted in the catalogue. Deirdre McPhillips’ work yielded some similarly striking imagery in a filmed performance where the artist laboriously bound a mackerel coated in gold leaf to her fishnet clad shins. Meanwhile, Toma McCullim’s windfall of yellowing Bible pages, over-printed with images of body parts, apples, and outstretched hands prompted ideas of innocence and experience. Sarah Ryan’s compelling Untitled video documents an intriguing performance that investigates the sensual properties of clay. Ryan trained as a ceramicist and her take on her material is innovative, touching on ideas of liquidity, transformative states, and physical effort. In the cavernous and chilly space, Ryan, in minimal clothing, poured milky, viscous clay slip over her body until she was completely covered. The camera focuses on her goose pimpled flesh, on the cracks and blisters of the drying clay, on her clotted mouth and matted lashes. Ryan’s work confronts the viewer with her discomfort: holding herself awkwardly in position, the clay dries and hardens to a second, caked skin while she trembles with cold. Julie Forrester’s darkly comic and sinister work is equally haunting if differently immersive. The viewer enters an enclosed, cave-like space through a triangular opening. In the dim light, several screens and projections play different videos of a woman dancing with life-sized flopping cloth mannequins; the dancer clearly labouring under their palpably fleshy weight. On two tiny plasma screens, a performer in black manipulates a Golem-like form. Against the dark background, the dancer almost disappears giving the uncanny impression that the pale cloth figure is moving haltingly of its own accord. The small space is further populated by several of the fabric sculptures; their slumped and sagging postures and strangely truncated forms are absurd yet melancholic and deeply affecting. They communicate to great effect the difficulty and strangeness of gravity-bound bodies. Tom Crean’s The Future Lies Heavy on Our Heads is equally invested in gravity and balance, yet inflected with a quasi-architectural or industrial aesthetic. His brooding, abstract form made from sheet steel is cumbersome and unsettlingly precarious as if on the point


of tipping forward under its own ponderous weight. In contrast, Sharon McCarthy’s anarchic and playful objects blur the line between painting and sculpture, exploring the effects of color, translucency, and the transition between two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes. Sheets of coloured plastic are melted and slumped or squashed or crumpled, and the resulting works have a liquid sheen that again seems to capture a transitional molten stage between solidity and liquefaction. Rebecca Bradley was the only painter in the show. She uses found materials such as foxed paper and faded postcards to make quietly restrained paintings of gentle decay. The results at first seem muted and spare, almost minimal, but also present an absorbing investigation into the transitions between two and three-dimensional spaces, using shallow relief, recession, and torn, frayed layers. Pádraig Spillane’s photography is similarly restrained. His tightly edited selection of unframed, small-scale prints focus on portrait studies of a female sitter and play with ideas of the gaze and access. Some prints show the model’s back or are softly blurred and out of focus, while other prints are folded or manipulated in order to change the viewer’s experience of the image. Collectively, the work is subtle and mysterious, and possessed of a spare, muted elegance. In retrospect, the interest in liquidity, in transitional states, melting, or otherwise collapsing forms was striking; a reflection perhaps of the M.A. course's emphasis on process. Such states can also be viewed as liminal, protean, on the way to becoming something else and fraught with both uncertainty and potential. Outbox showcased the work of artists who are already confident and adept in their practice. It is worth noting that a few of the graduates had established careers before taking up the course, however there was a refreshing sense of practice as being a continuing and continual conversation rather simply an object-oriented pursuit. This impression of ongoing and open-ended investigation was bracingly prevalent in a materially and conceptually diverse show where each of the artists opened windows onto worlds of personal exploration.


Mark Clare Two Horns of Phaedrus (2012) Mixed media (tarpaulin flag, tape, fan) Photograph © Ros Kavanagh Courtesy of the Arts Council.




Mark Clare’s The Two Horns of Phaedrus (2012), recently on show at the Crawford Art Gallery, takes as a starting point the iconic counter-culture Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974) by Robert Pirsig. I remember the book well, its meandering treatises on the central problem of ‘quality’ and my general inability to understand any of it. I had just started in NCAD: having received a reading list over the course of that last summer at home, I arrived in college, well-meaning and naïve, having read every last book on the list, Zen… being one of the more arduous challenges. No one else — being infinitely more urbane and grown-up — had even bothered with the list. The book washed over me: I got a sense of its thrust but most of its pop-philosophical minutiae remained a mystery to me. Perhaps it is something I should revisit. Now some eight years later, the thorny question of quality remains a central concern for me when I now write about art; where that quality is located; what I, as a critic or viewer, impart to the situation, and whether that might in turn impact upon the object of interest. It appears Clare shares these concerns, creating for this exhibition a material interrogation of the very question of quality. But first I should attempt some description of the piece and the importance of the context into which it is placed. The work is a new commission that was exhibited in Into the Light: The Arts Council — 60 Years of Supporting the Arts, and took place at Crawford Art Gallery from 4 December, 2012 — 23 February, 2013. The exhibition itself is an exercise in the explication of quality: surmising the role the organisation has had over the course of its lifetime in fostering and supporting the arts. Here, key artistic markers in the life of the council are presented together: included are works by Gerard Byrne, Caoimhe Kilfeather, Niamh O’Malley, and of course this new commission by Clare, amongst others. Clearly, the works are there due to an intuited presence of quality, but what Clare’s piece queries is the actual site of such quality. What makes a work endure? Could it, playing Berkeley, be merely their perceived quality which enables their intuited quality, there being nothing in-themselves which might explicate this quality? Is it, in short, all in the mind of the apprehender, the curator, the collector, or viewer? What if these objects are simply and really only dumb matter, running wildly amok by virtue of mind? The term ‘quality’ is two-pronged: on a basic level, it describes what makes something good,



effective, or superior to other things. This can be applied in differentiating art objects from other ones; say, when selecting works for inclusion in an exhibition. On a deeper level, however, the art object’s ‘quality’ has nothing to do with whether it is subjectively or objectively ‘good’ or not, but rather as to whether it is classified as art at all. The art object’s ‘quality’, here, is simply what makes it ‘art’. Being included in a curated exhibition that seeks to explicate a particular definition of quality, and additionally shirking traditional mediumbased demands of art, Clare’s work seeks to interrogate this question of quality on both of these difficult levels by refuting the work’s autonomy, and situating the viewer at the heart of this dichotomy. The work itself involves three [1] spatial components. In the centre, a makeshift tarpaulin flag, bracketed to the wall, bisects the installation. To the left of this, a rotating structure roughly hewn with primaryhued parcel tapes; and to the right, a floor-based fan that shudders through the space, causing the flag to waver in its wake. On entering the space given to the work at the entrance to the exhibition, the rotating mechanical wheel appears to come to life; on continued engagement with the work in the space, however, this viewer-activation is slowly problematised: I failed to work out what role, if any, I played in the work’s activation. I am not quite sure whether this was the intention behind the work — in the accompanying notes the work’s activation by the viewer appears foreshadowed as crucial — but, accident or not, this uncertainty seems to me a more apt means of operation. For one cannot be wholly sure of the role one plays in the meaningful activation of an art object, or its resplendent ‘quality’: the situation is never clear-cut, but wavering between here and there. Thus the mechanical form and the parallel fan work in union, by some vague means of viewer activation, to bring the central flag form to life. Comprising a large tarpaulin affixed to a shovel handle in turn mounted at a diagonal onto the wall, the flag cuts a striking figure in its meticulous haphazardness. Mirroring the colours of the makeshift form to the left, its grid-like application of black lines, accompanied by blocks of red, blue, and yellow, speaks utterly of Modernism; more accurately, the kind of Modernism as purported by Piet Mondrian. This is a Modernism resolutely untainted by externality; its form given by an almost ascetic engagement with colour and line within the parameters of the flat canvas. By choosing to engage with Mondrian — of


all of the Modernists — Clare deliberately attempts to tackle their classical legacy and critique the wisdom inherited from them: that is, the art work as the site of an untrammeled artistic autonomy, containing a quality initself not beholden to human experience. The flag, in a relationship with the viewer and the surrounding mechanical forms, literally wavers through their effect: it, and the ideology it purports, is never (and can never be) pure. The Two Horns of Phaedrus is a kind of illustration of the ideology it seeks to critique. Modernism, and especially Modernist painting, sited the aesthetic experience in the formal characteristics of the work: no speculation or projection (interaction) could make a work more or less so. Clare problematises this conception of the artwork by inserting the viewer into its space, and in so doing unfurls its mutative nature. But it does not fully relegate Modernism’s view of the artwork either: the question of its essential autonomy remains a lingering presence. The role of the viewer is indeterminate: though the curator puts forward a notion of viewerinaction, there always remains a doubt that things would continue like this, or more or less so, in our absence. Clare’s work appears to say that to come at the work from the other way — to understand the work as a product of a relation — misses the point also: both approaches are didactic, and external to the actual obfuscation that accompanies any interaction with the artwork. Like philosopher Graham Harman’s ‘third table’, the ‘two horns’ of the work are flattened by the possibility of a third [2]: more fidelitious and apt to the discussion of quality. There exists yet another player in this binary: somewhere in the interplay of mind and matter, yet structurally discordant to both. The artwork, in this light, cannot be thought of solely in terms of autonomy or relationality: it creates another self, another object, somewhere between these two fraught understandings. This new object is where one sites the actual ‘quality’ of the work: given to neither mind nor matter, but the preserve of somewhere in between. 1 Not, as the curatorial notes state, two: there is no mention of the presence of the fan, which seems a key part of the work. This curatorial discrepancy serves to problematise and muddy the work’s intellectual rigor. Another error of judgement, which I do think the work suffers from, is the decision to site the work within the main exhibition space. 2 See Harman’s text “The Third Table” in Documenta (13) Catalogue 1/3: The Book of Books (2012), Ostfildern/DE: Hatje Cantz, pp. 540 – 543



SARAH KELLEHER is an independent writer and a recent graduate from the M.A. in Modern and Contemporary Art at UCC. SARAH O’BRIEN born in Cork, 1980, is an artist and independent arts educator. Her practice combines painting, installation, and writing. In 2011 she was awarded a project studio at TBG&S. She is currently based in Berlin. PÁDRAIG SPILLANE is a lens-based artist and exhibition-maker with Stag & Deer. He holds a First Class Honours Masters in Art and Process from CIT Crawford College of Art & Design, Cork, and a BA (Honours) Degree in Philosophy from The Milltown Institute, Dublin. His work has recently been shown in: OUTBOX — End of year MA:AP exhibition, (un)doing at CIT Wandesford Quay Gallery (Cork), and NLA III: The New Living Art Exhibition at Moxie Studios / IMOCA (Dublin). PAMELA CONDELL is a lens-based artist and exhibition-maker with Stag & Deer. Recent presentations of photographic works include Now That’s What I Call Praxis at Occupy Space Limerick 2012. During 2011 & 2012 she participated in three contemporary dance works with her photographic and performance practice; WARSONG at TDC, Triskel Arts Centre, Cork, and Aftermath which was presented in The Project Arts Centre, Dublin, and Solstice at the Cork Midsummer Festival with artist Cathy Walsh.


ED KRCMA is lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art at University College Cork. His research concerns the history and theory of drawing since the 1940s, and he is currently working on a book project entitled Figures of Thought, which concerns the relationship between drawing and cognitive content in the art of that period. He also works as a critic and is founding co-editor (with Fergal Gaynor) of the Cork-based contemporary arts review sheet, Enclave Review. THE DOMESTIC GODLESS are a collective of three artists (Mick O’Shea, Irene Murphy, and Stephen Brandes) who explore food — its cultural values, its taste, and its presentation — as material for artistic endeavor and experimentation. The Domestic Godless came into existence with a cooking performance at the opening of the exhibition Artists / Groups at Project Arts Centre, Dublin in 2003, and have since realised up to three projects a year. They continue to develop ideas and recipes which employ food as a medium through which to convey empathy, absurdism, misbehaviour, aesthetic unorthodoxy, and other qualities that distinguish art from craft, and food from mere sustenance. Their aim is to lead audiences through a carefully orchestrated range of cerebral, visual and gustatory experiences.


MARK HALL-PATCH is an artist currently residing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. His works are mainly watercolour and ink drawings with narrative themes relating to concepts of storytelling, mysticism, folk art, the ephemera of cultures, memories of home, Irish and Canadian iconography, advancements in technology and sociological phenomena. He was an artist-in-residency at the Guesthouse where he continued his art practice and also participated graphically with the sound art scene in Cork. www. ALAN BOARDMAN is an artist and researcher based in Dublin. He is currently a PhD candidate in NCAD researching new-materialism and contemporary painting. www.abstractgeology. MARTA FERNÁNDEZ CALVO was born in Logroño (Spain) and has been based in Dublin since 2009. Fernández Calvo has exhibited at the Tate Modern and the Venice Biennale. She has exhibited extensively throughout Europe, Africa, U.K. and Ireland, and is the associate artist for the prestigious 10 Europan winning project, The Red Guide Thread, Nyon, Switzerland. She is currently involved in many collaborative projects with Irish artist and engineer Adrian Duncan, and Italian astronomer Arianna Cortessi. Fernández Calvo will be exhibiting in Madrid and Huesca (Spain) later this year.


ADRIAN DUNCAN is a Dublin-based artist, writer, and engineer. He has exhibited in Ireland, Europe, South Africa, and the U.S. He is co-editor of Paper Visual Art. He guest lectures at UCD School of Architecture, and NCAD, Dublin. He has been published by Sculpture, Enclave Review, and The Dublin Review (forthcoming). REBECCA O’DWYER is a writer and researcher based in Dublin. She holds a BA Fine Art Sculpture (2008) and MA Art in the Contemporary World (2010), both from NCAD, Dublin. In 2012, she commenced doctoral research at NCAD, focusing on the figure of transcendentalism in contemporary art. O’Dwyer compiles a personal blog at: www. FRANCIS HALSALL is a lecturer in the history and theory of modern / contemporary art at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin where he coordinates the MA: Art in the Contemporary World. He has a research interests in aesthetics, systems theory, phenomenology, and modern / contemporary art. Recent writing and ideas can be found on his blog:


following page University College Cork, River Lee, Cork City (October 2012) Photo: Adrian Duncan

poster insert Mark Hall-Patch A Chronology of Cork Sonology (2011) Image courtesy of the artist and the Guesthouse.





CONTRIBUTORS Adrian Duncan / Alan Boardman / Ed Krčma Francis Halsall / Mark Hall-Patch Marta Fernández Calvo / Rebecca O’Dwyer Sarah Kelleher / Sarah O’Brien Stag & Deer / The Domestic Godless The National Sculpture Factory



ISBN 978-0-9573350-1-1 / €5

Paper Visual Art Journal, Cork Edition  

In October, 2012, paper spent a three-week residency at the Guesthouse in Cork city to compile this edition of Paper Visual Art Journal, our...

Paper Visual Art Journal, Cork Edition  

In October, 2012, paper spent a three-week residency at the Guesthouse in Cork city to compile this edition of Paper Visual Art Journal, our...