BRIDGE Volume 1, Issue 1. September 2014 Art, Architecture + Design
DUBLIN GALLERY GUIDE TCD ART COLLECTIONS STEVEN MAYBURY INTERVIEW XENAKIS + LE CORBUSIER THE DUBLIN ZINE ARCHIVE MARINA ABRAMOVIC + MORE
Above: What remains, no.s 14 & 41, oil on a printed base, laid on birch, each 29 x 20cm
JENNIFER TROUTON THE TIES THAT BIND THE MOLESWORTH GALLERY The exhibition runs until October 15th, 2014. View the work online at www.molesworthgallery.com. The Molesworth Gallery, 16 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2, Tel: +353 1 679 1548, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @MolesworthGall
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Welcome to the first issue of The Bridge, a magazine about the visual arts by & for students of Trinity College Dublin.
PHOTO: SERGE ALIFANOV
15 4 What’s on 5 Culture Night preview 6 Editor’s picks 8 Dublin gallery guide 10 Interview: Steven Maybury 14 Chelsea + The High Line 15 TCD art collections 18 Xenakis + Le Corbusier 20 Dublin zine archive 22 Marina Abramovic
STAFF: CLARA MURRAY (EDITOR AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR) HAZEL SHAW (CONTEMPORARY EDITOR) RONAN CAREY (ARCHITECTURE EDITOR) JENNIFFER DUFFY (HISTORICAL EDITOR) ERICA GURNEE (DUBLIN EDITOR) SERGE ALIFANOV (PHOTO EDITOR) IMOGEN FITZGERALD (WEB EDITOR) OLEN BAJARIAS AND TRUDY KILGORE (COPY EDITORS) GRACE NUTALL (PUBLICITY AND DESIGN) COVER IMAGE: ‘THE LIFE OF A BIRO PEN’, STEVEN MAYBURY THANK YOU: PROVOST VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS GRANT TRINITY PUBLICATIONS. GREHAN PRINTERS . CAILAN O’CONNELL
EDITOR’S NOTE: THANKS FOR PICKING UP THE BRIDGE! WE SET OUT TO IMPROVE STUDENT INVOLVEMENT WITH THE VISUAL ARTS ON AND OFF CAMPUS AND GIVE A PLATFORM FOR CREATIVE STUDENTS OF ALL KINDS. WITH THAT IN MIND, THIS IS A SPECIAL FRESHER’S ISSUE. THERE’S PLENTY OF MATERIAL HERE TO HELP YOU CHAT UP THAT HIPSTER THIRD YEAR OUTSIDE THE ARTS BLOCK. WE’VE HAD A LOT OF FUN PUTTING THIS ISSUE TOGETHER AND ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO BRINGING YOU MANY MORE. - CLARA
W H AT ’ S O N I N D U BL I N Listings for September + October 2014 Compiled by Clara Murray
Hélio Oiticia: Propositions With Brazil and its international perception so topical post-World Cup, it’s perhaps the perfect time for IMMA to host this look at one of Brazil’s most influential modernists. From his early attempts to free colour and form from the flat painted surface, to the wearable Parangolés , the invitation here is to step into, interact, move through, explore. The exhibition becomes almost a grown-up playground; in line with Oiticica’s theory that “the museum is the world, it is the everyday experience.” IMMA, Royal Hospital, Kilmainham Until 5th Oct
Kajsa Bäckström ‘Sum of its Parts’ Centre for Creative Practises, 15 Pembroke St Lower Until 19th Sept Chester Beatty’s A to Z: from Amulet to Zodiac Curator’s choice of rarely exhibited works from the collection. Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle Until 1st Feb 2015 Rens Krikhaar Justin Wijers, Claire Carpenter and Simon English Group show of paintings and drawings. Cross Gallery, 59 Francis Street From 28th Aug Dukkha Group show with a theme of reconfiguration of familiar and everyday objects and actions.
HÉLIO OITICICA, PARANGOLÉ P4 CAPE 1, 1964 PHOTO: SERGIO ZALIS
Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College Until 1st Oct
Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani Berlin-based artists document modern ruins in their first Irish show MART, 190a Rathmines. Road Lower 1st – 26th Oct
Tom Phelan: ‘Swell’ Former studio manager exhibits his woodblock prints inspired by music, Vienna and the sea. Graphic Studio Gallery, Cope St, Temple Bar Until 27th Sept
Lines of Vision To mark the 150th anniversary of the National Gallery, Irish writers find inspiration in its wonderful collection. National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square 8th Oct – 12th April
Paddy McCann ‘Well’ New work by the critically acclaimed contemporary Irish painter. Hillsboro Fine Art, 49 Parnel Sq W 18th Sept – 18th Oct
not life / necessarily A two person exhibition featuring artists Chloe Brenan and Chanelle Walshe. NCAD Gallery, 100 Thomas St 19th Sept – 24th Oct
Second Sight: The David Kronn Photography Collection Selected works from David Kronn’s wide-ranging photography collection. IMMA, Royal Hospital, Kilmainham Until 9th Nov
Maria Simonds-Gooding A retrospective of the Irish modernist painter. Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery, Ely Place Until 26th Oct Gary Coyle A collection of fog photographs taken over 10 years by Gary Coyle. Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery, Ely Place Until 19th Dec Joe Scullion Abstract paintings by Dublin artist. RUA RED, South Dublin Arts Centre, Tallaght 2nd Sept – 1st Nov The Sophisticated Neanderthal Interview Postmodern film work by British artist Nathaniel Mellor, inspired by Neanderthal cave art. Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, 5 - 9 Temple Bar Until 1st Nov
Daragh Muldowney ‘Out of Thin Air’ Exhibition documenting the Irish photographer’s expedition to Greenland. The Copper House Gallery, Synge St 1st Oct – 7th Nov Jennifer Trouton ‘The ties that bind’ Meticulous paintings depicting “the oftoverlooked banalities of human existence”. The Molesworth Gallery, 16 Molesworth Street Until 11th Oct Jennifer Kidd ‘Tarot’ Five optical illusion, site specific, performative stop-motion video installations. Talbot Gallery, 51 Talbot St 19th Sept – 9th Oct Aisling O’Beirn ‘Quaternion Quest’ Installation and film inspired by William Rowan Hamilton’s discovery of quaternion equations. The Lab, Foley St Until 15th Nov Erica Coburn at The Platform The Twisted Pepper, 54 Middle Abbey St Coburn’s debut photography exhibition with music and BYOB after party. 8pm 25th Sept
Culture Culture Night 2014 Night WORDS: ERICA GURNEE
Culture Night is an annual opportunity to explore hundreds of free, artistic events throughout Ireland. This year, Culture Night falls on the Friday of Fresher’s Week (19th September) and what better timing? With so many events available, the only difficulty is choosing what to see. From The National Gallery of Ireland’s free gallery tours and ‘performative sculpture’, to events in smaller galleries and studios, experiencing art on this occasion is a truly unmissable event. The Graphic Studio Gallery’s letterpress printing and bookmaking workshop and the special exhibition of contemporary fine art, photography and illustration at The Copper House Gallery are just two of my favourites. The JAM Art Factory is displaying an impressive collection of contemporary art and design, in mediums such as screen prints and street art. The New Art Studio is allowing visitors to meet with the artists in their studio space to experience how their artwork is created and see the artists in action. White Lady Art will not only have the artists BUBU and MADE from the all-female street art collective (MINAW) painting live on the night, but also an exhibition of other female artists on show, such as French artists Ciou and Malojo. Dublin Castle is also opening its grounds, with the castle’s medieval undercroft and historic State Apartments open free of charge. Tours will be available in the Chester Beatty Library
within the Castle walls, which holds artistic treasures from cultures all over the world. This is a great opportunity to explore the medieval castle if you have not yet done so. The undercroft at night promises to be especially chilling. I am particularly looking forward to the final event - the Ferocious Mingle Market, which will open with live music on stage and old movies shown in their mini theatre. Artists will have their studio doors open to sell their own works of art. For those less interested in the arts, many other cultural events are taking place to suit a variety of interests. The Freemason’s Hall is open to the public to view the mysteriously decorated meeting rooms of this Victorian building. It is a special and rare opportunity to see first hand the mystical interior of this much-discussed fraternal society building. The Instituto Cervantes is holding a Latin American crafts fair with the opportunity to taste Spanish and Latin American delicacies. There will also be Tango and Flamenco dancing shows and an art exhibition. The Contemporary Music Centre is hosting an evening of new music in their outdoor courtyard with leading contemporary composers and performers. This is an exciting way to see Dublin’s new music scene in an enjoyable venue. These are just a few of the events that excite me, but get onto culturenight.ie to explore the over 200 events on offer.
Editors’ Picks Five Street Artists Who Aren’t Banksy HAZEL SHAW
Above: Californian artist Above is known for large-scale, multi-coloured stencils. Spotted in over 100 cities around the world, his work seeks to interact with the urban environment and challenge the viewer to re-evaluate their surroundings. He often addresses controversial issues, focusing particularly on financial greed and politics. Electric Puppet: New York based street artist Electric Puppet was originally inspired by a dull commute to add humour to daily life in the city, placing a paper stripper on a pole of the subway train. This has grown into a collection of characters that have popped up throughout cities all over the world. SpY: Hailing from Madrid, SpY challenges the per-
Five Essential Places to Visit in Dublin ERICA GURNEE
ception of the city dweller by a playful re-appropriation of urban elements. His work seeks to inspire both a thought and a smile. Hyuro: Argentinian street artist Hyuro creates honest and intimate artworks reflecting themes of human identity, analysing human emotions through the characters she creates. She is currently based out of Valencia, Spain, but her work can be seen in countries all over the world. Vhils: Portuguese-born Alexandre Farto is a classically trained artist who operates under the pseudonym Vhils, creating stunning artworks by scratching off the surfaces of buildings using a power drill and a chisel. TOP: ‘0 LIKES’, SPY / BOTTOM: WORK BY ABOVE
Sotheby’s Irish Sales exhibitions: Every late autumn and spring Sotheby’s headquarters in Dublin holds exhibitions for their biannual British and Irish art sales. This is a fantastic opportunity to see pieces by major artists before they are inevitably sold back into private collections.
Newman House: This beautifully restored townhouse on Stephen’s Green is unfortunately only open to the public during the summer, but offers an unparalleled glimpse into Georgian Dublin. Art History students can look forward to a guided tour by Dr Christine Casey, who was involved in the restoration process. 6
IMAGE: ‘IN CONNEMARA’, PAUL HENRY, RECENTLY SOLD AT SOTHEBY’S
IMAGE: ‘SUNLIT LANDSCAPE’, MARY SWANZY
Five Irish Female Modernists You Should Know JENNIFFER DUFFY
Mainie Jellet: Jellet’s abstract works focus on patterns of rhythm, line and colour. She often used religious themes to make her Cubist style more acceptable to conservative Irish audiences of the 1920s who saw her work as puzzling and even “sub human”. Evie Hone: A stained glass artist whose window Green Fields now hangs in Irish government buildings. She trained with Jellet in
France; the geometric patterning in the backgrounds of her windows reflects this Cubist influence. Mary Swanzy: Strongly influenced by Post-Impressionist Paul Cézanne, Swanzy experimented with shape, form and patterning. Nano Reid: Best known as a painter of abstracted landscapes, Reid used a very limited colour range in her expressive works. She was also a figure painter
and a portraitist. Reid represented Ireland alongside Norah McGuiness in the 1950 Venice Bienalle. Norah McGuinness: The painter and illustrator was influenced by her travels to Paris and India, resulting in a vivid use of colour in her semi-abstract paintings. Her illustrative work includes collections of stories by W.B. Yeats and a novel by Elizabeth Bowen.
Block T: This not-for-profit creative organisation, tucked away in Smithfield, is a hub for young Dublin artists. Home to the screenprint collective Damn Fine City they host regular exhibitions and workshops. Aiming to provide “a platform for creative thinking of all avenues”, they’re one of the city’s most exciting venues.
Dublin Castle grounds: Walk around the castle’s courtyards, peek inside its tiny, beautiful Neo-Gothic chapel and explore the Chester Beatty Library all within these walls. The grounds even doubled for the Vatican in one episode of The Tudors. They’re opening the doors of the historic State Apartments on Culture Night free of charge - not to be missed. [see p. 8] 7
The Museum Building, Trinity College: Invariably featured in textbooks on Victorian architecture, Deane and Woodward’s Venetian Gothic masterpiece is worthy of study both inside and out. The beautiful polychromatic interior and lush carvings are the key aspects of its appeal.
THE HUGH LANE GALLERY
TEMPLE BAR GALLERY & STUDIOS
Worth a visit solely for the wonderful building by McCullough Mulvin, there’s always something exciting going on in this centrally-located space. Since they generally show the work of one artist at a time in their ground-floor gallery, it’s perfect to pop in for a lunch-time browse. The exhibitions are wellcurated, with plenty of pamphlets and welcoming invigilators – which ensures that this is one gallery that actively encourages the visitor’s engagement with the work on display. I also feel the need to mention their excellent Supporter’s Club, which for an affordable price gets you access to exclusive talks and events. CLARA MURRAY
Dublin Galleries: A Guide
PROJECT ARTS CENTRE
This multidisciplinary arts centre in Temple Bar hosts a mix of visual art and performance. The variety of events and exhibitions is what makes Project Arts so exciting – recent events have included an operatic performance of Joyce’s The Dead and a series of lectures on the intersection of art and television. While Project displays work by the big names of the art world (2010 Turner Prize winner Susan Philipsz, for example), they have also historically nurtured the careers of emerging local artists. CLARA MURRAY
Since its official opening in 1991, IMMA has hosted a wide variety of exhibitions, from international artists to those closer to home. The exhibitions change quite quickly and can be anything from installation and video art to painting and drawing. As the home of the national collection of modern and contemporary art, it’s the perfect place to learn more about this hugely diverse and exciting body of work. The artworks are housed in the Royal Hospital, designed by William Robinson in 1864, and its accompanying grounds provide a place of beauty and tranquillity away from the city. IMMA is the perfect fusion of the past and present. IMOGEN FITZGERALD
THE ROYAL HIBERNIAN GALLERY
The RHA is an artist-led institution dedicated to supporting contemporary Irish artists through exhibition and education. It is also committed to bringing significant contemporary international art to Irish audiences. Since 1985 the RHA has been based at Ely Place in a building that houses five gallery spaces; three display curated exhibitions of Irish and international art, while the Ashford gallery showcases contemporary Irish artists that do not yet have commercial support in Dublin and the Dr. Tony Ryan gallery displays works from both public and private collections, including the RHA’s own collection. HAZEL SHAW
THE NATIONAL GALLERY DUBLIN’S SELECTION OF GALLERIES AND MUSEUMS IS WORLD-CLASS. WE HAVE ROUNDED UP OUR FAVOURITES - ALL WELL WORTH THE VISIT WHETHER YOU’RE NEW TO THE CITY OR JUST IN NEED OF A REFRESHER.
THE HUGH LANE
Sir Hugh Lane founded the gallery in 1908 to increase public participation in the contemporary arts in Dublin. Now a beautiful space filled with works by modern and contemporary artists, this gallery is a must-see. This is the gallery I visit with friends who are not particularly interested in the arts; there is something to appeal to everyone. It is small enough not to feel overwhelming and the gallery is laid out in an easily accessible manner. The gallery holds an amazingly rich collection for its size, so whether you love the Impressionists, Post-Impressionist and associated movements, or prefer the contemporary arts, The Hugh Lane is well worth the visit. ERICA GURNEE
The National Gallery of Ireland is currently celebrating its 150th year. The building is undergoing extensive renovations at present, but the masterpieces of the collection are still on display, as well as some temporary exhibitions. Lines of Vision, a show connecting literature and art, is opening in September. There are over 15,000 works in the permanent collection which spans from the 13th to the 20th century. Recent additions to the collection have largely been portraiture. The gallery has an extensive collection of Irish works and highlights of the European collection include works by Vermeer, Caravaggio and Monet. JENNIFFER DUFFY
THE CHESTER BEATTY
Located within Dublin Castle’s grounds, this beautiful museum is the perfect getaway from not only the city madness, but from Ireland as well. Filled with treasures from countries in Asia, North Africa, the Middle East and Europe, this museum holds a diverse collection of objects that showcase the richness of human expression from as early as 2700 BC. From manuscripts and sculpture to prints and drawings, this collection is one of a kind. Not only is the collection impressive in scope, the objects are also beautifully presented in the Castle’s eighteenthcentury Clock Tower Building. ERICA GURNEE NATIONAL GALLERY OF IRELAND, MILLENNIUM WING, ORIENTATION COURT. PHOTO © NATIONAL GALLERY OF IRELAND
A hidden gem on the North side of Dublin, the Joinery is a non-profit creative space in which artists, performers and musicians collaborate, work and exhibit. Since its establishment in 2007, the Joinery has consistently nurtured Dublin’s creative talents. Its focus is event-based works, often one-off events including performances, talks, gigs, and screenings in a refreshing addition to Dublin’s contemporary art scene. Unfortunately, the Joinery has recently announced that, after seven years, it will be closing its doors at the end of December. Its closure will be a sad loss for Dublin’s art scene, but they have described the upcoming programme as their “grand finale.” Our advice: experience the space before it’s too late. HAZEL SHAW
COPPER HOUSE GALLERY
The Copper House Gallery houses an exhibition space and a fine art printing press. The photographic and fine art printing studio has been in business for over thirty years, making it the longest established studio in Ireland. The gallery opened in 2011 and shows contemporary art that spans a range of styles, featuring an exciting mix of fine art, illustration, printmaking and photography. It is a commercial gallery, and prints of many of the works on display can be purchased. JENNIFFER DUFFY
Radical grooves IN THE FIRST OF OUR SERIES OF INTERVIEWS WITH YOUNG DUBLIN ARTISTS, OLEN BAJARIAS SPEAKS TO STEVEN MAYBURY
You had three exhibitions recently (‘Jigsaws, Combs and Rulers’ at Eight Gallery, ‘Groove Chronicles’ at Market Studios and ‘Radical Lines’ at Pallas Projects), the first followed immediately by the second, the second overlapping in schedule with the third. What was the reason for this, and can you talk about how the three exhibitions are similar and how they are different? The first exhibition was actually extended by the gallery it was in, allowing the three shows to be overlapped for 3 days, which was really nice. This work wasn’t supposed to be shown in three exhibitions, but shortly before the production of the work, it started to realise itself in three forms. At this point, it allowed me to think about more than one resolution to a project and how that can create a dialogue between the work. I ended up using three different gallery spaces in the city and resolving the communication of the works through the three different spaces. The shows were choreographed so that you didn’t have to see them all to understand the work, but instead they would give you a deeper understanding of my work and practice. It was great that they overlapped at one point as visitors were able to experience the shows one after another. Walking from one gallery to the next allowed time for reflection. Each show shared an aesthetic quality by virtue of
being made by the same artist, but at the same time, I experimented with materials, mediums and platforms that were unique to each show. This enabled interesting dialogue. All of the work for the exhibitions were formed and produced together in the my studio. So they grew and lived and communicated directly with each other for a while. The process of separating the works into the three shows became fundamental. I thought I had defined the works and exhibitions, but much changed to my surprise and It was this process that really defined the communication of the work. I learned a lot and really loved this process. Nothing is concrete until you have that beer in your hand at the exhibition opening. One thing that the exhibitions share is an interest in the process of recording, and records as artefacts. Why are you interested in them? I am very interested in the idea of change, and constant change at that. I approach the idea of things evolving and changing by examining scientific ideolo-
WORK FROM ‘GROOVE CHRONICLES’ ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
gies on energy transformation. In my work, I often like to take control and almost recode these artefacts and objects myself, basically making interventions. I oversimplify the process of change and I challenge the form of objects through complex reevaluations. For the three shows, I mostly used found objects like combs and rulers that I would find on the street. I was finding combs with missing teeth and rulers with broken edges – expired objects it seemed. I used this stumble upon approach as a process of seeing and began collecting such objects. When I manipulate or re-code the form of an object, it causes a drastic change in its narrative. But I like to have a physical record of the previous form of the object, in order to create a direct visual link when displayed next to its re-contextualised form. When I use objects as rulers and draw from them, this allows me to create an identity or representation of objects by creating a record of its current state as well as embedding that current state into the re-coding of the new form. This can be seen in the ink residue that remains on the objects after they have been transformed. What is your method of working? Do you keep a schedule or do you work sporadically? When there’s work to be made, I make it. I work a lot and like to produce a lot. But I don’t confine work only to the studio. I stroll around the streets, stare at walls, use on the internet, see shows or meet up with peers – these are all part of my method of working, so I’d say my work is more of a lifestyle. I never feel like I switch off. Do you have any rituals that you practice in the studio before/while/after working? I don’t know. I’ll have to get someone to watch my process to tell me – maybe I do. I listen to records while I work. I read an interview with the painter Michael Borremans recently and he has these mad
“I am very interested in the idea of change, and constant change at that” little rituals, like putting vodka in his coffee in the morning for an extra kick, and cracking open some nice wine or champagne when he finishes a piece to celebrate…and something about wearing a tie, I think. It just makes me like him even more, but I don’t think I’ve picked up any rituals myself…yet. You teach photography and take your own photographs. What interests you about the medium? Photography for me has always been a process. I take a lot of photographs but I don’t really exhibit my photography. I use photographs as a tool, as reference points. There is something about its distance from the subjects that I like and dislike. Photographs help me think, but I need to be physically making and manipulating things. You curate the book selection at PhotoIreland and The Library Project. How did this come about? As I mentioned, I’m very interested in the photograph and what it can do. Two years ago, I started an internship with The Library Project and PhotoIreland, and I haven’t left yet! It’s a very enjoyable project to be involved with. PhotoIreland is a very important festival, one of my favourite festivals in Ireland, and to be working with it is incredibly rewarding. What do you think of the current state of the photobook?
[CLOCKWISE] THE ARTIST IN HIS STUDIO; WORK FROM ‘JIGSAWS, COMBS AND RULERS’, AND ‘RADICAL LINE’
I’m a huge fan of photobooks, but with its recent popularity it has become a formula or recipe for photographers to make work. Some feel that they must have a book and a show, even though their work requires neither. Having said that, the nature of the photograph lends itself well to the book format. I’m curious to see how long the popularity of photobooks will last, since we’re seeing a lot of e-photobooks. coming out. You are also a founder and an editor of ESC, a visual art and literary zine. Why did you start it, and what are your aims with this publication? ESC is a zine format publication created in late 2011 by myself, artist Aine Belton, and my cousin, Jessica Maybury. It was an experimental platform for literature and art to not only co-exist, but to collaborate. We originally started ESC as an output for our own work, and for ideas that never had an outlet, but it has grown to include a number of artists and writers from around the world, as regular contributors – which is amazing. I think its modest format is what makes it so accessible. Working in ESC is really fun
and exciting. It’s also one of those projects where the process is key. We make zines, exhibitions, field recordings, lots of online stuff, documentaries, short videos, and we are currently in the process of making our first book. What excites you about the zines being produced in Ireland, and how do they compare elsewhere? I love the modesty of the zine format. It doesn’t ascribe to any rules or formats and there fore I think it can become a platform for anything. The other day I picked up a zine on bikes in Dublin called “Fellow”. I thought this was great. It was printed on newsprint. It’s a growing scene in Ireland, which is great, with zine fairs and exhibitions and even launches – which is a new thing for zines. People are really getting into self-publishing more and more. Maybe it’s reaction to the Internet, I’m not sure. But zines have a bit more of a following elsewhere. In Europe for instance, The Netherlands, Germa-
ny and France host some amazing zine libraries, archives and festivals! That’s something we’re looking into in The Library Project. Zines are an affordable and sometimes more accessible method of publishing for photographers and artists. [see p.20 for more on zines] Which contemporary artists should we keep our eyes on? If I had to name someone, I’d mention the Swiss duo, Nico Krebs and Taiyo Onorato. I love what they’re doing. I’m also enjoying watching what collectives are doing, like Basic Space in Dublin. I’m really interested in curators and what they’re doing. It’s re-
ally only a new profession that has expanded outside of museum studies in the last decade or so. I think this area will inform artists and their work heavily – especially how we view works of art. Are you working on any upcoming projects? I am indeed. Keeping very busy! I’m showing in Tulca Galway this November, which I’m very excited about. I’m also working towards a show or two next year. I am also involved with a few experimental curatorial projects, one of which will include a road trip! ESC has a few tricks up its sleeve. I’ll also continue to work with The Library Project.
Chelsea: good for the soul
WORDS: FIONN ROGAN PICTURES: SERGEY ALIFANOV
I was in New York about three weeks before I ventured down to Chelsea. You might ask, “What took you so long?” All I can reply is Christ knows, I suppose I was distracted. New York has a way of doing that. The city boasts an extraordinary quality whereby it makes the first-time visitor to the city gush with nostalgia. Its role as perhaps the most famous city in the world makes it both alien and familiar to the global punter. New York’s attraction may just come from this oxymoronic duality. Being the cultural capital of the world’s premier capitalist society, it shouldn’t surprise you that inequity snakes it way through the city rather obviously. By this stage I’ve grown tired of commenting on this feature of the city from a political or social perspective. However, from a purely aesthetic or ar-
chitectural point of view it is interesting to note the implications of this facet of the city on its buildings and streets. The Upper Eastside is predictably grand and impressive but is sandwiched between a rather scrappy Midtown and the noticeably poorer Harlem. The East Village occupies that strange space whereby one side of Bowery (a major vein of Manhattan) boasts cobbled streets that divide trendy gallery spaces from hip cafes, whilst the other side supports crumbling Edwardian homeless shelters, its broken contents littering the cracked footpaths. Chelsea is unusual by New York standards because it’s universally beautiful. Its cobbled streets flanked by impeccably kept three-story redbrick townhouses and mature leafy elms stretch out uninterrupted by busy
bodegas. Working on the Lower East Side, I found myself being drawn to the West Village every evening after work. To replace the frantic scrappiness of Bowery with the simple, solid visual splendour of Chelsea felt right. It was a necessary detox for the spirit and I felt revitalised as I ambled through its streets and avenues. The High Line, located between Chelsea’s Gansevoort Street and 20th Street, quickly became the final destination of my evening strolls. Originally built in the 1930s as a means to elevate dangerous freight trains from the bustling streets below, it fell into disrepair in the 1960s. Nature soon claimed the High Line, resulting in the rather surreal, self-sown aerial meadow, which stretches down through Chelsea. Man recolonised this urban meadow by 14
constructing the High Line Park, which opened in June 2009. Its architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, managed to design and build an urban aerial park that was sympathetic to both the High Line’s original history and its more recent reclamation. By including infrequent glimpses of the original tracks in the path alongside the wispy, leafy plants that ape the meadow of the 1980s, the architects managed to reference the High Line’s history whilst creating something new and fresh that complimented its Chelsea surroundings. New York is a spectacular city and I draw on the most basic meaning of that word when I say this. It is a spectacle, striking and moving. It is not always pretty but is always impressive; Chelsea is its great beauty spot and the High Line, its gem.
Art Collections OF TRINIT Y COLLEGE
WORDS: JENNIFFER DUFFY PICTURES: SERGE ALIFANOV
Artworks are a familiar sight around the campus of Trinity College Dublin, and they are part of a collection over 300 years in the making. Paintings are first recorded coming into the college’s collection in 1710, well before the founding of the National Gallery of Ireland in 1854. The earliest painting in the collection dates to the early 1600s. In its early stages, the collection was built up through a combination of commissions and bequests. Catherine Giltrap, curator of the TCD Art Collections, has noted the often commemorative function of a college collection, and this is particularly apparent in the early works in the collection. A bronze statue by John Henry Foley depicts Edmund Burke, who founded what was to become the Historical Society. The Dining Hall is adorned with portraits of former provosts. The older works in the collection testify to the history of an institution and honours the individuals who have helped shape it, a tradition continued with the recently commissioned Atoms and Apples (2013). This sculpture by Eilis O’Connell celebrates Nobel prize winning scientist Ernest Walton. Composed of spherical forms and surrounded by Irish apple trees, it not only reflects Walton’s work on splitting the atom, but also his passion for gardening.
Many significant bequests have been made to the college. In the 1740s, Dr Gilbert bequeathed money for fourteen marble busts of “men eminent for learning to adorn the Library.” These busts, including such figures as Aristotle, Homer, Milton and Shakespeare, remain on display in the Long Room of the Old Library. The Madden bequest gifted twenty works to the Provost’s House, largely of the Italian school but also including a work by Dutch artist Peter Lastman, best known for his role as Rembrandt’s teacher. The modern art collection was founded in 1959 by George Dawson, a well-travelled Genetics professor with a passion for art. Dawson introduced a College Gallery Art Hire scheme, which still functions today. This project is organised by a crossdisciplinary committee and allows staff and students with offices or rooms on campus to rent works from the collection. It aims to encourage a greater appreciation of art outside of gallery spaces and the development of a critical appraisal of art. The same principle applies to the display of art works in college buildings – staff and students are surrounded by fine examples of modern and contemporary art as part of their everyday learning experience. 15
RIGHT: ‘SFERA CON SFERA’, ARNALDO POMODORO LEFT, ABOVE: ‘ATOMS AND APPLES’, EILIS O’CONNELL LEFT, BELOW: STATUE OF EDMUND BURKE, JOHN HENRY FOLEY PREVIOUS PAGE: ‘BIG RED MOUNTAIN SERIES’, ANNE MADDEN
The College Gallery scheme began with reproductions of Old Master paintings. When funds became available for the purchase of oil paintings it was decided that Irish paintings should be prioritised. In 1963, The Irish Times commented that the College Gallery had ‘the most representative collection of modern Irish paintings in the country.’ Oil paintings by international artists were more expensive, thus these artists are represented in the collection through their graphic work – prints and artists’ posters. These works, including posters by Picasso and Matisse, were largely purchased by George Dawson and were loaned and later gifted to the collection. Currently modern and contemporary art accounts for over half of the collection. Sculptures on campus include Arnaldo Pomodoro’s Sfera con Sfera (1982-3) outside the entrance to the Berkley Library, a rotating sphere split to reveal its complex inner workings. An ambiguous piece, it is designed to respond to the surrounding architecture. Alexander Calder’s Catcus Provisoire (1967) is the only of his ‘stabile’ sculptures on public display in Europe. It mimics construction techniques with the use of rivets, and the welding of the ‘cut out’ forms. Both of these sculptures, by internationally renowned artists, were brought into the collection through the efforts of George Dawson. When the Berkeley Library opened in 1967, it included an exhibition space designed by Paul Koralek in which the College Gallery Committee, composed of volunteer students, organised shows. In 1969, the College Gallery held an exhibition of Picasso’s work, the first in Ireland. This is characteristic of the progressive approach of the College Art Collections towards promoting modern and contemporary art. Other exhibitions include Pop Art, African art, American banners, the college silver collection and retrospectives of Irish artists. In 1978 the college’s current exhibition space, The Douglas Hyde Gallery, was opened. This gallery was initially multi-disciplinary, but following collaboration with the Arts Council in the 1980s, art became its sole focus. It continues to be a leading venue for the display of contemporary art in Ireland.
Contemporary art has long been a priority of the modern collection. In the early 1980s, a series of exhibitions of work by emerging artists were organised by the College Gallery Committee, entitled Exposure. Many of the exhibitors are now well-known figures in the Irish art world – such as Michael O’Dea. The collection has always been supportive of new art, and Dawson often took risks in purchasing works by emerging artists. However, these artists are now noted as leading exponents of modernism in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The collection can be seen as highly representative of this period of Irish art, featuring works by such artists as Norah McGuinness, Mainie Jellet, Louis Le Brocquy and Evie Hone. Women artists were prominent in the establishment of Irish modernism, and this is reflected in the collection – an example is Anne Madden’s Big Red Mountains Series, currently displayed in the Arts Block. Dawson commented that he ‘never saw the educational value in bare walls’. Through the vision of Dawson and his successors, Professor David Scott, Dr Peter Cherry and Catherine Giltrap, a fresh and engaging collection of art has been amalgamated and the Trinity campus has plentiful examples of modern and contemporary art of a high calibre by renowned Irish and international artists. This coexists with the historical collection. Along with Professor Anne Crookshank, Dawson was also instrumental in establishing the History of Art Department in Trinity in 1966. Dawson’s passion for art and science has continued in Trinity with such projects as the innovative Science Gallery which explores the relationship between art, science and technology. Professor David Scott spoke of Dawson’s ‘flair, imagination and foresight combine[d] with....strength of will and toughness’. The enthusiasm of this man and his successors has resulted in a strong collection, which is of great academic and visual interest. The collection is currently being digitised, an ongoing project since 2008, and it is hoped the artworks will be accessible online by Summer 2015. For more info, see tcd.ie/artcollections. 17
Form & Function DYLAN COBURN GREY EXPLORES THE CREATIVE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LE CORBUSIER AND EXPERIMENTAL COMPOSER IANNIS XENAKIS
Iannis Xenakis’ life story is an Oscarbait biopic waiting to happen. He memorised Mozart’s Requiem in its entirety before he was sixteen; aged eighteen, fighting in the Second World War, he got hit in the face by an unexploded shell which nearly killed him; alive but blind in one eye, he nonetheless graduated as a civil engineer in 1947; having graduated, he fled to France to avoid being imprisoned in a concentration camp by the new Greek government. A busy old time of it, all in all.
Xenakis settled into his new French life with a job in the Le Corbusier architecture studio. He also became a world-famous avant-garde composer, presumably out of boredom. After being shot in the face by a tank, I’d imagine that any job is something of an anticlimax. Architecture and music are, at first blush, not at all alike; Xenakis was an interesting man – all fighting and cussing aside – because he approached them in the same way. This is not conjecture; the man himself was very helpful and laid out his philosophy of music in the 1960 essay, Free Stochastic Music. Central to this essay is a disaffection with the dominant musical trend of the time, towards musical structures which were rigorously worked out but sounded random. Xenakis, in contrast, argues that the moment-to-moment action of a work can be semi-random once the global trend is determined or directed. Metastaseis B, a composition of his from 1953, illustrates how this might be applied to music (and eventually architecture). I do recommend you listen to this one, if only because it treats pitch in a novel way. The global form is determined not by specific pitches and pitch events, but by an overall pitch profile which rises and falls.
FIG 1 - HYPERBOLIC PARABOLOID
MAIN: IANNIS XENAKIS ABOVE: LE CORBUSIER
The profile in question outlines a geometric body called a hyperbolic paraboloid, which sounds scarier than it is. ‘Pringle-shaped’ means the same thing in five fewer syllables. In Figure 1, you can see that the HP is drawn between sets of points on parallel planes. On both those planes, the points are generated by iteration of an up/down and left/right transposition, and the two planes’ respective algorithms are independent of each other. Pitch, as already mentioned, is one of the ‘planes’ in which Xenakis plots points. If you listened to the opening of Metastaseis, you’ve heard another musical parameter with which Xenakis draws curves: volume. We know, too, that he thought in terms of paraboloid curves because the score looks like this. Figure 2 shows how pitch and volume both tend upwards but operate at distinct rates of change, meaning that the resultant soundshape is perceptible but not entirely predictable. Global complexity arises from the interaction of simple, local, operations. This type of micro-macro relationship is what allowed Xenakis to make his music formally coherent in the way he wanted; because every sound we hear in Metastaseis realises this global structure, it is simultaneously structural and sensual, functional and decorative. Here, Xenakis parallels architect Louis Sullivan’s dictum that ‘form follows function’, for all that music is not literally functional in the same way as a building. You can’t hold a meeting in Beethoven’s Ninth. A reductive take on this idea might characterise it as anti-beauty, because it is anti-ornament; at least as far as Xenakis goes, this is inaccurate. Rather, as discussed above, beauty needs to be integrated into the work, rather than layered on top of the nuts and bolts.
FIG 3 - SKETCHES FOR THE PHILIP’S PAVILION
There is reason to believe, too, that other besides Xenakis felt what Sullivan articulated. Roughly around the time of Metastaseis, Polish architect Arsenius Romanowicz designed the Warsaw Ochota train station with a single, hyperbolic paraboloid curve as its roof. The shape is not significant or Modernist per se; I’m not going to try prove that Pringles are an instance of form over function. In this instance and time period, though, it is indicative of the criteria the designer is bringing to bear. A smooth, interesting surface is created from the interaction of straight beams, without any ‘added’ ornament; it’s not just that it’s functional and sensual, the functional is sensual. More relevant and more famous, perhaps, is a Le Corbusier design which also centres on the paraboloid; moreover, Xenakis was instrumental in its conception. The Philips Pavilion was intended as a celebration – by the Philips Corporation – of postwar technological advances, to be filled with sound and visual art. It is contemporaneous with Metastaseis, and exhibits the same kind of gradual organic change as the musical work. This is not coincidence; as a comparison of Corbusier’s sketches (below) with the score (above) illustrates; they are remarkably similar. In Figure 3, as with Metastaseis, the decorative aspects of the design arise naturally from the structural aspects. And now for the twist: it’s not just the same type of geometric body they share, building and music are both based on the same algorithm. They use the same co-ordinates, the only difference being that one is plotted in architectural space and the other in musical time. Looking at the Pavilion, we see Metastaseis; listening to Metastaseis, we hear the Pavilion.
FIG 2 - SCORE OF METASTASEIS B
Rolling up Gardiner Street towards North Circular, stumbling into a world of lonely tenement buildings and empty discount electrical shops, you’ll discover a grotty little alley that wouldn’t look out of place in the pages of Frank Miller. In this alley is Seomra Spraoi, Dublin’s autonomous social centre which hosts, among other things, local political groups, a restaurant and a dedicated bike workshop. It is also where you’ll find the Forgotten Zine Archive. For those who don’t know, zines are any kind of independently produced work of text or images with a very small circulation, traditionally made with a hard-line DIY ethos that involves a pen, photocopier and a long arm stapler. The Forgotten Zine Archive houses over 2000 zines, many dating from the 1980s. Run by a small group of volunteers, it has been collecting, displaying and protecting these for over ten years. It is the only dedicated, publicly accessible zine library in the country. The archive, along with its sister project, The Dublin Zine Collective, which prints zines at cost price, has become a permanent supporter of zine culture in the city. Looking around, you may wonder where the hell this zine culture is. The truth is zines could never be accurately described as popular. But every now and then some event pops up, commanded by a group of in-your-face artists, loud feminists and the odd librarian to make sure you know exactly what zine culture is. One such event is the Dublin Zine fair. Running since 2011, they have been shoving zines and other pretty little self-published beauties in your general vicinity every summer. Last month they displayed their wares in The Centre for Creative Practices on Pembroke Street. Looking at their displays I couldn’t help notice the difference between their zines and those stocked in the archive. Tom Maher, one of the librarians at the zine archive, explains that in recent years, spurred by the dawn of the internet and every spotty teenager downloading Photoshop, zines have become more entwined with arts and crafts, illustration and comics: “Zines have become much more an exercise in design than they had ever previously been. I can't make my mind up if that's because all the fairweather zinesters have simply migrated to the internet, meaning that zines are a choice now rather than a necessity, or if it's because people are just generally becoming more design savvy.” This was quite evident at the fair, where a number of zines focused a great deal on a heavy art aesthetic rather than the heavy text format common to the archive. Perzines (personal zines) and comics seemed to be more prevalent than the traditional hobbyist zines, fanzines and political zines. Blogging, Twitter, Tumblr and other social media have taken over the role that zines held. A new generation have appropriated zines. They focus on InDesign constructed layouts, scanned pen drawings, some beautifully bound with twine and a tendency to retreat from the standard 80 g/sm page weight. While
The Dublin Zine Archive WORDS: COFFEE BLACK PHOTOS: COFFEE BLACK + LOU WALKER ILLUSTRATION: PATRICK MURPHY
“ ZI N ES A R E T HE PU R EST FOR M OF MEDI A BECAUSE A N YON E CA N DO T HEM”
argues that zines should always comment on political or social issues: “Zines are the purest form of media because anyone can do them and [they] should be used to comment about the important stuff mainstream media won’t”. A recent favourite of mine is Lou Walker’s Goorth Barks and the legend of Croak Park - a satirical look at how bizarre and sweeping the Garth Brooks concert scandal became. I am also looking at one titled It’s a disgrace Joe: Moral Panics on Irish Radio. Another zine is over twenty years old and is written by Dublin Bus drivers. These zines are an example of how specific and localised the focus of one’s work can be,so as to make the reachability offered by the internet unnecessary. By crafting these seemingly mundane and niche topics into tactile objects, they can be transformed into a unique physical expression of someone’s bizarre idiosyncratic relationship with his environment – zines say more about the author than the topic. Like the archive, zines often go forgotten, lost in grotty alleyways and overshadowed by mainstream media. Their lack of popularity has become their defining feature. Any zine that becomes mainstream ceases to be a zine because it has lost its ‘alternative’ character. What may be viewed as a disadvantage has becomes an advantage, so if you want to support zine culture, buy a zine – just don’t tell anyone.
the format has shifted, zines have always been anticommercial, political and social devices. The question is: has this ethos also translated to modern day zine making? While many zines that dealt with these issues have found a home on the internet, some still find zines a necessity when it comes to traceability, since anonymity online can be difficult. The converse is also true: a zine that has the author’s name stamped on it makes the group/author more intimately known instead of being a bookmarked page, lost in the depths of Google Chrome. The Dublin based anarcha-feminist-collective RAG publishes a zine in this manner to raise awareness of their views, most notably concerning the ongoing abortion rights campaign. Patrick Murphy, who writes It’s Horrible Having A Head and is behind the Iamdestroyer comic, 21
THE ARTI$T IS PR£S€NT
WORDS: CLARA MURRAY ILLUSTRATION: DAISY KINAHAN MURPHY + NOTES BY VISTORS TO 512 HOURS
How do you know an artist has made it? While Marina Abramović , the self-styled ‘grandmother of performance art’, has been feted by the art world since the 70’s - winning the Golden Lion at 1997 Venice Bienalle - it’s only recently that she’s attracted the kind of media coverage and celebrity fans that capture the attention of the general public. With 512 Hours, her most recent installation at the Serpentine Gallery, it’s become almost impossible to escape her. The concept of 512 Hours was simple. Abramovic wandered the gallery from 10am to 6pm, six days a week, for a cumulative 512 hours. As with her 2010 MOMA performance, The Artist is Present, Abramovic herself was the main draw for the crowds. Visitors were invited to engage in simple tasks alongside the artist, like sorting peas from lentils. Drawing largely on the techniques of mindfulness, the durational performance has drawn equal parts praise and derision. Many who visited spoke of an almost transcendental experience, while others criticised its overtones of new-age self-help practices. Either way, it has received an extraordinary amount of attention and coverage. It even inspired its very own (spot-on) canine parody, Marina Abramopug. Her much-publicised relationship with fellow performance artist Ulay is yet more evidence of her talent for self-promotion. The documentary which accompanied her MOMA retrospective, also titled The Artist Is Present, showed Ulay sitting opposite Marina, capturing an intimate yet very public moment of reunion - supposedly the first time they had met since parting with typical dramatic flair atop the Great Wall of China in the 80s. However, this narrative has been disputed by the curator Klaus Biesenbach, saying that
they had met sporadically throughout the years and that Ulay had in fact been their “guest of honour” at the opening of the retrospective. That hasn’t stopped the clip of their ‘reunion’ from being widely shared online. With this level of public awareness has come celebrity fans (she has worked with Jay Z, Lady Gaga and James Franco, among others) and, inevitably, the corporate tie-ins. Performance art from its real beginnings in the 60s has always been a reaction against the over-commercialized art market. A performance can’t be bought or sold, or hoarded away in a Saatchi warehouse. It’s therefore unsettled many fans to hear of her collaborations with Illy and Adidas, for whom she created a short advertisement with overbearing themes of co-operative work, called ‘Work’. Abramovic has defended these big-business collaborations, saying: “In the old days if you see who was sponsoring art it was the popes, and aristocracy and the kings and now it’s industry, and this is reality.” While this is of course both pragmatic and true, I worry that the really interesting aspects of her work have been lost in this veneer of celebrity. 2005’s Seven Easy Pieces, for instance, is much less discussed, but arguably much more interesting in the context of the field of performance art. In addition, I would argue that one of her earliest works, Rhythm 0, may be one of the most striking and thought-provoking works of performance since the medium’s inception. Perhaps her own thoughts on fellow artistslash-genius-marketer Damien Hirst are most apt here: “Good artist, incredible business man.”
The LAB, brought to you by Dublin City Council, is pleased to present
QUATERNION QUEST Aisling O’Beirn in collaboration with Prof Luke Drury
Preview: Thursday 11 September 2014, 6pm – 8pm Exhibition runs until: Wednesday 15 November 2014 Culture Night Friday 19 September: Free events including music from Fight Like Apes, exhibition tours of new shows by Saidhbhín Gibson and Aisling O’Beirn and Niamh Shaw’s new production To Space For full programme of events including Culture Night see www.thelab.ie, artist’s website: www.aislingobeirn.com The LAB A: Foley Street, Dublin 1 T: 01 222 5455 E: email@example.com W: www.thelab.ie T: @LabDCC F: facebook.com/TheLABGalleryDublin 23
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