The Visual Artists’ News Sheet issue 1 January – February 2015 Published by Visual Artists Ireland Ealaíontóirí Radharcacha Éire
The Turner Prize Socio-sonic Textures Belfast Open Studios MAC International Award VAI / DCC Art Writing Award: Attentive Festivalisation by Rebecca O’Dwyer Creative Time Summit Jochen Gertz Damir Ocko Art & Activism Debra Bowden Sinead McDonald Nom Nom Collective Nina Fisher & Maroan el Sani Duncan Campbell Foundation14 Deutsche Bank Ireland Art Collection Contemporary Art in Brussels DLR Artists’ Network
AUTUMN /2015 WINTER SPRING 2014 COSMIC DUST OR AN I NTERI
Rudolf Steiner, Anita Groener, Martin Healey, Brian King, Chris Fite Wassilak, Ruth Lyons, Mark Cullen and Remco de Fouw. Featuring George Melies film Le January Voyage dans 12 September - 11 2015la Lune (1902) Main Gallery
MARY MC IN T Y R E
24 January–17 May 2015 Ground Floor Galleries
FOR TH E B I R DS
VISUAL TALKS: COSMIC SE AN LYN C H THOUGHTS An of discussion artists 2015 Anita Groener, 12afternoon September - 11 with January Lucy McKenna, Remco De Fouw, Martin Healey and Ruth Studio and Link Gallery Lyons; scientist and theatre-maker, Niamh Shaw; Curator of Cosmic Dust, Emma-Lucy O’ Brien and John Clarke, Anthroposophist and John Cage expert.
T WO V I EW S OF CARLOW
21 March 2.30pm, Free
AD AM BOHAN N A The Floating & FRAN K O World M EA R A 6 September Clare Langan - 3 January 2015 Digital Gallery 13 January- 3 May 2015
CO NFETALKSRE NCEPLACE POETRY & IMAGE VISUAL
E N CI RCLI N G WO RL D S : I MAG I N I N G I R I S H SUBUR B I A
Clare Langan in conversation with Orla Ryan on the making of The Floating World and Langan’s practice, with a special recital by poet Kerry Hardy, in partnership with Poetry Ireland. 21 March 2.30pm, Free
12 - 13 September 2014
Carlow College and VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art
For further information contact Box Office 00353 (0)59 9172400
For further information contact Box Office 00353 (0)59 9172400
OPENING OPENINGTIMES: TIMES:
Tuesday 11am-5.30pm Tuesday-Saturday - Saturday 11am - 5.30pm, Sunday 2.00-5.00pm Sunday 2.00 - 5.00pm CENTRE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART & THE GEORGE BERNARD SHAW THEATRE
Old Dublin Road, Carlow T: 059 9172400 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.visualcarlow.ie
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
September – October 2014
Happy New Year and welcome to the January / February 2015 edition of the Visual Artists’ News Sheet. As is
1. Cover Image. Nom Nom Collective, Ropey Smurf , paint and ink on repurposed album cover.
perhaps customary this time of year, in this issue we both consider events from the previous year and look
5. Roundup. Recent exhibitions and projects of note.
ahead to future developments and posibilities.
5. Column. Jonathan Carroll. Fag Ends.
In October, Visual Artists Ireland hosted the first citywide open studios event in Belfast. This major
6. Column. Linda O’Keefe. Socio-sonic Textures.
event is profiled on page 12. VAI also recently facilitated a visit to Ireland by Bea de Sousa, Director of the
7. Column. Mark Fisher. A Time for Shadows.
Agency Gallery, London. De Sousa offers her thoughts on the need for the Irish visual arts sector to think
8. News. The latest developments in the visual arts sector.
8. VAI News. Research, projects and campaigns.
This issue features the essay Attentive Festivalisation by Rebecca O’Dwyer, winner of the 2014 VAI / DCC
9. Regional Focus. Visual arts resources and activity in Wicklow.
Critical Art Writing Award. O’Dwyer’s text explores the idea of ‘placeboundness’ in relation to large-scale
12. VAI Event. Belfast Open Studios. A profile on the Belfast Open Studios event.
festival-type presentations of visual art.
14. MAC International. Archives & Time Machines. Hugh Mulholland interviews Mairead McClean, winner of the inaugural MAC International Award.
We are also delighted to feature interviews with Duncan Campbell and Mairead McClean, the respective winners of the 2015 Turner Prize and the inaugural MAC International Award. Columnist Linda O’Keefe reports on ‘Audio Fabric: Socio-Sonic Textures in the Real World’, the 2014
16. VAI / DCC Critical Art Writing Award. Attentive Festivalisation. Rebecca O’Dwyer, winner of the 2014 VAI
/ DCC Critical Art Writing Award discusses festivalisation.
ISSTA convocation and Mark Fisher argues the case for spaces of real-time reflection “beyond the hyper-
18. Art in Public. Art is Always Unfinished Business. Jonathan Carroll reports on the ‘Creative Time Summit’
bright instant” in our networked digital age. Jonathan Carroll’s column offers a compendium of ideas and
observations on the various events from the end of 2014.
19. Critique. Damir Ocko, TBG+S; Art & Activism, Fire Station Artists’ Studios; Debra Bowden, Toradgh
Jonathan Carroll also reports on the Creative Time Summit, which was held in Stockholm and screened
and ‘Jochen Gertz: Participation, Commemoration & Public Space’. Gallery; Sinead McDonald, Draiocht; Nom Nom Collective, White Lady Gallery.
live in Dublin, and the IMMA conference ‘Jochen Gertz: Participation, Commemoration & Public Space’,
23. How is it Made? Blind Spots & Future Memories. Barry Kehoe talks about exhibiting the work of Nina
which addressed debates around the decade of commemorations, including 2016.
Case study features in this issue include reports on: DLR Artists Network; the Foundation14 festival
Fisher and Maroan el Sani.
24. Project Profile. Duncan Campbell. IMMA Director Sarah Glennie talks to Turner Prize winner Duncan
in Tullamore; Fingal Arts Office residencies in Portrane and Howth. Other features include: curator Barry
Kehoe discussing exhibiting work by Nina Fisher and Maroan el Sani at Mart, Dublin; artist Jaki Irvine and
26. Residency Profile.Still Life in Mobile Homes. Sarah Allen profiles two residencies supported by Fingal
curator Alistair Hicks interviewed about Deutsche Bank Ireland’s art collection; and Claire Power, former
Director of Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin looking at the contemporary art scene in her new base
27. VAI West Of Ireland Representative. Lateral Approaches. Aideen Barry looks at new supports for artist-
Critique features reviews of exhibitions by: Damir Ocko, TBG+S, Dublin; Debra Bowden, Toradgh
Campbell. Council, and the exhibitions / events that emerged from them. led spaces outside normal funding structures.
28. Festival Profile. Artistic Foundations. Brendan Fox profiles Foundation14 in Tullamore.
Gallery, Ashbourne; Sinead McDonald, Draiocht, Blanchardstown; Nom Nom Collective, White Lady
29. Commission Profile. Transcending Borders. Lily Power talks to Jaki Irvine and Alistair Hicks about
Gallery, Dublin; and the new publication from Fire Station Artists’ Studio titled Art & Activism.
Deutsche Bank Ireland’s new aquisition and art collections policy.
All this and more, including exhibition and public art roundups, the latest news from the sector and
30. VAI Professional Development. Towards a New Hybridity. Bea de Sousa discusses her visit to Ireland.
31. Career Development. Complex, Incomplete & Thriving. Claire Power looks at the contemporary art scene
in her new home of Brussels.
32. IVARO. Taking the License. Alex Davis emphasises the importance of artist copyright.
32 VAI NI Manager. ACNI Cuts. Rob Hilken discusses cuts to the arts in Northern Ireland. 33. Organisation Profile. A Mission to Progress. Sara Hanley profiles the DLR Artists’ Network.
34. Public Art Roundup. Public art commissions, site-specific works, socially engaged practice and various other forms of art outside the gallery. 35. Opportunities. All the latest grants, awards, exhibition calls and commissions. 36. VAI Professional Development. Current and upcoming workshops, peer reviews and seminars.
Production: Editor: Jason Oakley. Assistant Editor: Lily Power. News & Opportunities: Niamh Looney. Invoicing: Bernadette Beecher.
Visual Artists Ireland provides practical support, services, information & resources for professional visual artists throughout their careers. Republic of ireland
Standard €50 / Concessions €25
Standard £44 / Concessions £22
Discounted Direct Debit Rates
Discounted Standing Order Rates
Standard €48 / Concessions €24
Standard £43 / Concessions £20
Britain Standard (no concession) £44
Europe & Rest of World Standard (no concession) €70
T: (00353) 01 672 9488 E: email@example.com www.visualartists.ie/join
Contributors: Linda O’Keefe, Jonathan Carroll, Mark Fisher, Rebecca O’Dwyer, Lily Power, Bea de Sousa, Rob Hilken, Aideen Barry, Alex Davis, Claire Power, Hugh Mulholland, Barry Kehoe, Sarah Allen, Brendan Fox, Anne Mullee, Emer Marron, Carissa Farrell, Sarah Lincoln, Mary Catherine Nolan, Donna Carroll, Helen G. Blake, Raine Hozier Byrne, James Morrisson, Niamh O’Donnell, Emma O’Dwyer, Mairead McClean, Jaki Irvine, Alistair Hicks, Sara Hanley, Duncan Campbell, Sarah Glennie. Contact: Visual Artists Ireland, Ground Floor, Central Hotel Chambers, 7–9 Dame Court, Dublin 2 T: 353(0)1 672 9488 F: 00353(0) 1 672 9482 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.visualartists.ie Board of Directors: Linda Shevlin (Chair), Maoiliosa Reynolds, Roger Bennett, Susan MacWilliam, Linda Shevlin, Fergus Martin, Niamh McCann, Donall Curtin. Staff: CEO / Director: Noel Kelly. Office Manager: Bernadette Beecher. Publications Manager: Jason Oakley. Assistant Editor: Lily Power. Advocacy Programme Officer: Alex Davis. Professional Development Officer: Monica Flynn. Communications Officer: Niamh Looney. Book-keeping: Dina Mulchrone. Listings Editor / Membership Assistant: Adrian Colwell. Northern Ireland Manager: Rob Hilken (email@example.com). West of Ireland Represenetative: Aideen Barry (firstname.lastname@example.org). The views expressed in this publication, unless otherwise indicated, do not necessarily reflect those of the Editors, Editorial Panel or Visual Artists Irelands’ Board of Directors. Visual Artists Ireland is the registered trading name of The Sculptors’ Society of Ireland. Registered Company No. 126424.
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
artists were: Mathias Baumann, Raine
sexuality, consciousness, identity, archi-
Hozier Byrne, Anne Crossey, Sinéad
tecture, power and nostalgia”.
Cullen, Jo Cummins, Gavin Hogg, Brian
Horgan, Jackie Hudson Lalor, Daire Irwin, Seanán Kerr, Kirsti Kotilainen, Deepa
Forgive me in advance for a rather disjointed column. The time that I’m writing this is the moment that the hourglass is being turned – watching bits of the past year fall into the new one. There are a lot of thoughts that I didn’t get down on paper in the last year, lots of ideas that never became solid, shows not made, articles not written, ideas not shared and many exhibitions and talks not applauded or commentated upon. What follows is a small compendium.
Lines of Negotiation
Mann-Kler, Alison McKenna, Frances Mezzetti, Eleonore Nicolas, Inez Nordell, Seán O’Dwyer, Geraldine O’Sullivan, Mary O’Sullivan, Nuala O’Sullivan, Iris Park, Dave Rock, Sandra Schoene and Mary Tritschler.
Size Matters I was disappointed by the quality of presentation of the Hennessy Portrait Prize exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland (until 8 February 2015). There are certain movies that you need to see on the big screen – Gravity, The Road, 2001: A Space Odyssey (OK, any Stanley Kubric film) – so it was especially jarring to see John Beattie’s An Artist, the Studio and All the Rest… (Part 1) (2014) in a scaled-down version on a modest flat screen A/V set-up. It was displayed at the RHA, Dublin (15 November – 21 December 2012) in its true incarnation: as a cinematically-scaled HD video installation with surroud-sound. The NGI display format removed these essential aspects and thus the impact and ambition of the original work. It’s a pity, as the Hennessy Prize is quite significant: €15,000 plus a €5000 commission from the NGI. It could have been a chance to do something more ambitious. It’s perhaps not an entirely fair comparison, but something along the scale of the Turner Prize (£25,000) re-stagings of recent exhibitions and projects for which the nominated artists were selected would have been wonderful to see. In my opinion, none of the other nominees had the ambition to work on the scale that John Beattie was trying to achieve. But, then again, size not being everything, one could argue the winning work, Nick Millar’s Last Sitting, Portrait of Barrie Cooke (2013), possessed a direct poetic simplicity. The painting is a visceral and compact representation of a very human encounter. Placed close to Millar’s work was a photographic work by Erin Quinn featuring up-and-coming artist Adam Gibney. This piece represented the other end of the career scale. Gibney was about to feature in the ‘Futures’ exhibition at the RHA the next night and was also showing at the Joinery, Dublin. Correction / Reversal When I wrote my last column – To theme or not to theme – I was tired after tramping around yet another unsuitable art space in a derelict building. But that was before I saw the exhibition ‘La Disparition des Lucioles (The Disappearance of the Fireflies)’ at the Collection Lambert’s temporary home housed in the prison Sainte Anne in Avignon (on show until 2015). The exhibition features work by more than 116 artists, taken from the Enea Righi and Lambert collections. The title is borrowed from a text published by Pasolini in 1975 in the Corriere and, according to the Lambert’s exhibition guide, the title “will impregnate visitors’ entire collection tour; indeed, this exhibition is meant to be a sensorial experience in which the memory-steeped locations and their hosted artworks will come together and interact in the manner of the Italian director’s beloved fireflies. The theme of imprisonment will naturally be evoked, as well as the passage of time, solitude and love”. Only the French would risk using a term like impregnate. In fact I did feel rather bloated on leaving, but in a good way. Some of the works were obvious choices – Ai Weiwei’s marble surveillance cameras, for example – but we also got historical gems such as Piranesi’s The Imaginary Prisons (Carceri), which worked wonderfully well with the original architectural plans of the purpose-built eighteenth-century prison. Talk Talk I went to more talks and seminars in 2014 than I care to remember and was struck by the various means now used to engage with audiences and to connect with those not able to attend in person. At preview screenings of the film version of Colin Murphy’s play The Guarantee (on view across Ireland from 30 October) – an imagining of what happened on the night of the bank guarantee – featured a live feed of a roundtable discussion. This included the projection of audience tweets, accompanied by a large projection of each tweeter’s face. It was a nice idea and certainly something that could be considered in contemporary art discussions, as it allowed people who might not feel comfortable with the ubiquitous roving mic to take part. At the Dublin Web Summit (4 – 6 November) I saw a lot of slick effort put into the talks, which were at the centre of the event. The main arena held 5500 people and you could also tune in via live Internet streaming. Another thing you will never hear me complain about again is the entrance price to an art event. The Web Summit tickets were up to €1525! My Art Lot Dublin team were given complimentary tickets in exchange for guiding one of the many pub crawls as part of the Night Summit. This price guaranteed that you saw very few stragglers in the crowds teaming around the RDS. €40 into an art fair doesn’t seem that bad now after all.
Group Portrait with Explosives
Kiera O’Toole, ‘Lines of Negotiation’, 2014
Kiera O’Toole’s exhibition ‘Lines of Negotiation’ ran at the Centre for Creative
Exhibition image for ‘Selective Memory’
Practices, Dublin (13 – 21 Nov). As a returning migrant, O’Toole is interested
The Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork held
in the politics of identity and the idea of
a group exhibition (1 Nov – 15 Mar) fea-
re-negotiating this through drawing. In
turing work by Zbynek Baladrán, Paulien
the press release, the artist describes how
Barbas, David Raymond Conroy, Dani
she used “drawing as a method of
Gal, Ruth Maclennan, Mike Mandel and Larry Sultan, Lucy McKenzie, Marge
analysing multiple stratas of knowledge, Declan Clarke, still from Group Portrait with Explosives
Monko, Gavin Murphy, Alan Phelan,
stices inherent in personal, cultural and
Anne Ramsden, Jasper Rigole, Valerie
Declan Clarke’s film work Group Portrait
Snobeck, Sean Snyder and Miek
with Explosives was screened at Mother’s
Zwamborn. The press release described
Tankstation, Dublin (12 Nov – 20 Dec). In
how ‘Selective Memory: Artists in the
this work, Clarke combined research
Archive’ explored the archive as a space
techniques, sophisticated narrative and
for critical engagement and creative
filmic skills, “often delving into complex
invention, looking at “the ways in which
and culturally abstruse material,” the
Irish and international artists continual-
press release stated, “and invisibly welds
ly return to the archive, in order to imbue
it to real histories, with universal rele-
it with a new sense of subjectivity and
vance but initiated from the core of his
personal life and family narratives”. glucksman.org
articulat[ing] the deeply emotive interdiaspora identities”. cfcp.ie
John Michael Dwyer’s exhibition ‘Bog
Cliona Harmey, section of image transmission from NOAA 18, 2014
Bodies’ was shown at South Tipperary Arts Centre (16 Oct – 1 Nov). Dwyer’s
Dublin City Gallery, the Hugh Lane pre-
work, the press release stated, “uses the
sented the group exhibition ‘Phoenix
Irish landscape as a catalyst to investigate
Rising: Art and Civic Imagination’ (6 Nov
issues of permanence and temporality.
– 9 Mar), which comprised work by
The body acts as a symbol of both because
Stephen Brandes, Mark Clare, Cliona
of its preservation within a constantly changing environment”. The colour pal-
Mike Kelley, Primal Architecture, 1995, courtesy of Museum Ludvig and Mike Kelley
ette used throughout the show creates a
Harmey, Vagabond Reviews, Stéphanie Nava and Mary-Ruth Walsh. Each artist responded to the urban environment
sinister undercurrent to the dreamlike
IMMA’s winter programme featured the
“using different strategies to understand
topography of the Irish landscape and an
first major exhibition in Dublin of the
and represent the city,” the press release
eerie atmosphere, which references more
work of Irish-born artist Duncan
stated. The show’s title references
recent disappearances in Ireland.
Campbell (8 Nov – 29 Mar), a nominee
Dublin’s 1914 Civic Exhibition, which
for the 2014 Turner Prize. Combining
was inspired by the work of Scottish
archival and filmed material Campbell’s
biologist, sociologist and planner Patrick
films “question our reading of the docu-
Geddes and which attempted to re-imag-
mentary form as a fixed representation of
ine Dublin as “the phoenix of cities”.
Group Ego Trip 1
reality, opening up the boundaries
between the actual and the imagined, record and interpretation”, the press
release stated. This solo exhibition comprised four of his major film works. Multi disciplinary group show ‘Primal Architecture’ also ran (8 Nov – 1 Mar) and featured work by: Kevin Atherton, Jeremy Deller, Jesse Jones, Mike Kelley, Linder, Conrad Shawcross and Nuala O’Sullivan, Two Sisters
Bedwyr Williams. Borrowing its title from Mike Kelley’s iconic work, this
Multi-disciplinary arts collective Idir
exhibition brought together works by
(from the Irish for ‘between’) exhibited
both international and Irish artists who
work at the New York Foundation for the
explore, the press release noted, “elabo-
Arts (9 Oct – 30 Jan). The participating
rate on notions of pseudo-autobiography,
Dermot Seymour, Grey Hare
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
Dermot Seymour presented an exhibi-
Pamela de Brí’s exhibition ‘Midland 2/Lár
tion of new work at Kevin Kavanagh
Tíre 2’ ran at the Linenhall Arts Centre,
Gallery, Dublin (20 Nov – 20 Dec) titled
Castlebar, Co. Mayo (21 Nov – 17 Jan) as
part of the Midland Project. The project,
described how Seymour found comfort
which began in 2011, takes inspiration
in the landscape during his childhood in
from the culture and heritage of the rail-
Belfast and continues to use it in his
ways and their location, focusing partic-
work. “His view of this landscape, even
ularly on the Midland Great Western
with the placement of utilitarian struc-
Railway, which traversed Ireland from
tures, becomes unsettled by the interfer-
east to west. De Brí’s multimedia installa-
ence of people, monuments and appro-
tion comprised photographs, notebooks,
priated symbols that are inured with a
maps, prints, audio clips and video. In the
stark and frightening power when placed
press release she explained her interest in
outside of their usual context”.
“the convergence of art and social docu-
The 2014 Irish Sound, Science and Technology Association (ISSTA) convocation took place at Maynooth University (28 – 29 August). The theme for the event was ‘Audio Fabric: Socio-Sonic Textures in the Real World’. Via a call-out participants were invited to consider the societal impact of creative practices on the wider community. This was a big idea to consider, as often it is difficult to reflect on the impact one’s art has beyond the boundary of the art world. Within the exhibition / installation area of submissions, several works addressed very particular societal problems in unique ways. For example, using technology seen in the realm of film and gaming media, such as 3D visuals and surround sound as well as interactivity. Moritz Fehr’s Mohave (A Person was here), an experimental documentary using stereoscopic 3D film with surround sound, addressed notions of loss and absence through a series of images and accompanying ghostly sounds. Contemporary stereoscopic art tends to offer a playful view of the ‘image’, where bold colours and the effect of three-dimensionality exist only for the effect. However, Fehr’s work follows the tradition of Victorian stereoscopic art, where the image is presented from two points of view: the large projected blurry image is seen when you first enter the room, accompanied by an eerie soundscape; it then comes into focus when you wear the 3D glasses. The impact of this new depth suddenly gives the soundscape clarity. You have the sense of entering the empty, lost and lonely landscape. The colours, which seem subdued, become vivid, alive, and the soundscape suddenly loses its ambiguity. This gestalt effect – the mind finding meaning in the sound only when the image becomes clear – seems conceptually linked to foregrounding or bringing awareness to missing people or communities and lost landscapes. Phil Hayes and Darren Kirwan’s signal:noise and Strange Attractor’s (Mikael Fernström and Sean Taylor) City of Vultures, took on wide socio-cultural commentary. Hayes and Kirwan’s video installations – three TV screens playing snapshots of historic and everyday media imagery alongside noise signals – explore the unwanted artefacts in electronic media and communications, and how, as a society, we filter through all this data. In a sonic performance, Strange Attractor highlighted the fallout of political machinations within the art world, in particular the events that occurred in Limerick this year. Among the compositions presented was a work by Stephen Roddy titled Idle Hands: a 31-part exploration of Irish unemployment from 1983 – 2014 in G major. Roddy’s work focuses on data sonification and explores this relationship with embodied cognition. A critique sometimes levelled at data sonification is the lack of perceptual relevance in the end result. Roddy employs a combination of rising and falling pitch tones and timbre changes, which correspond to the statistics of CSO unemployment figures. It makes for an uncomfortable and tense listening experience that adequately reflects the nature of the dark periods of economic depression in Ireland. As Roddy stated: “It offers the artist the opportunity to serve social issues directly without wading onto the political battlefield”. Fergal Dowling’s Manchester Material composition took an inward stance on audio fabric and the impact of environmental sounds on one’s emotional state while travelling. In this work Dowling examined fleeting, ungraspable sonic events and his attempts to document them with field recordings while travelling back and forth between Manchester and Dublin. These were presented as a surround audio work that constantly shifted the sounds in physical space using multi-layered short edits. These constantly moving sounds leave a static impression on the listener. There was a mix of papers presented at the convocation, delivered under the following headings: Sound Processing in Time, Frequency and Space, Sound and Noise Intertwined, Soundscapes from Ecological Perspectives and Understanding ‘Noise’, and Composing Sound for Music and Performance by the Artist. The themes were shaped by the paper submissions, which, though varied, consistently explored the overriding convocation theme. Tony Doyle’s paper Experiment to Evaluate the Implementation of Spatial Extent discussed spatial audio concepts for virtual auditory display environments. The outcome of this research has led to the development of a spatial audio application. The potential of this application is the development of improved acoustics in real world environments. In addition, his research focus is human rather than technologically centred; he used perceptual listening tests in his research methods. Robin Palmer’s paper Field Recording, Phonography and the Creation of Place examined the impact of traditional sonic terminologies on contemporary field recording, arguing that sounds are largely socially constructed and thus meanings are culturally created and harder to define. Palmer proposes that we encode meaning in the landscape through personal and societal influences and that phonographers should acknowledge their engagement with the sounds they record through ‘field recoding’. Overall, the convocation opened up a larger discussion about the place for sonic arts research within society, with many of the most interesting conversations taking place between performances, paper presentations and installations. Linda O’Keefe’s practice is concerned with an exploration, both academic and creative, of the way sound alters our experience of different spaces. O’Keeffe has just completed a PhD in sociology in NUIM. She is a lecturer of sound and image at the Lancaster Institute of Contemporary Art. lindaokeeffe.com.
Dublin Art Book Fair
January – February 2015
A Sense of Self
Grace O’Sullivan, image from ‘A Sense of Self’, 2014
mentary, how objects and images from
Grace O’Sullivan’s exhibition ‘A Sense of
the past embody cultural memory and
Self’ ran at the Grove, Limerick (27 Nov
characterise the future ... My art presents
– 19 Dec). The artist described her inter-
a perspective on temporality and on an
est in the power of visual representation
ever-evolving world, critiquing values”.
and fascination with signs and symbols,
myths and illusion. “At the core of the exhibition,” she stated, “is the argument that even when we dress to be different,
we’re always conforming to something. The work is an attempt to interject in the everyday, causing the viewer to consider, question and reflect”. gugugirl.blogspot.ie
The Dublin Art Book Fair
The Dublin Art Book Fair took place at
Market Place, Armagh
Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin (6
The Market Place, Armagh exhibited
– 9 Nov). The fair has been running for
work by Stephen Farnan, which included
the past three years and features a range
porcelain etchings, bone china tableware,
of publications from invited publishers and publishing houses, as well as an open
textiles and a collection of his distinctive pottery. The exhibited ran 5 Dec – 10
Deepa Mann-Kler, Noli timere, 2014
submission artists’ books and zines area.
This year, there were books form over 30
Deepa Mann-Kler’s work Noli timere was
Keith Drury’s exhibition ‘As I Dream’
publishers as well as a comprehensive
exhibited in the foyer area of Crescent
also ran at the gallery during these dates.
collection of aesthetically-focused litera-
Arts Centre, Belfast
(Oct – present).
Drury described how his work – giclée
ture and unique one-off editions includ-
Seamus Heaney’s son Michael recalled
prints on acid free paper – is “unquestion-
ing everything from photography, graph-
that the poet’s last words were the Latin
ably quirky and contemporary in its
ic design, sculpture and painting to cura-
Noli timere, ‘don’t be afraid’, written in a
interpretation of the urban landscape,
tion, politics and philosophy. The pro-
text message to his wife moments before
and yet it refuses to be compromised,
gramme for the fair also included a series
he died. Mann-Kler wanted to recreate
each artwork being created with meticu-
of supporting talks and workshops, art-
these words in neon, she stated in the
lous attention to detail”.
ists’ readings, artworks and a pop-up
press release, to fill Heaney’s last message
“with a fitting luminosity”. She contintemplebargallery.com
ued, “Neon work is filled with gas that
pulses into life and expresses emotion as Ballard at the Baths
electricity courses through it. It bursts
Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast held a ret-
with optimism and reflects the journey
rospective of works by the painter Brian
that this farewell text would have taken
Ballard, who has lived and worked in the
through the ‘invisible wires’”.
city for 70 years. The exhibition ran 15
Nov – 6 Dec and covered 50 years of Ballard’s work. The Ormeau Baths closed
in 2011 and the Ballard retrospective
Artists Alice Anderson, Güler Ates,
marked the final exhibition to be held in
Aideen Barry, Anna Boggon, Eileen
Cooper, Liane Lang, Kate MccGwire, idirart.com
Veronica Smirnoff and Kate Terry took
Marie Foley, ‘Aesthetic Logic’, 2014
part in an exhibition at the Drawing Midland 2/Lár Tíre 2
Pamela De Bri, ‘Midland 2 / Lar Tire 2’
Schools Gallery, Eton College, Windsor
‘Aesthetic Logic,’ an exhibition by Marie
(8 Nov – 4 Dec). The exhibition title was
Foley, ran at Triskel, Cork (14 Dec – 15
taken from the thirteenth century word
Nov) in commemoration of noted math-
for ‘disposed to disobedience and opposi-
ematician, philosopher and logician
tion’, which reads somewhat like criti-
George Boole, who made his home in
cism in a school report, the press release
Cork in the mid nineteenth century. The
noted, but is also a “vital quality in people
press release stated: “The project unifies
who wish to move society in a new direc-
the two anniversaries: his birth in
tion”. The exhibition aimed to inspire
England and his death in Cork as the first
students in the school to study and make
professor of Mathematics at Queens
College, Cork (today UCC). Two fixed etoncollege.com
assemblages will mark the timeline, one
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
for each anniversary. In between, the
press release noted. Sloan then made a
exhibition will continuously change.
new video in which Ka Fue Lay “discusses
A Time for Shadows
There will be periods of rapid change and
his life in Vietnam, displays family pho-
periods of slow or no change.”
tographs and fondly recalls his time in
Jean Baudrillard’s 1987 text The Ecstasy of Communication reads like an astonishing science-fictional prophecy of our current moment. Writing nearly 30 years ago, Baudrillard invoked an era of “absolute proximity, total instaneity,” of informational schizophrenia. “The schizo,” Baudrillard writes, “is bereft of every scene, open to everything in spite of himself … It is the end of interiority and intimacy, the overexposure and transparency of the world which traverses him without obstacle. He is now only a pure screen, a switching centre for all the networks of influence”. Baudrillard’s heightened rhetoric captures what is now a banal experience – indeed, it might be the very signature of contemporary banality. With the ubiquity of smartphones, the feeling of being overwhelmed by cyberspatial injunctions is now commonplace. It is this strangely prescient anticipation of twenty-first-century banality that makes reading Baudrillard’s text such an uncanny experience. (It as if Baudrillard was already writing about Twitter. What in the experience of 1980s French telecommunications could give Baudrillard this feeling of transparency, overload, instaneity – this sense of the overwhelming of privacy and the limits of the individual subject, to which social media has now habituated us?) Baudrillard wrote of a new era of ‘tactility’. According to Baudrillard, even in the 1980s, the spectacle was already superseded. The spectacle subjugated us to image; the tactile system, however, solicits our participation, enjoins us to join in. Again, this is a strikingly prescient observation of trends that are now dominant – corporations are no longer satisfied with bombarding us with hard sell propaganda, they want us to interact with them, like their Facebook page, comment using hashtags. Smartphones with touchscreen technology seem to secure the age of tactility. Yet, with smartphones, shouldn’t we rather talk of a touching without tactility? For the smartphone is certainly operated by touch, but it is a touch devoid of any sensuality. When the fingers encounter the glassy surface of the iPhone, everything they touch on the screen feels the same. The fingers are effectively acting as extensions of the eye and the brain – an eye and a brain that have now been radically re-habituated by cyberspace. The fingers become relays in a digital compulsion system, a set of digital triggers. Yet they are inefficient digital triggers, monkey digits that are too fat and lacking in suppleness to properly operate the touchscreen interface. If, as an episode of The Simpsons observed in a sight gag, the iPhone is strikingly reminiscent of the monoliths from 2001: A Space Odyssey, then too often when we are using them, we feel as primitive and as baffled as the apes in Kubrick’s film when faced with the enigmatic opacity of the monolith’s black surface. Of course, smartphones aren’t really phones at all. The term now favoured by airlines, ‘handheld electronic devices’, better captures what these machines are. (Increasingly, we are now permitted to use these devices the very moment that the aircraft lands – waiting until we get to the terminal is now deemed too long a wait.) The telephone function of the electronic handheld device is rapidly becoming archaic. As Sherry Turkle maintained in her recent book Alone Together, we have moved beyond the era of talking into a new age of text.1 Conversations present anxieties, which are circumvented by SMS and direct messages. For all that it evades older kinds of anxieties, Baudrillard’s circuit of constant contact generates a whole set of new ones. The pressure of the instantaneous – of what, in their new manifesto, On the Creative Question – Nine Theses, Geert Lovink, Sebastian Olma and Ned Rossiter call “frantic entrepreneurship and instant valorization” – inevitably weighs heavy on cultural producers.2 In an enigmatic but suggestive formulation, Lovink, Olma and Rossiter argue that the urgencies of the immediate need to be replaced by principles of “shadow and time”. “Shadow,” they write, “is an unintended consequence, an event vacuum, which remains invisible for passers by. It does not register on the development maps of the managerial class. Time is needed in order for the substantially different to grow. Maturation, which is creative growth, requires time.” It is imperative that we carve out some spaces beyond the hyper-bright instant. This instant is insomniac, amnesiac; it locks us into a reactive time, which is always full (of outrage and pseudo-novelty). There is no continuous time in which shadows can grow, only a time that is simultaneously seamless (without gaps: there is always ‘new’ content streaming in) and discontinous (each new compulsion makes us forget what preceded it). The result is a mechanical and unacknowledged repetition. Is it still possible for us to cultivate shadows? Notes 1. Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, Basic Books, 2011 2. The full manifesto can be read and downloaded from: networkcultures.org
Periodical Review #4 Quantum Foam The Galway Arts Centre hosted the first exhibition of Mel Brimfield’s work in Ireland (5 Dec – 17 Jan) as part of a wider
Anita Delaney, Ssss, 2014
Elke Thönnes, from the ‘Time & Tide’ series
project with Kinsale Arts Festival,
books and fine art prints to highlight
Wexford Arts Centre, Luan Gallery,
objects that are often overlooked. Cecilia
Galway Arts Centre and The LAB.
Moore’s work comprised dismantled
‘Quantum Foam’ was a retrospective of
metal household objects, like teapots and
the artist’s work, with each gallery pre-
vases, gathered locally and reassembled
senting an original series of existing
into “playful tactile sculptures”, the press
works. “Operating at the intersection of
release noted, and was accompanied by a
live art, theatre and film,” the press
quirky animation, detailing her design
release stated, “Brimfield’s practice takes
process. Elke Thönnes used various fine
a skewed and tangled romp through the
art print techniques to create a “‘love let-
already vexed historiography of perfor-
ter to Dublin. In the search for new meth-
Pallas Projects, Dublin held the fourth
mance art, simultaneously revealing and
ods to ‘read the city’, she placed details of
iteration of their annual ‘Periodical
inventing a rich history of collaboration
iconic city structures onto embossings of
Review’ (5 Dec – 17 Jan), which featured
between artists, dancers, theatre makers,
old maps. The tactile nature of the work
work by Michael Beirne, Jenny Brady,
political activists and comedians”.
is a comment on the craftsmanship and
Jane Butler, Rachael Corcoran, Anita
architecture of generations past”.
Delaney, Joe Duggan, Marie Farrington, Hannah Fitz, Mark Garry, Dragana Jurisic,
Allyson Keehan, Caoimhe Kilfeather, Ali
The Land of Zero
Kirby, Sofie Locher, Loitering Theatre,
Crawford Gallery, Cork held an exhibi-
Shane Murphy, Liam O’Callaghan,
tion titled ‘The Land of Zero’ (24 Nov – 6
Andreas Kindler Von Knobloch / Resort
Dec), which explored art making during
and Orla Whelan. In the press release, the
a recession and the changing face of artis-
gallery stated: “Periodical Review is not a
tic production. The curators were Maud
group exhibition per se, it is a discursive
Cotter and Pluck Projects and the artists
action, with the gallery as a magazine-
were: Aisling O’Beirn, Angela Fulcher,
like layout of images that speak (the field
Bill Albertini, Clive Murphy, Maud Cotter,
talking to itself). It is an exhibition as
Brian Mac Domhnaill, Cliodhna O’
resource, in which we invite agents with-
Riordan, Eleanor Phillips Sarah Jayne
in the field to engage with what were for
Booth and Vena Naskrecka. The press release described the project as an “open
them significant moments, practices, works, activity, objects: nodes within the
discussion on artistic practice in the con-
Sinead McDonald, image from ‘Uchronia’, 2014
text of the dual forces of recession and
Draiocht, Blanchardstown held an exhi-
the changing landscape of artistic pro-
bition of work by Sinead McDonald titled
‘Uchronia’, which ran 29 Nov – 7 Feb and
comprised a series of real and imagined self-portraits. The Wikipedia definition
of Uchronia is “a hypothetical or fictional time-period of our world, in contrast to altogether fictional lands or worlds. A concept similar to alternate history but different in the manner that uchronic times are not easily defined”. The press Victor Sloan, One Boat
release stated: “These images investigate fate, free will and predestination, truth
An exhibition of work by Victor Sloan,
and longing and looks at how decisions,
titled ‘Drift’, ran at F. E. McWilliam
accidents and circumstances can change
Gallery (6 Dec – 28 Feb). Sloan is
us utterly. What is it that makes us who
renowned for his images of Northern
we are? What if we could go back and
Higher Bridges Gallery, Fermanagh held
Ireland and the Troubles. This exhibition,
undo things? Do we really have the
an exhibition of sculptural drawings by
however, revisits a project Sloan under-
power to shift our own narratives?”
Dutch artist Wilma Vissers (13 Nov – 6
took looking at Craigavon and the
Wilma Vissers, image from ‘Crossing Lines’, 2014
Dec) who has worked in Ireland for the last four years and undertaken several
Vietnamese Boat People who were settled there in 1979, some of the first refugees
Portholes & Teapots
residencies. The works on show, the press
to be settled in Northern Ireland after
An exhibition of work by Cecilia Moore
release stated, are “abstract, minimalistic
World War Two. “In preparation for this
and Elke Thönnes ran at Axis: Ballymun,
in character and are inspired by empti-
exhibition, Sloan rekindled his friend-
Dublin (1 Nov – 31 Dec). ‘Portholes and
ness and space”; they include embossed
ship with Ka Fue Lay, who was a teenager
Teapots’ examined familiar places and
work and mono prints made at the
when he settled in Craigavon in 1979
everyday objects around Dublin’s north-
Tyrone Guthrie Centre last winter.
and now lives in Salisbury, England”, the
side, using metalwork, maps, artists’
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
News ACNI Five-Year Strategic Plan The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has pubished its five-year strategy for the arts. The strategy, Ambitions for the Arts, outlines the Council’s aspirations and vision for the future of the arts sector in Northern Ireland. It sets out a clear statement of priorities under three strategic themes that reflect a changing landscape for the arts and the need for strong public engagement. The themes are: championing the arts, promoting access and building a sustainable sector. The strategy can be viewed on the ACNI website. artcouncil-ni.org
Dublin Gallery Map The Dublin Gallery Map, a printed map available for free in selected galleries, tourist offices and hotels, launched in November 2014. The project encourages people to follow the trail to discover some of the great contemporary art that is on show each day across Dublin city. The map is also available to download and print at home via the website dublingallerymap.ie, which has links to information on what is going on in the 24 participating galleries.
Hennessy Portrait Winner The inaugural Hennessy Portrait Prize has been awarded to Sligo-based painter Nick Miller. He was selected from a shortlist of 12 for his painting Last Sitting, a portrait of the late Barrie Cooke, who died earlier this year. Miller takes home the prize, instituted by Hennessy and the National Gallery of Ireland, of €15,000, plus a commission worth €5,000 to produce a portrait of an Irish sitter. Miller was born in London but has been based in Ireland since 1984. He is well known for the energy of his drawings and paintings based on the human figure and the Irish landscape. The shortlist was drawn from more than 400 entries by a jury comprising: National Gallery Director Seán Rainbird; NCAD lecturer Declan Long; painter Donald Teskey; art critic Cristín Leach Hughes; and National Gallery curator Janet McLean. The shortlisted works can be seen in an exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland until 8 February, 2015 nationalgallery.ie
TBG+S King Ping Pong The third national, annual, inter-visual arts-organisation table tennis tournament, King Ping Pong, was won by Sligobased paddler Nick Miller, representing Rubicon Gallery. Battling through four rounds in Studio 6 at TBG+S, Miller defeated The Good Hatchery in a final that had the crowd enthralled. Miller does not take home the prize, instituted by Monster Truck, of the King Ping Paddle, which will sit behind the bar at the Ha’penny Inn where it can be admired all year round.
Miller, who was born in London but has been based in Ireland since 1984, is well known for the energy of his ping pong performances based on the human figure and the table landscape. He joins the ping pong pantheon alongside previous Kings Peter Prendergast for Monster Truck (2012) and Mark Durkan for Solstice (2013).
Arts Council Audience Mapping The Arts Council has developed a mapping tool that helps arts venues profile their potential audiences. For example: How many people live within a 30-minute drive of my venue? What’s the percentage of young people or retired people? Which ethnic minorities are represented? This new tool uses census data to plot the demographic profile of populations living within varying drivetime distances of 73 arts venues across the country. Developed by the Arts Council in conjunction with the All Ireland Research Observatory (AIRO), the new tool is part of the Arts Council’s renewed focus on spatial and demographic planning and analysis, and a bid to better understand the public they serve. It should be particularly useful for venue managers and others who are interested in learning more about potential audiences for programmes and events. Any queries about this mapping tool can be made to Monica at the Strategic Development Department 01 618 0202 (email@example.com). artscouncil.ie
Workspace Scheme The results of the Arts Council’s Visual Artists’ Workspace Scheme for 2015 were announced in November. This scheme offers grants of up to €30,000 towards the running costs of visual artists’ workspaces. In keeping with the Council’s policy document Visual Artists’ Workspaces in Ireland – A New Approach, this scheme has the aim of assisting artists’ workspaces throughout the country to provide the best possible environment for working visual artists and, where feasible, to enable a level of subsidy for resident visual artists. In total, 26 eligible applications were received, 16 of which were awarded funding. The total amount awarded was €155,000. The 2015 Awardees were: Studios, Cork, €16,000; Broadstone Studios, Dublin, €25,000; Hive Basic Space, Dublin, €10,000; Sample Emerging, Waterford €1,800; Ormond Studios, Dublin, €4,000; Cork Artists Collective, Cork, €9,000; Artspace Space Studios, Galway, €20,000; Artlink, Donegal, €5,000; Engage Studios, Galway, €9,000; Cló Ceardlann na gCnoc, Donegal, €9,000; Monster Truck, Dublin, €7,000; Pallas Studios, Dublin, €17,000; Custom House Studios, Mayo, €7,000; New Art Studios, Dublin, €7,200; Creative Spark, Louth, €3,000; Lorg Printmakers, Galway, €5,000. artscouncil.ie
MAC Art Prize Winner Mairead McClean is the winner of The MAC’s £20,000 Art Prize. The competition, which was open to artists from across the world, attracted more than 1,000 entries from as far away as Korea, America and the Lebanon. Ana Matronic from the Scissor Sisters made the announcement. The 24 shortlisted art works by 25 artists is on display in the MAC until 18 January 2015 in a free exhibition spanning all three of its gallery spaces. Mairéad McClean, originally from Northern Ireland, uses film and audiovisual technologies to explore connections between our inner and outer worlds. Her work is rooted in ideas borne in memory, making connections between different versions, interpretations or representations of past events. Her work for MAC International, No More, incorporates images and sounds from the 1970s, which are re-heard and re-viewed through computer generated televisual transmission signals. themaclive.com
RVAF Award Winner Roscommon Visual Artists Forum, supported by Roscommon Arts Office and Roscommon Arts Centre, are pleased to announce that Siobhan McGibbon is the first recipient of the RVAF Award. In response to the needs and requirements of the artists in the county, visual arts Curator in Residence Linda Shevlin established this Roscommon Visual Artists Forum Award, for which applications were invited from artists to realise a project / exhibition in the Roscommon Arts Centre gallery in Spring 2015. Siobhan McGibbon will be supported with a production budget plus the organisational and curatorial support of the Roscommon Arts Centre. McGibbon, who is based in Roscommon, graduated from sculpture in GMIT in Galway in 2009 and was awarded sculpture student of the year. McGibbon plans to create a body of work conceived from investigations undertaken during her ongoing residency in Galway University Hospital, with a specific focus on anatomy, the medicalisation of the body, how ‘normal’ is analysed within the medical field and the human experience within a medical environment.
ucd science artists in residence UCD Art in Science has selected artists Maria McKinney, Vanessa Daws and Fiona Marron as the 2015 Science Artists in Residence . The shortlisted artists were: David Beattie, Sinéad Bhreatnach Cashell, Nick Bryson, John Conway, Trevor Knight, Fiona McDonald, and Christine Mackey. For more information see the UCD Art in Science website. ucdartinscience.com
Green on Red Reopens The Green On Red Gallery, Dublin has reopened in new premises at Spencer Dock, Dublin 1. The new space was launched with ‘Renew’, a group show featuring work by gallery artists Gerard Byrne, John Cronin, Mary Fitzgerald, Damien Flood, Mark Joyce, Caroline McCarthy, Ronan McCrea, Alice Maher and Bridget Riley, which will continue until the end of January 2015. greenonredgallery.com
AC Funding & Transparency At The Arts Council’s December plenary meeting, decisions were made to award grants to more than 200 arts organisations in its three main grant programmes. The offers of funding, totalling more than €36 million will be issued by letter to organisations from 5 January 2015. The Arts Council also agreed that funded arts organisations will be required from 2015 to comply with a transparency code adapted from the Boardmatch Ireland Governance Transparency Scale. The decision means that organisations must commit to complying with the Charity Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) where appropriate, publish annual accounts, list information about board members and, in the case of organisations receiving more than €100,000 in funding, salaries of senior staff. artscouncil.ie
2 million for the Arts Council The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, has announced an additional €2 million in funding for the Arts Council for 2015, brining total funding for the Arts Council for next year to almost €60 million. The Minister said the extra money would be earmarked for the Arts Council’s commemorative programme as part of ‘Ireland 2016’. ahg.gov.ie
Belfast Visual Arts Mapping Belfast City Council and the Belfast Visual Arts Forum are currently mapping the visual arts sector in the city. The mapping will include organisations which provide any of the following: resources for the production of visual art (studios, access to equipment etc.); opportunities for the public to view visual art (through regular, occasional or temporary exhibition programmes); opportunities for people to participate in the visual arts through engagement, skills development etc. If your organisation provides any of these services and you wish to be included in the mapping please contact: Dr Una Walker at uwalkerresearch@ gmail.com New Dundalk Gallery Verling Fine Art, Dundalk is a newly founded fine art and craft gallery special-
January – February 2015
ising in the sale and promotion of work by Irish and international artists in the disciplines of fine art, glass and ceramics. Founded by Sarah Daly and Francis Verling, based on a lifelong passion and enthusiasm for sculptural objects and fine and functional art, the gallery will host its first winter exhibition at Creative Spark in Dundalk. Speaking of the venture, Francis Verling said: “This has been a long-held ambition, having worked with craft, design and arts practitioners for over 20 years. This exhibition is our opportunity to assist in the promotion of these amazing artists and to bring their work to a wider audience in Dundalk, Louth and the North East.” The galleries opening show features work by Alva Gallagher, Leanne Mullen, Declan Honan, Nanette Ledwith, Frances Lambe, Adam Frew, Catherine Keenan, Tom Prendergast, Walter Verling HRHA and Scott Benefield. DCC / VAI Critical Writing Award Rebecca O’Dwyer has been awarded the 2014 DCC / VAI Critical Art Writing Award. This year, applicants were invited to consider the subject ‘Festivals and Cities’. The selectors – VAI Publications Manager, Jason Oakley and Curator / Arts Officer at Dublin City Council, Sheena Barrett – were impressed by O’Dywer’s submission, which encompassed key critical positions around several issues: the branding of cities; the instrumentalisation of art; and the homogenising effects globalisation. O’Dwyer also considered ways in which these pitfalls could be avoided, and truly meaningful and effective city events devised. The award comprises: an honorarium from Dublin City Council Arts Office of €800 (a €500 commission for a 2000 – 2500 word article on ‘Festivals and Cities’ for the Visual Artists’ News Sheet and a €300 commission to write a shorter text in relation to an aspect of Dublin City Council, The LAB’s 2014 / 2015 programme) as well as editorial support and mentoring from the Visual Artists’ News Sheet editorial / production team. O’Dwyer’s essay on ‘Festivalisation’ is featured in this issue of the Visual Artists’ News Sheet. The DCC / VAI Critical Art Writing Award was launched in 2011 and was devised as a developmental opportunity for writers as part of Dublin City Council Arts Office and Visual Artists Ireland’s commitment to encouraging and supporting critical dialogue around contemporary visual art practice. Previous winners were: James Merrigan (2011) and Joanne Laws (2012 / 13). dublincity.ie, rebeccaodwyer.wordpress.com
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
Wicklow: Resources & Activities Pinning Down Intensity
Wicklow Arts Office
Helen Blake, Raspberry Film, 2013, oil on linen, images courtesy of the artist
Helen Blake, Roly Poly, 2014, oil on linen
I am a painter and I’ve lived in County Wicklow since 1990. My husband Martin and I both grew up in Belfast, and I returned there after graduating from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth with an honours degree in Visual Art. After moving house several times, we knew we wanted to settle down in a quiet, rural location. We decided on West Wicklow as it felt peacefully remote, but is actually reasonably near to Dublin. We live up in the foothills of Lugnaquilla; it’s a beautiful area, and at times quite wild. Living in such an amazing place, it might seem strange that I haven’t felt the urge to create work that references the landscape in some way. I think I would explain that I do use this environment – it gives me the mental space, peace and solitude to pin down the intensity of what I want to make as an artist. I do a lot of my thinking while walking, and am conscious of a running parallel between the buzzing thoughtpatterns of my mind and the build-up in my paintings. I must admit that initially I struggled with working in what I perceived to be almost complete isolation from other artists, and sometimes it felt as if all the action was going on in the east of the county. However, I now have a great network of artist friends, including Sarah Rogers in Grangecon, and the Tellurometer Project artists (more of this later), and I’ve come to love and appreciate my situation. I’m fortunate to have a great studio. We have a small picture-framing business in Baltinglass and my studio is above the framing workshop. It’s only 15 minutes from where we live, and I’m in here almost every day. Picture-framing is methodical, solitary work and even on framing days I’m able to pop upstairs to the studio, so I’m almost constantly engaged with my art practice. I don’t normally work to proposals; work is created rhythmically in consecutive series. My practice focuses on colour, engaging with rhythm and formalism, chance and deliberation. I never have a preconceived plan about how a painting will end up. Each piece is made over a long period of time, partly due to the slow-drying nature of the oils I use, but also due to the period of deliberation which takes place after each layer. I’ve found that having eight paintings on the go at once is a number that works well for me. I work on each painting as it feels ready, and with eight on the go there are enough paintings that I can leave each one for a
period and contemplate the next group of marks, the next colour. Over the years I’ve received periodic assistance from Wicklow Arts Office and Arts Officer Jenny Sherwin. I received an individual artist’s bursary in 2009, and in 2011 I was selected for the Artists and Practice programme, also funded by Wicklow Arts Office. The programme ran April – November 2011 and was led by curators Cliodhna Shaffrey and Eilis Lavelle. This was a hugely important support, giving me the courage to make a substantial shift in emphasis in my work. Cliodhna also arranged for me to talk with painter Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh, whose encouragement bolstered my conviction in the new direction in my work. The programme also had an additional unexpected result. All the artists involved felt we wanted to build on the mutual connections we had established during the programme, and we founded the Tellurometer Project in November 2011. We devote time to this as we can, alongside our individual practices. Wicklow Arts Office awarded us a group bursary in 2012. The Tellurometer Project investigates ways of collaboratively and individually producing work through communication. We are geographically spread out: Joanne Boyle, Rachel Fallon, Raine Hozier Byrne, Laura Kelly and Joanna Kidney are based in Bray, Susan Montgomery is in Co. Cork, and I’m in West Wicklow. So far we have completed two cycles of a postal project, and in 2014 we were awarded a year-long intermittent residency with the LFTT Library at The Guesthouse, Cork: an ongoing opportunity to focus on a new methodology of working. In 2013 the Mermaid Arts Centre in Bray reintroduced the County Wicklow Visual Arts Open Submission. The exhibition was curated by Patrick T. Murphy, Director of the RHA, and I was selected as overall winner. This was very important for me, not only because of the prize money. Subsequently, in early in 2014, I was selected for the RHA’s FUTURES 14. I continued to work in series throughout 2014, making a body of new work from which my FUTURES show was selected. The exhibition consisted of 14 paintings, and ran 14 November – 19 December 2014. Helen G. Blake, helengblake.com, tellurometerproject.weebly.com
Over the last year Wicklow Arts Office has rolled out a number of initiatives with the goal of creating deeper connections between artists and practitioners from Wicklow and artists from outside the county. Hexagon is a collaborative project between the Wicklow Arts Office, Cork Printmakers’ Studio and Mermaid Arts Centre. The office put out an open submission call to Wicklowbased professional artists and members of Cork Printmakers’ Studios to take part in a two-week residency based in Cork Printmakers’ Studio during July and August 2014. The project culminated in an exhibition in Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, which opened with the participants in conversation on 27 November 2014. The Wicklow artists were Aoife Flynn, Laura Kelly and Joanna Kidney. The artist members of Cork Printmakers were Conall Cary, Dominic Fee and Fiona Kelly. The selected artists work in a variety of mediums and methods, ranging from collage and site-specific installations to drawing and digital video works. The collaboration provided the artists with the opportunity to expand their knowledge and abilities in the medium of printmaking in a dedicated printing organisation and consider what this could offer their practice. Working with members of the Printmakers’ Studios, the Wicklowbased artists had the benefit of the studio members’ experiences; they learnt new skills and innovative techniques to push their own printmaking practices, developing hybrid approaches and challenging the traditional limits of printmaking. Joanna Kidney described her experience: “Hexagon was an open ended collaborative project. This generously and gently allowed for a natural evolution of the collaborative process and hence the final works made. Having the experience of the three Cork artists on board accelerated the possibility of making a large print work for me. The intense 12-day residency was rich with exchange and learning between the 6 artists. The project has broadened my thinking on the possibilities of printmaking, in particular silkscreen printing, as a means of translating drawing into one-off larger scale installation works and this has fuelled ideas for future work.” The exhibition in Mermaid comprised a number of print-based installation pieces developed by all six artists both on the residency and in their continued conversations afterwards. There were common themes, such as architecture, urban and rural settings, as well as reoccurring motifs such as geometrical patterns, layering and mark making. Last year, Wicklow Arts Office and Mermaid Arts Centre launched Thinking Visual, an initiative that would allow secondary school students from various locations around the county to experience high quality contemporary art and understand artists’ processes. The brief was simple: to provide an opportunity for secondary school students to work with contemporary artists. The artists would work with the students and engage them in the process of creating contemporary art, not in a shallow or superfluous way but in a first hand, in depth manner. Artists would provide insight into their research and production methods, generating the students’ own interests and knowledge for a lifelong engagement with contemporary Irish art. Curated by Jennie Guy and originally Cleo Fagan, Mobile Art School is an initiative that was piloted in 2012. The project provides students
with the unique experience of engaging with contemporary art with the guidance of a diverse range of successful career artists. In turn, we aim to provide the artists with a simple means of interfacing with younger audiences in a supportive learning environment. For the Wicklow incarnation of the project Jennie Guy invited artists John Beattie and Sven Anderson to partake in a residency within Blessington Community College (BCC). The artists were invited to become BCC’s artists-in-residence for four months, from September to December 2014. Beattie worked with moving image to explode notions of production, representation and the viewer while Anderson utilised his surroundings to create a site-specific sound experience. The workshops were intended to encourage students to participate in the creative spaces between artistic research, process and production. The varied and novel ways in which artists push the boundaries of their knowledge around research themes, materials or their own idiosyncratic production processes are rarely visible after the completion of the work. We hope that this ‘behind the scenes’ access will help students engage with more challenging contemporary art. The students brought knowledge of their environment and imaginative perspective to the collaboration, becoming full participants in the creative process. This, in turn, encouragesd them to become more engaged and invested in the process. Sven Anderson set transition year students to work carrying out site surveys throughout their school in order to find the perfect location for an installation. Anderson worked with the students to prepare vinyl LPs using blades, electrical tape and sandpaper. They worked together to create an audio collage out of locked grooves. Using the remaining LP covers to take the form of a model city high-rise, Anderson and the students discussed integrating sounds from the workshop back into the sculpture. John Beattie introduced the transition years to ideas of constructing and deconstructing the image, of recognising the ubiquity of both the still and the moving images all around us, and the potential for experimentation. He quickly set them to work staging scenes that create movement and narrative as well as exploring video. This project is still underway but so far the outcomes look very positive. Donna Carroll, Public Art Commissions and General Communications Assistant Manager, Wicklow Arts Office. thinkingvisual2014. tumblr.com/about.
Image from Wicklow artists’ residency at Cork Printmakers’ Studio, 2014
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
Throw a stick ... chances are you’ll hit an artist I live and work in Newcastle, Co. Wicklow. It’s a wonderful place to have a studio. Wicklow is a curious mix of the ancient and the new. My small village is peppered with dolmens, standing stones and even the last remains of an old Norman castle. It is said in Wicklow that if you throw a stick, chances are you’ll hit an artist. The last few years have been very busy for me. I was completing my Masters while exhibiting nationally and internationally. The work I’ve made during this time has fallen into two distinct series: ‘Analytic of the sublime’ and ‘Exteroception,’ examinations of the nature of the image, the notion of subjective perspective and the contemporary sublime; in short, this work was rumination on how the viewer perceives the image. There has been a great deal of scholarship and artistic reflection on the relationship between the individual and the image, yet it doesn’t appear that many artists are attempting to represent the ever-changing nature of this dialectic. My work for these series focused on the changing relationship between the viewer and the image in the context of contemporary, convergent media. The theoretical basis for this dialectic has shifted in the context of an increasingly technological world, and my first series attempted to deconstruct and, somewhat ironically, visually represent the changing nature of this dialectic. I was set to continue this same series, and am keen to return to it at a later date, but the passing of my parents led me to change the focus of my work. My current series, at its core, is an exploration of memory and loss. No less inquisitorial, but far more emotive, my current series stems less from the posing of an epistemological question, but rather from a profound sense of loss. With the death of my parents during my Masters, I felt moved to articulate that sense of loss on the canvas. The loss I articulate here is not spiritual, or even melancholic, but rather it is simply the feeling of absence. As such, this series, still in progress, attempts to visually represent the feeling of vacancy, of absence, in a manner that is both sincere and base.
Raine Hozier Byrne, Analytic of the sublime XI, 100 x 100 cm, oil on canvas
Despite the universality of the experience, very little has been written on absence and grief, which is instead bundled together with interrogations into the safer dialectic of art and memory. This distance between the emotive and the academic reflects the difficulty of articulating grief, and the absence and pain that accompany it. Even so, the arts remain an ideal vehicle for those who feel compelled to record in order to remember. I have been fortunate enough to have shown extensively in China, the Middle East and Europe. At the moment I am exhibiting in New York at the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) with idir (idirart.com); my work will then go on tour on the east and west coasts. I am also currently working in collaboration with the Tellurometer Project, an art group that works in a non-space, call-and-response model. We were awarded a residency with the LFTT Library in the Guest House art space in Cork, where I was intrigued by the changing generational nature of the book collection. A book from this library mentioned my family, which led me to look back at my own family archive: Huguenots on one side and family hailing from Kilkenny and Wexford on the other. I discovered the stories that are in every family: money made and lost, children born out of wedlock, industry, fecklessness. What’s intriguing is not that my family is unique but that these are universal stories. It’s a layered collage of generational experience that makes a family. So this is what I am researching now. I don’t know when I will get the time to work on this project, but the investigations and research are fascinating. We are very fortunate in Wicklow to have an active arts scene. The Mermaid Arts Centre, run by Artistic Director Niamh O Donnell, programmes the very best in contemporary art practice, both national and international, and the Arts Office, run by Jenny Sherwin, is always innovating and supporting local artists. Raine Hozier Byrne, raine.ie
January – February 2015
Fíche ceathair bliain ag fás
Culture Night at Signal Arts centre
Signal first opened it’s doors to the public nearly a quarter of a century ago. Doesn’t time fly? We have accomplished many things over that period in the context of developing our services and facilities, both for artists and the general community alike, but perhaps one of our more impressive accomplishments is the fact that we are still here and going strong. The centre has become central to the cultural and social fabric of the community and many would find it hard to imagine Bray without it. We have probably the busiest exhibition programme in the country, with 24 exhibitions a year, six of which are reserved for local community organisations to showcase their work. Our aim is to bring a broad range of artistic work to the public by providing a much-needed venue for both established and emerging artists to show and sell. In 2013, we were delighted to have the first annual ‘Signal Open’ submission show, with a €1,000 prize for the work judged Best in Show. We are all looking forward to seeing the submissions that come in for the 2014 show. Signal artists have been providing arts projects in the community from the very beginning, forging long term relationships with educational, social and cultural organisations. Our schools project for St. Patricks Day is a regular occurrence. Last year’s ‘Driving Out the Last Snake’ won Best Arts Entry in the St. Patrick’s Day festival, to the delight of all concerned. We work similarly for our annual contribution to Culture Night and have a number of other ‘regulars’ throughout the year, such as the Filmfest organised with 3E TV. The winning entry to this is shown on national television. Our artists also run regular art classes, life drawing sessions, kiln firings and many other skills-based workshops for groups and individuals. Having been around so long, Signal has made many friends, a ‘family’ of people who have given their energies to help develop the centre. Our successes are entirely down to them, our staff (past and present), community volunteers, board and committee members, and the several hundred members of Signal Arts Society. Some have been here longer than others but all recognise the importance of a having a functioning arts sector for the ‘good health’ of a community. That is why our long-term goal has always been to establish Signal as a permanent centre of excellence for the Visual Arts and we have been diligently following our development plan to that end over the years.
Signal was initially established as a not-forprofit company and subsequently sought and was granted charity status. It would be impossible for us function had we not got this basic structure in place. Our pursuit of ‘permanence’ took another step forward three years ago when we purchased our premises. This was a major undertaking and took four years to organise from start to finish. There were many sighs of relief when the papers were finally signed and we could tick that off our list of jobs to do.
Opening at Signal Arts Centre
The development plan, however, marches on, and we have commissioned an architect to design a new two-story art centre to fit on the entire ‘footprint’ of the current premises. The design brief incorporates many of the elements already central to Signal, such as our gallery and ceramics workshop, but we also intend to provide a new print studio, a general workroom and a new multi-purpose gallery / lecture room on the first floor. We will also have improved the communal and meeting spaces, as well as the library, research and IT facilities. But at the heart of the design is the provision of seven new artists’ studios (including one dedicated ceramic studio), which will be available to artists working locally. We expect the design to be finalised this August and then we just face the final challenge of getting it built. We’ve been around for a quarter century and, like everything in Signal, we’ll get it done one step at a time. James Morrison, Director, Signal Arts. signalartscentre.ie
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
Solidarity & Connectivity
Christine Mackey, Portrait of Killruddery Garden in Spring, 2014
‘Hexagon’ installation view, 2014
Mermaid County Wicklow Arts Centre, like all rural arts centres, was established to enrich its local community through the arts. We are a multi-disciplinary centre, so we programme visual art alongside theatre, cultural cinema, music and dance, and act as a space for local groups to stage their work. We are a centre for art and community. We are a space for fun, entertainment and for making and enjoying art. At Mermaid we believe in creativity for everyone. We believe everyone has the right to enjoy and participate in making art. What we do is support, present and promote a culture of creativity in County Wicklow. We are an arts centre but we are also a centre of community, because without an audience, without a public, Mermaid is incomplete. Mermaid is not just a space for presentation, but a centre for the making of work: our year-long programme of performance residencies support individual artists and companies. Wicklow has a vibrant community of visual art practitioners. We work closely with that community to support and develop the cultural offerings in the county. One project we are particularly excited about is a collaboration with a group of visual artists to establish new artists’ studios in Bray called OUTPOST Studios. The group comprises: Joanne Boyle, Rachel Fallon, Emma Finucane, Raine Hozier-Byrne, Laura Kelly, Joanna Kidney, Eleanor Phillips and Ann Marie Webb. Mermaid’s gallery programme presents Wicklow artists alongside national and international artists. The key ambition of the gallery programme is to provide support and a platform for the artist and their work. We respect tradition and encourage experimentation. It is important for centres like Mermaid to ensure that the artists we work with are valued (and paid properly). We aim to raise additional funding for each exhibition to not only cover exhibition costs but also to contribute to the artists’ time, materials and production costs. We are also focused on trying to look at ways in which we help to combat the isolation visual artists, particularly those working outside of Dublin, can feel by planning and hosting a number of creative gatherings on a regular basis to establish a loose, informal network for local artists to meet, share and support each other. Over the past year we have presented the work of many great visual artists, including Derek Mahon, Frances Lambe, Christine Mackey, David Madigan, Carmel Benson, Ann Murphy, Christine Lebeck Watson, Orla McHardy, Karol O’Mahony and many others. Our current exhibition features work by three Wicklow artists – Joanna Kidney, Laura Kelly and Fiona Kelly – following a residency undertaken
in Cork with Cork artists Conall Cary, Dominic Fee and Aoife Flynn. The show is a must see as it challenges the perceptions of print and pushes the boundaries of this art form, which is often considered ‘traditional’. 2015 looks to be a great year for Mermaid. ‘Wasteland,’ an exhibition of work by Czech artists Eva Koťátková and Dominik Lang, opens on 21 February. The exhibition originated at Project Arts Centre and will tour Ireland. The show will transform the gallery into a playful space overflowing with salvaged objects, exploring the institutional rules and regulations that pervade our lives. We follow this with a solo show by Bray artist Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh (2 April – 23 May), titled ‘Imlíne’. Ní Mhaonaigh’s work displays an intuitive engagement with the processes of painting and art making. The exhibition will comprise a full body of new work. An exhibition by another locally-based female artist Joanna Kidney will follow in June. The process of drawing also heavily influences Kidney’s work. Later in the year we will present work by Ruth Lyons, a young artist based in Co. Offaly, where she co-directs an artist studio called The Good Hatchery. Lyons is making a new work with the Pavillion in Leeds, which will also be exhibited in Mermaid and in Visual, Carlow. We will then welcome a guest curator-in-residence, in collaboration with the Old Courthouse, Tinehely Arts Centre. The curator is David Upton from Cork. He will host a weeklong residency with two exciting and innovative international artists, Adrian Williams and Elisabeth S. Clark, in the Old Courthouse. This will culminate in a show and performance of new work at Tinehaly and at Mermaid. To close 2015 we are presenting the work of artist and architect Dominic Stevens with a show called ‘An Objectivised landscape’. This will involve input from local Wicklow residents and farmers, as well tourists, and consists of interviews and gatherings that will culminate at Mermaid in December 2015. Taking into account the challenges of the downturn and the opportunities that will arise as the economy returns to growth, Mermaid looks to the future with confidence and ambition, but we are not foolhardy. We know that each year we will only achieve our goals if we keep artists and audiences at our heart. Solidarity and connectivity is our mantra and our community, imagination and creativity are our secret weapons against adversity. Niamh O’Donnell, Director and Emma O’Dwyer, Gallery and Communications and Gallery Coordinator, Mermaid Arts Centre.
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
Belfast open studios
Belfast Open Studios ROB HILKEN, NOEL KELLY AND RACHEL CAMPBELL-PALMER LOOK BACK AT VAI’S INAUGURAL BELFAST OPEN STUDIOS EVENT, WHICH TOOK PLACE ACROSS THE CITY, 22 – 26 OCTOBER 2014.
Suki Tea at Flax Studios
fund, which has contributed to many excellent visual arts events such
The response from curators has been excellent in terms of their
In October this year, Visual Artists Ireland hosted the first city-wide
as Culture Night, has been axed. The visual arts in Belfast have flour-
visits to the studios. They felt warmly welcomed and, although not
open studios event in Belfast. 14 artist studios, 187 artists, 61 volun-
ished in recent years, but cuts to funding are putting at risk the many
every artist will receive an opportunity from the event, many of the
teers, 55 curators and over 2300 visitors took part in a celebration of
events, festivals, exhibitions, performances, talks and community
curators expressed an interest in working with artists they visited.
Belfast’s thriving and dynamic visual arts scene.
projects that add so much colour to our lives and have helped make
Belfast Open Studios built on the previous success of the 2013
Belfast such a vibrant and dynamic city. Rob Hilken, VAI Northern Ireland Manager
ACNI / British Council / VAI international curator visits to Northern
There was some concern expressed that not all curators visited all studios but on the whole curators reported that they valued being left to their own devices – albeit fully prepared and briefed – as they felt that they could concentrate their efforts where they had the most
Ireland that took place as part of the Derry-Londonderry UK City of
Culture and the Turner Prize. That visit resulted in several artists from
The audience for the Black Box Show & Tells comprised artists,
Northern Ireland exhibiting at prestigious galleries in New York and
Helsinki. At this year’s event 55 curators arrived in Belfast from Stock-
In September 2014 VAI issued a callout for curators interested in meet-
visiting curators and the general public, with over 70 attendees each
holm, Berlin, Madrid, Rome and Slovenia, as well as from all over Ire-
ing artists in Belfast and contacted several international curators di-
day. It proved valuable to have the events advertised through the Bel-
rectly. A final figure of 55 curators turned up over the run of the Open
fast Festival at Queens programme. The response to the idea and con-
2014 was an anniversary year for many of the studios: QSS Bed-
Studios weekend. There were 27 from Northern Ireland, 20 from the
cept of the Show & Tell was very positive. There was a clear message
ford Street (35 years old); Flax Art Studios, Lawrence Street Workshops
South, two from Stockholm and one each from Spain, Slovenia, Italy
that more of these events would be useful and these are now planned
(both 25 years old); Array Studios (20 years old) and Platform Arts (5
and Germany. Of these, three major Irish national institutions were
to take place throughout the year. The primary issue about the format
years old). Others such as Spectrum Artists Studios on the Shankill
represented: the Ulster Museum, the National Gallery of Ireland and
is the openness that it offers to a broad range of artists. As with previ-
Road and South Studios Belfast in Botanic are much more recent addi-
IMMA. Representatives from the Municipal Galleries of Ljubljana, the
ous Show & Tells, there was some feedback about how to create more
tions to Belfast’s visual art landscape, proving that the sector is grow-
Oslo Biennial, Lofoten International Art Festival, Supermarket Artists
balance between the openness of the event and the need for focused
ing and the demand for studios in the city has never been higher.
Art Fair and Mometum Nordic Biennale for Contemporary Art were
and clear presentations. We aim to address this by offering sample
also in attendance. The rest were independent curators or directors /
presentations in the near future. Some attendees also suggested that
senior curators of arts centres and galleries.
leaving time for discussion or questions would be beneficial.
As well as the 14 studios that opened to the public, Belfast Open Studios included three Show & Tell afternoons at the Black Box (blackboxbelfast.com), where 28 artists gave 5-minute talks to packed rooms
We decided that, instead of having a coach that arrived at a venue
Overall the experience was a very positive one. As this was the
each day. This was an opportunity for some of the many artists with-
with the curators for a limited period and then shipped them to the
first time we have run such an event, a certain amount of learning did
out studios in Belfast to be seen and served as a reminder that so much
next studios, we would provide each curator with an information
take place. Under the current shadow of cuts, Open Studios 2015 is far
great work is being made in all corners of the city.
pack. Each pack contained a map, a programme and a detailed docu-
from guaranteed, but the hope is to have a repeat. The challenge will
Visual Artists Ireland were delighted to be working with a busi-
ment that gave information about each studio and each artist based
be to develop a programme that takes into consideration all the feed-
ness partner for the event – Suki Tea – in what we hope will be a fruit-
there. Curators then decided which studios they wished to see and
back that we have received and find ways to engage with the general
ful long-term partnership. Suki Tea are a local Belfast company and
which didn’t fit with their programming interests.
audience on an even deeper level. One participant summed it up: “I felt
long term supporters of the arts. They kindly donated free tea and
Each morning was dedicated to curator visits, with additional
like I was welcomed in a place I was always intrigued by: the studios of
tea-making equipment to every venue which helped create a warm,
time provided after the lunchtime events at Black Box. It is clear that
artists. The artists were all so happy to talk and show me how and why
friendly, relaxed atmosphere during the whole festival.
the city centre studios were the ones to benefit most from this. The
they do what they do. A cup of tea and a natter was better than any of
The spotlight being pointed at the artists of the city this year is
outlying studios were accessible by a bus in the mornings, and cura-
the gallery openings with wine and I’d love to do it again.”
both welcome and timely. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is fac-
tors were encouraged to break up and head in different directions
ing tough budget cuts and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board events
rather than have everyone turn up at the one time.
Noel Kelly, VAI CEO
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
belfast open studios The Studios The promise of Platform-branded takeaway cups was really all I needed to hear to get on board with Belfast Open Studios 2014. The fiveday event was really well considered, down to the small but important details like each studio group receiving a personalised stamp to brand cups for the tea generously supplied by Suki Tea. (We’re still working our way through the tea and stamping everything in sight with our logo.) Personalised stamps may seem like an unnecessary extra, but to a volunteer-run, self-funded studio and gallery group like Platform it was a treat and representative of the considerate approach taken by the organisers. Rob Hilken did an excellent job of recognising the individual identity of each space, whilst ensuring that we all felt unified in collectively representing the city and the vibrant art scene we have to offer here. These types of events can only really be successful if people are willing to invest and getting everyone behind it was a huge achievement. In preparation for Belfast Open Studios we decided to extend our exhibitions so that they would remain on show during the course of the event, allowing us to capitalise on the footfall generated and showcase the high quality of work we exhibit. We also ensured that there would always be a representative of Platform present by devising a rota with our studio and board members, which was further supported by the volunteers provided by VAI. We approached the occasion as an opportunity to present ourselves as the professional or‘Why Justin Why?’ at Platform Studios
The Mill Studios
Visitors to Loft Studios
ganisation we have worked hard to create and provided information resources including our new newsprint programme, info leaflet and a specially produced booklet with profiles on all our studio members so they could be easily contacted by visiting curators. The event had many highlights for me, both as an individual artist and as Co-director of the studio. It gave me a platform to talk widely about my art practice, the outreach work I do for the studio and our goals as a collective. The programme was effectively structured to facilitate artist Show & Tells and organised visits from student groups, curators and members of the public. This formula really helped us maximise and elevate our visibility by introducing us to local, national and international audiences, promoting the variety of things we have to offer as an artist-led organisation providing access to contemporary art practices. Through the event we have made new connections with educational institutions and discussed potential additions to our exhibition programme next year. What was really memorable was getting to hang out with each other as a studio collective. The event was really successful in making us feel like a cohesive studio group, who were in turn part of a supportive arts community. Rachel Campbell-Palmer, Co-director, Platform Studios
Platform Studios stamps
Note The studios that took part in the Belfast Open Studios event were: Array Studios, Artists at the Mill, Belfast Print Workshop, Cathedral Studios, Creative Exchange, Flax Art Studios, Lawrence Street Workshops, Loft Studios, Orchd Studios, Platform Arts, Pollen Studios, Queen Street Studios Bedford Street, South Studios Belfast, Spectrum Artists Studios. belfastopenstudios.com.
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
Mairéad McClean, No More, 2013,15 minute video
Mairéad McClean, No More, 2013,15 minute video
Mairéad McClean, No More, 2013,15 minute video
Archives & Time Machines HUGH MULHOLLAND, CURATOR AT THE MAC, BELFAST, INTERVIEWS MAIRÉAD MCCLEAN, WINNER OF THE 2014 MAC INTERNATIONAL AWARD.
Mairéad McClean, No More, 2013,15 minute video
Mairéad McClean, No More, 2013,15 minute video
Mairéad McClean, No More, 2013,15 minute video
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
MAC INTERNATIONAL Hugh Mulholland: Can you describe how it feels to be the recipient of the inaugural Ulster Bank MAC International Prize and what this means in terms of your practice? Mairéad McClean: I was stunned to hear my name being announced on the night. I had not considered winning, so it took a while to sink in. I was already excited to have reached the shortlist and was looking at it as an opportunity to get my work to a wider audience and to use it as a springboard. One of the hardest things about being a visual artist who works predominantly with moving image is finding ways for people to see what I do. I have a body of film and video work that has been shown in film festivals and in more alternative art spaces around Europe, but in the last eight years I have concentrated on showing work in Ireland, North and South. Recent exhibitions have included: Void (2007), Eva International and Claremorris Open (2008), the Belfast Film Festival (2009), the Ulster American Folk Park (2011) and Tulca 2013, where No More was first selected by Valerie Connor in her curated show ‘Golden Mountain’. Winning this high profile prize recognises that work and gives it importance. This is a great feeling not only for me, but for all of those curators and selectors who have previously supported my work. HM: Can you discuss your work ‘No More’, which is included in the MAC International exhibition – in particular its starting point, the origins of the film footage and how the work is constructed / choreographed? I believe you had the footage of the dancer / actor Ryszard Cieslak in the film for a long time before finding the right time to use it? MM: In 1998, when I was making my 16mm film Movements Recollected (1999), I found a Jerzy Grotowski Polish Laboratory Theater training film in a University library in Leicester. It shows Ryszard Cieslak, lead actor, demonstrating body exercises (derived from Hatha yoga) designed to allow the practitioner go beyond “their own personal limitations”. I was mesmerised and intrigued by the performance. Afterwards, I read that these movements came from memories. I knew then that this had a greater significance to me but I did not know what I would do with the material. So I held onto it. In then made a documentary film with my father (For The Record, 2009), looking in more depth at his period of internment without trial. Then, last year I started to experiment with different sounds that came to me from memory. I placed these sounds with the movement of Cieslak’s hand opening and closing and that started the ball rolling. Opening and closing, rising and falling like a wave but with a tight sound like a drum. I edited the material in a very instinctive way. This helped me see that I was addressing the subject of internment in a different, more allegorical way, combining the authoritative, hard-hitting voice of Brian Faulkner (Prime Minister of Northern Ireland 1971 – 72) with the esoteric movements of Cieslak. I saw an association between the early Civil Rights Movements ideals, pushing the boundaries of the status quo and confronting the established order of things with the dancer’s movements. The space between these two performances also left room for an audience to imagine and think. HM: The work is highly personal, drawing on the internment of your own father who, at the time of his arrest, was a leading civil rights activist. What issues both, personal and political, did you have to confront in making work about recalling that period? MM: I have looked at this period from different angles over the years but when I started out producing work I actively avoided it. In the first film I made, as a student at the Slade School of Art in 1990, the only words spoken (by me) were “mind your own business!” I was tired of being asked about the Troubles and how they affected me. People assumed that I wouldn’t have anything else to talk about and there was inherent assumption that I ‘should’ be making work about it. This put me off dealing with it directly but, nevertheless, the subject seeped into the work. Movements Recollected (16mm, 1999), for example, reflects on the experience of a Northern Irish woman as she travels from Northern Ire-
land to London and on to Milan. She wheels a mysterious trolley as she goes, which in the course of the film is revealed to hold nothing more sinister than camera equipment, but for a time the audience is not sure what it contains. Being Northern Irish in London in the mid 1980s meant that there was always an underlying tension: maybe, just maybe, you might be involved with something. Later, I made a film, Of Things to Come (2006), which centered on a 1972 photograph taken of my sisters and myself. Dad was in Long Kesh at this time and, although this is referred to in the film, it is clearly the elephant in the room. The film uses an audio track of my mother and myself talking on the phone about the photograph. Of Things to Come explores the act of remembering and how and why we remember the things we do. My mother remembers the photo by the years of the children’s births, while I remember the event because of the anorak with the hood that I’m wearing. Different viewpoints from different experiences lead to different memories. HM: What effect did your father’s internment have on your family? MM: There where eight children under the age of nine (two sets of twins) so it was a stressful time for my mother. We took turns to visit Dad and I have a memory of looking out at the Nissen huts in the temporary prison where he was housed and asking him which one he slept in. We also wrote to him and sent drawings and he would send cartoons for us to colour in. My parents kept these mementos, a few of which are in the film. As a child you accept life as it is and it does not seem difficult. It’s only in retrospect that you realise how much stress everyone was under, how out of control things were. It is this feeling of control or lack of control that I examine in No More (2013). HM: You are one of a number of artists included in the MAC International who are considering, re-presenting, subverting or challenging accepted historical moments, excavating new ideas from the past and offering new ways of looking at what has gone before. Would you agree that this re-imagining of history is currently a dominant theme in contemporary visual art discourse? MM: I would say that it is a current concern of artists worldwide. We are at a moment in time when we have access to audio / visual material in a new way. For someone like me, who thinks of archives as time machines, I like the idea of transporting myself back through time in order to take a closer look at particular events and to reflect, understand and re-present aspects of what I find in a different light, through another lens. Today we understand how the media, no matter how unmediated it appears, can and does misrepresent. Finding the 1971 BBC clip of Brian Faulkner announcing the introduction of Internment, I was brought back to an image of myself as a child sitting in front of the TV watching, not knowing that my father was going to disappear from our lives for eight months the very next day. Many people then would not have questioned the reasons behind decisions made by the government. It was something that took place behind closed doors. None of the internees were ever charged with anything. They were held for an indefinite period or until the government deemed that they were no longer a ‘threat’ to the stability of the country. No More looks at Faulkner’s ‘performance’ from a future position, 40 years on. It looks at the theatricality and the display of a government’s moral authority. By editing the material and making interjections into the footage, the work reveals underlying tensions and nuances within his performance. For example, I draw attention to a ‘smirk’ on the side of his face, and I repeat it in a loop in order to highlight the ‘fakery’ behind his speech. Through the edit I zoom in on his ear, in order to break with the codes and conventions of the standard broadcast interview set-up and to imagine what sounds he is hearing in his ear. At one point I use a dramatic orchestral score to suggest that he can hear this as he’s speaking. It suggests that he is performing in his own private film and that it’s all a fiction, deliberately trying to sway opinion. HM: You have lived and worked in London for the past 25 years. Do you think this distance has made it easier for you to reflect on Northern Ireland? MM: Living away from the place I grew up has helped me gain per-
spective. I am just one of many outsiders living in London. I realise that, although Northern Ireland has a unique history, it is not the only place in the world that has suffered or whose people have lived through difficult times. The connections you make with people in a large cosmopolitan city gives you insight and allows you to be able to take a step back and look more broadly at what is happening around the world. It’s also easier to be less consumed by convention when you are in a larger metropolis. I always found that difficult at home. My sisters used to refer to me as Miss Non-Conformist. HM: The competition judges felt that, while your work draws on events in Northern Irish history, it also contains universal themes; its reading is not limited to an understanding of the local politics of Northern Ireland. How important is it to you that the work is read in this way? MM: This is very important to me. No More (2013) embodies a broader notion of what it means to be a citizen of the world: how we define ourselves; how land is owned; how segregation affects us; how being a migrant or refugee impacts on how you see yourself and how others perceive you; how borders and boundaries, whether they exist in the mind or in the world, limit what you see and feel. Growing up in Northern Ireland there was always a feeling that you were perceived as ‘other’. I feel it here in London too, but maybe I am more comfortable with the idea now. In relation to my art practice I have also felt it, as the gallery has not really been my home. But no matter where my work is shown or seen it is important that anyone can enter the work and that it has the potential to have some form of impact. No More (2013) uses grainy, disrupted moving image and sound to communicate with the audience, to reflect on a time from memory. I want those who see it to register both performances (Faulkner and Cieslak) and feel the sound inside their bodies in order that they might “go beyond their own limitations” in terms of how they view and watch films. I feel so excited about working with the film form, to find new and exciting ways to engage an audience, ways that do not yet exist. HM: Do you believe prizes and exhibitions of this type do everything that they claim to do? MM: I think prizes create a buzz, draw significant attention to an artist’s work and recognise it for making a significant contribution to our cultural life. In my own case, as someone who has worked outside of the traditional gallery context, it is an important opportunity for visibility. It can also draw new audiences into the gallery space and this is a big bonus. Mairead McClean is the winner of The MAC’s £20,000 Art Prize. The competition, which was open to artists from across the world, attracted more than 1,000 entries from as far away as Korea, America and Lebanon. The announcement was made by Ana Matronic from the Scissor Sisters. The 24 shortlisted art works by 25 artists is on display in the MAC until 18 January 2015 in a free exhibition spanning all three of its gallery spaces. Mairéad McClean, originally from Northern Ireland, uses film and audio-visual technologies to explore connections between our inner and outer worlds. Her work is rooted in ideas borne in memory, making connections between different versions, interpretations or representations of past events. Her work for MAC International, ‘No More’, incorporates images and sounds from the 1970s, which are re-heard and re-viewed through computer generated televisual transmission signals. ‘No More’ was commended by the international judging panel Hugh Mulholland, curator at the MAC, Judith Nesbitt, Head of National and International Partnerships, TATE London and Francesco Bonami, Artistic Director of Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin for being visually captivating. maireadmcclean.com themaclive.com
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
VAI / DCC Critical art writing award
EVA International 2014 opening at the Kerry Group former Golden Vale Milk Plant, North Circular Road, Limerick, photo by Deirdre A. Power
EVA International 2014 opening at the Kerry Group former Golden Vale Milk Plant, North Circular Road, Limerick, photo by Deirdre A. Power
Ingo-Giezendanner, GRRR, Eva International 2014 Kerry Group former Golden Vale Milk Plant, North Circular Road, Limerick, photo by Eamonn O’Mahony
Attentive Festivalisation REBECCA O’ DWYER, WINNER OF THE 2014 VAI / DCC ARTS OFFICE Critical ART WRITING AWARD, PROPOSES THAT ASSERTING ‘PLACEBOUNDNESS’ IN THE PLANNING AND DEPLOYMENT OF LARGE-SCALE FESTIVAL-TYPE PRESENTATIONS OF VISUAL ART OFFERS A MEANS TO NEGATE THE DRAWBACKS AND AUGMENT THE POSITIVES OF THESE NEAR UBIQUITOUS PHENOMENA OF OUR ‘CONTEMPORARY’ CULTURAL LIFE. “… as Saskia Sassen says, the hold of globalisation is still not complete; there is not yet a full flattening of the specificities and demands of the city, which could still exist as the ‘strategic terrain for a whole series of conflicts and contradictions’. Dublin might yet be a site for a thorough artistic engagement with its possibilities and problems as place.” Rebecca O’Dwyer, proposal abstract for DCC / VAI Art Writing Award 2014
The DCC / VAI Critical Art Writing Award was launched in 2011 and was devised as a developmental opportunity for writers as part of Dublin City Council Arts Office and Visual Artists Ireland’s commitment to encouraging and supporting critical dialogue around contemporary visual art practice. Previous winners were: James Merrigan (2011); Joanne Laws (2012/13). Rebecca O’Dwyer has been awarded the 2014 DCC / VAI Critical Art Writing Award. This year, applicants were invited to consider the subject ‘Festivals and Cities’. The award comprises: an honorarium from Dublin City Council Arts Office of €800 (a €500 commission for a 2000 – 2500 word article on ‘Festivals and Cities’ for the Visual Artists’ News Sheet and a €300 commission to write a shorter text in relation to an aspect of Dublin City Council, The LAB’s 2014 / 2015 programme; as well as editorial support and mentoring from the Visual Artists’ News Sheet editorial / production team. Details of the 2015 DCC / VAI Critical Art Writing Award will be announced later this year.
Festivalisation, insomuch as I understand it, involves a specific kind of process or set of tendencies: it outlines a movement whereby singular events are exploded into a multiplicity of forms and platforms. Certainly it bears some relation to the art critic Peter Schjeldahl’s pejorative term ‘festivalism’, which he uses to evoke a contemporary tendency to prioritise temporary spectacle – particularly installation art – within large-scale exhibition making.1 This, he describes as ‘festival art’: “environmental stuff that, existing only in exhibition, exalts curators over dealers and a hazily evoked public over dedicated art mavens”.2 Here, permanence is sidelined in favour of ambitious but temporary projects: artworks that are always already on the point of leaving. Logically, then, festivalisation names a process whereby strategies of festivalism assume dominance within the broader milieu; clearly this denotes a set of processes in step with the contemporary tendency towards the short-term ‘project’ in lieu of permanent engagement.3 Contra this, I would like to affirm Saskia Sassen’s term ‘placeboundedness’ as an important conceptual horizon on which to base expectations, and to gauge the success of contemporary festivalisation within the discourse of global art.4 Festivalisation is of course culturally ubiquitous, and not solely reserved for the visual arts. Partly an economic necessity, and partly representative of quantitative desire – i.e. to experience a lot, in an efficient manner – its effects are broadly felt: this year in Ireland there were more than 200 cultural festivals.5 Clearly, then, the festival is a thoroughly appealing format, something in it presents an invaluable opportunity for the arts. Of key importance here are the whys of festivalisation, and thus, to examine it materially as symptomatic of strategies of globalisation and neoliberal capitalism more broadly. Does the festival format retain any space – interstitial or otherwise – within which to create something new and / or antagonistic, and not merely to reproduce the wider conditions of which it is a symptom? Put bluntly, is the contemporary festival form now irrelevant as a form of exhibition making within the arts? The short answer is, of course, no. Globally, some of the best contemporary art is made specifically for arts festival form par excellence, the ‘biennale’ (Documenta, Venice, Liverpool, etc.), and quite simply
these events present the most efficient means of seeing a surfeit of exceptional art, not exactly under one roof, but close enough.6 What Schjeldahl terms ‘festival art’, too, is necessarily exceptional in character. Similarly, year-long festivals such as those staged under the auspices of the European (or UK) cities of culture often provide a much-needed boost – both economic and reputational – to the local environment. Indeed it appears as though these events, although of course positive in terms of artistic content, are even more beneficial by virtue of their powers in rethinking and rebranding, by altering perceptions and by imparting a degree of creative gravitas to a place. Indeed, in a sense, the contemporary festival-form could be thought almost as a victim of its own success: in such a way, festivals are wont to evaluate their own achievements not on artistic merit, but rather by the extent to which they have fulfilled economic or political expectation – numbers of tourists, amount of ticket sales, secondary revenue, etc. As the sociologist Monica Sassatelli writes: “The fact that a good proportion of the scarce literature on contemporary festivals has been driven by economic research focusing exclusively on economic returns, and thus on an instrumental vision of festivals, has also contributed to reinforcing the idea that contemporary festivals are – from a cultural point of view – of little relevance, as they are dominated by commercial, ‘inauthentic’ logics”.7 Arguably, then, the festival format increases in visibility to the extent by which it recedes in relevance as a cultural from. The more economically successful it is, the more its overall success is gauged solely on those terms. And yet at the same time this is inevitable: how do political departments or other funding bodies – often without real knowledge of art -– gauge its value if not through economic criteria? As a result, a kind of unhelpful dichotomy persists with regard to the contemporary artistic festival: the commercial, ‘inauthentic’ festival, on the one hand, and on the other the festival that resists commercialisation, in doing so opening up a space for some kind of ostensibly valid artistic gesture. This dichotomy, I would argue, is hopelessly inconsequential. It is neither possible nor desirable to enact a festival on the basis of its refusal of the dominant appraisal of value; that is, monetary. Rather, new and supplementary criteria for gauging creative success should be put forward, counteracting the homogeneity of solely
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
VAI / DCC Critical writing award
‘Summer Rising’ ,18 – 26 July 2014, Irish Museum of Modern Art
economic reasoning. Festivalisation, in this light, might be distinguished from biennales on the basis of an engagement with the above dichotomy: the former failing to do so, while the latter – when they are successful – acting to create new forms of value and engagement within the broader conditions of the late capitalist milieu. As such, the latter always runs the risk of slipping into the former, and so of merely unquestioningly reiterating these aforementioned conditions: temporary and cursory artistic engagement serving only to reiterate the self-same strategies of globalised, capitalist engagement. The biennale runs the risk of becoming pure festival, pure spectacle, in the absence of some attendant contradiction of capital. Given the language of sociality and exchange that pervades the socio-economic milieu, the contemporary festival fails to offer a point of intrinsic contradiction; structurally, it instead reiterates the grounds on which a contemporary understanding of (social, immaterial etc.) capitalism is predicated. As Peter Osborne writes: “Art is a privileged cultural carrier of contemporaneity, as it was of previous forms of modernity. With the historical expansion, geopolitical differentiation and temporal intensification of contemporaneity, it has become critically incumbent upon any art with a claim on the present to situate itself, reflexively, within this expanded field”.8 Understood within such a horizon, the festival functions as an agent not only of neoliberal capitalism, but also of contemporaneity itself. Boris Groys describes the contemporary as a period of doubt and hesitation, indicative of a desire for “a prolonged, even potentially infinite period of delay”.9 Traditionally the festival is to be conceived analogously, by offering a means of subversion or a halting of daily quotidian life: a “time out of time”.10 Thus, both the concept of the contemporary and that of the festival foreground the possibility of the present moment as a point radically at odds with the homogeneity of time. As Groys affirms, in both, “the present is a moment in time when we decide to lower our expectations of the future or to abandon some of the dear traditions of the past in order to pass through the narrow gate of the here-and-now”.11 The contemporary, then, reiterates the traditional festival’s operation. Indeed we might think of it as being inherently festivalist, but purged of the utopian impulse on which the latter was traditionally founded. The contemporary festival, then, does not inherently offer a break or rupture of the existing milieu, but only its formal intensification. Here in Ireland there have been both successes and failures in negotiating this particular bind. To illustrate this, we might contrast two recent large-scale art exhibitions: Dublin Contemporary and Eva International. The former was founded as a quinquennial in 2011, like Documenta; the latter, a Limerick-based biennale, was first staged in 1977, with its latest iteration taking place in 2014. In their differences, we can perceive the importance of placeboundedness within contem-
porary large-scale exhibition making. The problem with Dublin Contemporary was that it illustrated very little of it, aside from the actual physical setting of the exhibition, and the presence of some Irish artists, it remained only nominally place bound. Eva, by contrast, consistently appeals to a more local context, whilst retaining the ambition and rigour present within the highlights of Dublin Contemporary. Given that Dublin Contemporary was staged during the 2011 Venice Biennale, it also badly needed a point of differentiation to foreground its necessity; largely failing to do so, it not only estranged tourists, but the local Dublin context, too.12 Eva feels more vital, more entrenched within its context and, although possibly more economically urgent or necessary in Limerick, does not appear to be predicated on only these grounds. Dublin Contemporary – due perhaps to that fact that it took place within the capital rather than on the periphery – seemed indicative only of a desire to do something. Arguably, this ‘something’ failed to differentiate itself and was as much a result of branding than any concerted effort to engage with the problems and inconsistencies inherent to Dublin, as opposed to anywhere else. Certainly it is no coincidence that festivals – and in particular biennales – predominantly take place in cities. Indeed, under current conditions it is specifically creativity that has become the preeminent driving force in capitalist expansion and growth, not only in cities, but in regions and nations more broadly.13 This is apparent in cities like San Francisco and London, but also Dublin. Recent dizzy hyperbole surrounding the Web Summit, for example, served only to emphasise creativity’s unparalleled valorisation as a force for contemporary growth. It is into this discourse that any conception of festivalisation must necessarily inhere. Understood this way – as a particular symptom and vehicle of economic growth – the festival format is almost naturalised as a product of global capitalism. What is crucial, though, is the means by which this creative growth forms within the particular format, avoiding a situation that sees the festival estranged – as with Dublin Contemporary – from its own particular conception of place. Here, San Francisco’s blacked-out tech buses, transporting workers from their city homes to Silicon Valley, function as a fitting analogy. Capital has no responsibility to place; it has instead an everdiminishing sense of ‘placeboundedness’. In opposition, the arts and its attendant festivals might instead offer an engagement that is inherently fidelitous to place, seeking to affirm a “strategic terrain for a whole series of conflicts and contradictions”.14 These conflicts and contradictions of place might not all be productive – or at least not in economic terms. In Forgetting the Art World (2012), Pamela M. Lee offers a trenchant affirmation of the ineluctable bondage of the ‘art world’, to the world ‘out there’. She says: “To speak of ‘the work of art’s world’ is to retain a sense of the activity performed by the object as utterly continuous
with the world it at once inhabits and creates: a world Mobius-like in its indivisibility and circularity, a seemingly endless horizon”.15 For Lee the ‘work of art’s world’ is inseparable from the wider conditions of its making. Thus the city is of course the perfect site for a contemporary large-scale art festival – as it is for any kind of global capitalist exchange. The difference is that the latter necessitates no real engagement, aside from one purely economic in nature. Festivals, though symptomatic and indeed catalytic of capital, should engage neither transitorily nor parasitically, but with a productivity that seeks to sharpen and foreground the gaps and inconsistencies of place. One means of tackling the problem of placeboundedness would involve utilising our already-existing artistic institutions, in supplementing and extending a project’s legacy. This, I feel, would also create a greater support for such projects, in that it would necessarily involve a greater amount of people permanently invested in the city. Similarly, these institutions could formulate new formats for presenting art that would appeal to this festivalist-desire – admittedly, this would be a tricky line to walk, but it would be possible with some sensitivity. Here, the recent staging of Gracelands at IMMA as part of the Summer Rising festival is a case in point. Such a festival would feel less artificial than its temporary, bombastic counterpoint: a result of permanent, engaged structures, rather than some after-thought or misguided exercise in branding. New criteria and evaluative tools must be put forward; at the very least, some engagement as to why, in fact, people will travel and spend money on art. Recent political furor has foregrounded the possibility that Irish politicians do not even want to understand art, let alone know why they should fund it.16 But if art and its attendant festival form are indeed lucrative then surely politics needs to understand why, ensuring increased differentiation and thus revenue in the future. Declan Long, writing recently in the Irish Times, asks a pertinent question: “In light of Scotland, and more particularly Glasgow’s artistic achievements, is it possible to think that an Irish city might be thought of in similar terms in the future?17 What would need to happen for this to take place? Festivalisation – thought about specifically, with attentiveness and with the involvement of our permanent institutions – might be one way of achieving this, neither negating nor appeasing the economic rationale that gives rise to it, but instead seeking to problematise its relative demand on place. To what purpose is art being instrumentalised? And to what ends? Rebecca O’ Dwyer is an art critic and PhD candidate at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Forthcoming and newly published texts include: A Rethinking of Place (December 2014) Niamh O’ Malley, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin; A Seductive Union (2013) in Caoimhe Doyle, ed. (2014); Weaponising Speculation, New York, Punctum Books; Mother’s Annual 2013 (2014), mother’s tankstation, Dublin; and An Interview with Gedi Sibony (2014), Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin. rebeccaodwyer.wordpress.com
Notes 1. Peter Schjeldahl, ‘Festivalism’, The New Yorker, July 5, 1999, 85 2. Ibid 3. For more on the cultural significance of the ‘project’, see Lane Relyea, Your Everyday Art World, 2013, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass & London, 4 – 6 4. Saskia Sassen (1998) Globalization and its Discontents, The New Press, New York, xxiv 5. For more information, see: failteireland.ie. This figure does not include specifically commercial events, e.g. music festivals 6. I use this term loosely: Documenta, for example, happens every five years 7. Gerard Delanty, Liana Giorgi, and Monica Sassatelli (eds.) Festivals and the Cultural Public Sphere, 2011, Routledge, New York & London, 17 8. Peter Osborne, Anywhere or Not At All: Philosophy of Contemporary Art, 2013, Verso, London & New York, 27 9. Boris Groys, ‘Comrades of Time’, e-flux no. 11, December 2009, available at: e-flux.com/journal/comrades-of-time 10. Alessandro Falassi, Time out of Time: Essays on the Festival, 1987, University of Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1–10 11. Lane Relaya, Your Everyday Art World 12. Certainly the local critical reaction was ambivalent at best. For examples, see Declan Long, ‘What Else? On Dublin Contemporary’, The Irish Review, Issue 45, Winter 2012 and Francis Halsall, ‘It’s Hard to Satirize a Guy in Shiny Boots’, Paper Visual Art Journal Dublin Edition, November 2011 13. Specifically, this is the divisive argument of Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class, 2002 and Cities and the Creative Class, 2004 14. Ibid, xxv 15. Pamela M. Lee, Forgetting the Art World, 2012, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass & London, 8 16. In particular, I refer to the recent furore regarding John McNulty’s appointment to the board of IMMA, and the particular breed of political cynicism (or antipathy) suggested by such a move. The notes from the ensuing debate are highly illuminating in this regard, in particular Senator MarieLouise O’ Donnell’s words: “To me modern art has no explanation and at times we have hundreds and thousands of psychologists, sociologists and culturally aware people trying to explain it. When one has to explain things one is losing, as we know”. The debate can be found online in full here: oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie 17. Declan Long, ‘The artistic vision of Scotland’s golden generation’, the Irish Times, 19 August 2014, available at irishtimes.com
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
Art in Public
History is Always Unfinished Business JONATHAN CARROLL REPORTS ON A WEEKEND OF EVENTS (13 – 15 NOVEMBER) FOCUSING ON SOCIALLY ENGAGED / PUBLIC ART PRACTICES, WHICH INCLUDED A LIVE STREAMING OF THE ‘CREATIVE TIME SUMMIT’ 2014 FROM STOCKHOLM AT THE HUGH LANE GALLERY AND FIRE STATION ARTISTS’ STUDIOS, AND THE TWO-DAY SYMPOSIUM ‘JOCHEN GERZ: PARTICIPATION, COMMEMORATION AND PUBLIC SPACE’ AT IMMA.
Jochen Gerz at ‘Jochen Gerz: Participation, Commemoration and Public Space,’ 14 – 15 November Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, organised by the Goethe-Institut with IMMA, photo courtesy of IMMA
Never mind creative time, what about having the actual time to see a cluster of public art events all taking place in Dublin over a matter of days? It was as if all the institutions were beefing up their yearly outputs with end-of-year cramming. I put my bicycle in the boot of my car to allow me to zip between venues for the overlapping talks at the Hugh Lane and Fire Station, which related to a live streaming of the ‘Creative Time Summit’ from Stockholm (14 – 15 November). I also followed some of the ‘Creative Time Summit’ on my laptop at home. This year, themes included “the challenges of migration, the growth of extreme nationalism and xenophobia, the uses of the public sphere, the fluid line between surveillance and our interpersonal selves, and, finally, how these challenges are met by artists who are re-imagining the public realm” (creativetime.org). Glen Loughran (Lecturer, NCAD, MA Socially Engaged Art) moderated the Hugh Lane and Fire Station sessions, summing up events on screen and encouraging a local Q&A. Over the two days there was much congruous material – often artists (e.g. Dominic Thorpe and Jesse Jones) who were ‘live’ at one event were discussed at another. The chair of the event, Karen E. Till (Senior Lecturer of Cultural Geography and Director, MA in Geography, Maynooth University), in a pleasant coincidence, was also a contributor to an artwork by Ailbhe Murphy and Ciaran Smyth (Vagabond Reviews) on show at the Hugh Lane in the current exhibition ‘Phoenix Rising: Art and Civic Imagination’. For the Dublin audience, many of the issues raised at the ‘Creative Time Summit’ were set against the continuing debate about how best to commemorate the 1916 Rising in 2016. Thankfully, due to the international flavour of the speakers at the summit and here in Dublin, the parameters of the debate were hugely expanded. At Fire Station, Ana Devic of What, How and for Whom (WHW), a Croatian curatorial collective, spoke about one of her first curated shows, which took place on the 153rd Anniversary of the Communist Manifesto. At the summit, Jonas Dahlberg spoke of making the memorial for the 22 July terror attack on Otøya Island in Norway. And over at IMMA, where ‘Jochen Gerz: Participation, Commemoration and Public Space’ took place, Gerz mentioned a work of his situated in Bochum, Germany – which conflates the memorial to those killed locally in the WWI with a present day citizens’ promise to Europe – in the same breath that he discussed ‘amaptocare’, his 2013 project for Ballymun’s Breaking Ground initiative.
Fire Station’s seminar, ‘The Intersection of Art and Politics’, coincided with the launch of their new publication, Art & Activism (see review in this issue’s Critique section). This was a timely reminder that, rather than debating the merits of a permanent memorial or oneoff event for 2016, we should be looking towards the merits of more participatory and activist art practices. This would perhaps be more in keeping with the revolutionary intents of 1916. The participants of the seminar (Ana Devic, Jesse Jones and Director of the Model, Sligo, Megan Johnston) were invited to reflect on how they navigate the growing intersection between art and the social and political sphere, and to consider what is at stake. Devic spoke about her work with the WHW curatorial collective. She showed us a work by David Maljkovic, Scene for New Heritage, which features an anti-Fascist monument, dating from Communist-era Yugoslavia, by Petrova Gora – a memorial to the victims of WWII, built in Croatia between 1970 and 1981. The curator then showed us the monument’s present state, stripped of all its precious metals stolen for scrap: a sad warning about the fate of much memorial artwork and the ultimate result of historical amnesia. Surely our own worries about commemorating 1916 pale in comparison to the massive changes in political regimes experienced throughout Eastern Europe and the minefield that is Germany’s recent history? Megan Johnston – who has worked in recent years as a curator and academic in Minneapolis, Minnesota and prior to this as Arts Director at Millennium Court Arts Centre in Portadown (2003 – 2010) – gave us contrasting insights into the business of curating in the divergent economic and political environments of the USA and Northern Ireland. Johnston offered insights into managing competing demands to deliver blockbuster shows and addressing the necessities of ‘political correctness’ in the Deep South. She also gave us a snapshot of some of the issues she dealt with while working in Portadown. While commissioning work by Paul Seawright, she came across an the interesting situation where previously contested territory in Northern Ireland had, following the peace process, become prime real estate. We also heard about Megan’s emergency response meetings set up to tackle any problems expected after showing Shane Cullen’s The Agreement (2002 – 2003), where issues such as bomb and death threats had to be considered. In the end the show went on without a hitch. It seems ironic that only when another work by Cullen was shown in the Republic – at the Luan Gallery, Athlone in January 2013 – did we
see a minor stir. The headline “Councillor wants republican artwork pulled from local exhibition” ran in the Journal.ie. The word ‘fear’ was often repeated during the Gerz symposium at IMMA: fear of failure to produce something worthy of the great events to be celebrated in 2016; fear of getting it wrong politically and of alienating the hydra-headed nightmare of contending stakeholders; fear of the political positioning involved. Most of the symposium at IMMA felt like an episode of This is Your Life for Jochen Gerz, but, ultimately, the decades of experience he has accumulated working on politically charged and contested ground made for sound advice on these matters. His suggestion was to commemorate the 104th anniversary of 1916. “I like the idea of celebrating in 2020,” he said. Why not? Hey presto: the pressure is off and the time-bomb diffused. You could hear a collective sigh of relief from the IMMA audience – like pupils after being told their exam has been called off. Gerz’s bold suggestion was made in the wake of the apparent confusion and frustration expressed by much of the audience following one of final presentations, Remembrance and Commemoration in Ireland: the role of contemporary arts practice, featuring Pat Cooke (Director, MA in Cultural Policy and Arts Management UCD), Jenny Haughton (independent arts adviser, lecturer in strategic arts management), Lisa Moran (Curator: Education and Community Programmes, IMMA), Ray Yeates (Dublin City Arts Officer) and chaired by Declan McGonagle (Director, NCAD). The discussion actually felt very parochial and rather jaded in comparison to previous discussions at IMMA and the wide scope of issues addressed via the ‘Creative Time Summit’ and its various articulations at the Hugh Lane and Fire Station. Gerz’s solo presentation, given the night before, Who Cares. Thoughts about people, places and times, stressed that art needs the freedom to fail. Gerz admitted a knowledge of both failure and success. As he explained, not all of his proposals are successful and many others are compromised or left unfinished. Gerz spoke of his failure to win a bid for the ultimate contentious commission, the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. Gerz had proposed a work that would have taken more than 80 years to be completed. Thus, his work would avoid being static, it would give “legs to memory”, as he put it, with memory as the last stop to forgetting. History, he said, is always unfinished business, and he noted that a sense of negotiation was in the air in Ireland in relation to the 2016 commemorations. For Gerz, “negotiation is beautiful”. Various solutions to the problems posed by commemoration were provided in unexpected places at the ‘Creative Time Summit’ and at the various talks. Lisa Moran’s IMMA presentation The Impossibility of Commemoration featured examples of a range of commemorative works made for Documenta in Kassel, Germany, all linked by the implementation of good financing, best international curatorial practice, sound historical precedent and a knowledgeable critical audience. Speaking at Fire Station, Jesse Jones spoke of In the Shadow of the State, the forthcoming commissioned work that she and Sarah Browne are preparing in collaboration with Art Angel, UK and Create, Ireland. This will be realised in public form in both the UK and Ireland in 2016, with additional funding by DCC. So, Jones and Browne will produce a work that is well financed and independently supported and will just happen to arrive in time for 2016. What a relief it must be to all not to have to leap through committee upon committee while ticking all politically correct boxes. Let us hope that Art Angel invite the Queen along to the opening! Jonas Dahlberg spoke of his Otøya memorial as like walking in an open wound like it happened yesterday. Not a bad ambition to have for a memorial to a past event. Jonathan Carroll is an independent curator based in Dublin. He is one of the curators for the Return at the Goethe-Institut Irland and a graduate of Curating Contemporary Art (RCA, London), Cultural Management (Instituto Universitario Ortega Y Gasset, Madrid) and Art History (UCD). He has worked for Project Arts Centre and the St. Patrick’s Festival.
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
Critique Supplement Edition 17: January – February 2015
Damir Ocko ‘Studies on Shivering’ 21 November 2014 – 24 January 2015 TBG+S, Dublin The clear and ordered manner in which Damir Ocko’s works are arranged in ‘Studies on Shivering’ may initially conceal the extent to which Ocko intends for these works to slide across into each other and cross-pollinate. This process of synchronous readings makes for a demanding experience in which our own cognitive processes are implicated. A musical score is presented with a poem embedded within it and we read in the opening inter-titles
Still from TK, courtesy of the artist, Yvon Lambert and Tiziana di Caro
Installation view of ‘Studies on Shivering’ at TBG+S, 2014
to the film TK that the piece is “for voice and string”. This invitation to experience a work in a way that seems initially incongruous to it, places a hesitancy within the audience – triggering the sense that a more authentic reading of the work may lie elsewhere. This strategy of deflecting hierarchies of meaning permeates the entire show and ultimately forces us to reflect upon how we derive meaning from sensory stimulus and how that might effect our perception of the world. A group of nine collage works on paper constitute the TK scores. Here, a poem is arranged in sequence across nine sheets of paper; interspersed with the poem is an experimental music score. While the score is formally interesting, containing curiosities such as gold and silver foil in amongst its furious lattice work of black marks, as an audience we also know that what we are looking at is code. We feel that a truer experience of the piece would be an aural one – listening to musicians navigate and interpret the musical text. There are similar deflections at work in seeing a poem printed as an art piece. To experience the full force of both mediums, they need to be embodied: activated by being played or read. It is as though the physical manifestation of these works in the exhibition can be compared to seeing the tip of an iceberg above water. We suspect that a more ‘true’ or authentic understanding of what we’re seeing is present else-
where and what is made physically apparent serves only as an indicator of the work’s existence, not its true nature. As we journey further into the exhibition we realise that this emphasis upon our own sensory mechanisms is the fulcrum around which this exhibition turns. Ocko’s film TK is located at the centre of the exhibition in a dark and enclosed space. The film depicts people shivering. One sequence within the film features a number of men standing, close to naked, in a frozen landscape, fixed to the spot and shaking with the cold; this sequence is inter-cut with a close-up of a shaking elderly hand, attempting to write on a sheet of white paper. Beyond the obvious harshness of what we’re viewing, a more unsettling impression develops: that the stressed bodies we are witnessing represent a wider sense of unrest and incapacity within more bodies than just the ones depicted in TK. A strange and provocative dichotomy springs from the film. On one hand Ocko places trust in the audience’s ability to navigate the complex sensory world presented both in TK and in the wider exhibition. He trusts that we can leap from the stimulus of poetry to projected images and back to our memories of a printed musical score on the wall outside. However, in TK we see two groups of people who appear to embody potential, yet are presented enacting struggle: the cold men are all young and fit, yet have been fixed to the spot; all they can do is shiver in the face of their extreme circumstances. Meanwhile, the elderly hand struggles to enact one of our greatest human achievements: writing. Presenting such disempowered figures at the centre of a show that also trusts in our capabilities as sensitive and thinking beings invokes difficult questions around the ways in which power is distributed and embodied. Documents that were derived during the making of TK are on display in the gallery and foreground a sense of the art objects in ‘Studies on Shivering’ as fleeting and unstable repositories for the ideas underpinning them. A black and white photograph describes what we understand to be one of the cold men in TK departing the film-location with a duvet wrapped about him and a car in the distance. A group of 16 large white sheets of paper containing what we believe to be the shaky and barely legible writing created in the film are on display across one wall of the gallery. While these Untitled works seem to authenticate the experiences in TK, they also suggest that, although the film is positioned centrally within the exhibition, the creative impetus in the making of this film is resonating out from it, finding material expression as it departs from these documents, and we imagine this creative energy moving and echoing through future materials not yet evident. A fascinating polyphonic experiment is set in motion through ‘Studies on Shivering’. Like the simultaneous playing out of musical melodies, we are called on to allow each of the parallel moments within the exhibition to reside within us and ultimately challenge and deepen our understanding of the ways in which images, sounds and ideas move through us. Sarah Lincoln is a visual artist based in West Waterford.
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet Critique Supplement
January – February 2015
Sinead McDonald ‘Uchronia’ 28 November – 7 February Draiocht, Blanchardstown, Co. Dublin
Artist Sinéad McDonald does not like her photo
Working with Finnish artist Elina Brotherus,
being taken.1 So what motivated McDonald to
who also mixes real and fictive biographical ele-
produce her first solo exhibition made up almost
ments in her work, McDonald wrote her biography
entirely of self-portraits? The answer is that while
in just two pages. This condensed list of key events
McDonald is the subject, artist, photographer, direc-
was used to form the basis of her uchronian para-
tor and all-round protagonist in this series of works,
digm. The speculative possibilities and realities of
they are fictions.
McDonald’s subsequent enquiries into the ‘what if’
The show’s title, ‘Uchronia’, which literally
Sinead McDonald, Self Portrait if I Hadn’t Walked Home Via Camden Street in 1989
can be understood as a kind of ‘anti-biography’.
means other time, draws the viewer into the realm
While pose and expression are consistent
of the ‘what if’. As the press release for the exhibi-
throughout the works, each Sinéad McDonald life
tion states, “these images investigate fate, free will
is unique and contrasting. The viewer is not taken
and predestination, truth and longing, and look at
on far-fetched time-travel to historical or futuris-
how decisions, accidents and circumstances can
tic eras. The work is set in the now and depicts the
change us utterly. What is it that makes us who we
reasonable and plausible commonplace existences
are? What if we could go back and undo things? Do
that McDonald did not choose. Titles narrate how
we really have the power to shift our own narra-
she was guided toward particular choices, while
the photographs depict what might have been for
McDonald is a Dublin-based artist, photogra-
McDonald as the somewhat unwilling but very real
pher and digital media producer and a graduate of
and central character. While the scenes are staged
the Art in the Digital World Masters at NCAD. She
and fully kitted out prop wise, McDonald’s photo-
describes her research and practice as focusing on
graphs are natural and lit using ordinary daylight.
issues of authorship and narrative in portraits and
The images remain uncontrived and unedited and
images of people, and the creation of identity in
are not studio constructs. It appears as if McDonald
online and offline spaces. McDonald’s work incor-
is stepping into each scenario to check that it was
porates new technologies: digital production, web-
never the right fit for her.
based art and physical computing, alongside pho-
Obvious themes exploring fate and predes-
tography, video and historical lens-based processes.
tination are inherent in these works. ‘Uchronia’
‘Uchronia’ was shot using a medium-format
questions how much control we really have, if any,
film camera with the shutter release cable plainly
over life. If random occurrences as banal as seeing
visible in each frame. The analogue quality of the
a poster advertising a philosophy course in Self
medium produces a richer photograph, deeper
Portrait if I Hadn’t Walked Home via Camden Street in
in detail. It is a slow and deliberate process where
August 1989 can ultimately determine a major life
each of the 10 frames per film spool must count, a
juncture, then how arbitrary is life, and does free
process at odds with today’s digital point and shoot
technology. It seems appropriate that McDonald
McDonald’s work also challenges the wis-
chose this contemplative technique for these con-
dom of altering life’s past pain and difficulties.
The Grandfather Paradox, an idea first posited by
McDonald’s titles and imagery suggest a disclo-
philosopher David Lewis in the 1970s, maintains
sure of the artist’s deepest feelings of guilt, shame
that changing the past, even in the smallest way,
and self-loathing, intimated by works such as Self
negates the need or desire for change and presents
Portrait at My Son’s Grave on His Birthday. McDon-
an infinite contradiction. While this may be univer-
ald’s works are self-consciously speculative exer-
sally true and makes for interesting conjecture, it is
cises. Tellingly, in each image McDonald passively
somewhat distracting from McDonald’s profound
looks past the lens and out of the frame. Rather than
and deeply personal experience.
a confrontational stare, viewers are presented with a near submissive gaze.
There is an argument that visual art should be solely explicable from observation, that it should
Each shot shows the artist in a variety of
not require excessive background reading and ex-
(mostly) occupational environ-ments that imagine
planation to be appreciated. Contrary to this argu-
McDonald as a farmer’s wife in Self Portrait If I Hadn’t
ment, ‘Uchronia’ is a layered work that ultimately
Met My Now Ex Husband, as an information tech-
reveals more to us through pondering the narra-
nology professional in Self Portrait If I’d Finished My
tive that McDonald sets.
First Undergraduate Degree in 1995 and as a school teacher in Self Portrait If My Parents had Called Me
Emer Marron is an arts manager and occasional
Irene Sinéad Instead of Sinéad Irene. The photographs
detail what she might have looked and dressed like and the surroundings of her imagined daily grind.
Sinead McDonald, Self Portrait at my Son’s Grave on H is Birthday
Note 1. In an interview with the writer, November 2014
January – February 2015
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet Critique Supplement
Debra Bowden ‘Beginnings’ 17 November – 16 December Toradgh Gallery, Ashbourne, Meath
Fire Station Artists’ Studios (ed. Liz Burns & Clodagh Kenny) ‘Art & Activism’ Published November 2014
Debra Bowden, Cave VII, 2012, pigment, oil bar and mica on paper
Debra Bowden, Free, 2013, sand, pigment, oil bar on board
Cows. Why are they such a popular subject for paintings? In many hands, even when well executed, they come across as sentimental, chocolatebox images, anodyne and unchallenging. In Debra Bowden’s work, now showing at the Toradh Gallery in Ashbourne, Co. Meath, they are none of the above. Of the 24 pieces on display, the majority feature this benign-seeming animal, but its representation goes well beyond the simply bovine, reaching as far back as prehistoric times. In its subject matter, execution and choice of palette, Bowden’s work evokes the primitive cave drawings of Lascaux and Chauvet. These works are fascinating. Were they recordings or decorations? A means of communication or ritual markings? Whatever their purpose, they are a vivid reminder of that most human activity: creation, and a rebuke not to confuse primitive with paltry or puerile. The warm ochres and rough materials that Bowden uses – sand, pigment, mica – bring us on that heady journey into the depths of prehistoric markings, reminding us of our origins and remonstrating with us for assuming that in our evolution we have somehow left behind the primeval. Recently, there have been anecdotes about cattle becoming more aggressive, explained perhaps by their lack of human contact in an environment which is more industrialised and less peopled than in the past. When Bowden speaks of exploring that “empathetic relationship between man, his environment and the indigenous animals that inhabit it,” she is asking us to examine just how strong that relationship is now, and to wonder what we may have lost over time. In this exhibition, Bowden shows six images from what is presumably a larger series – the numbering here is not sequential – of which Cave I is the most dramatic. It presents to the viewer an animal that, although familiar in form, has nothing of the bucolic or pastoral. This is a beast, a force to be reckoned with, presented in strong, minimal lines and earthy, tactile media. There is confidence and coherence in Bowden’s conjunction of skill and subject matter. Her palette too shows confidence. Apart from the ochres, which dominate, there are occasional strong but harmonious lines of red, black and yel-
low, as in Family. Her work is pleasing to the eye, but never merely decorative, and for the fellow artist, her use – and combination – of media such as oil bar, sawdust, and mica, and her range of support – paper, board, wood – are a call to greater exploration. Beginnings proclaims an artist fully engaged with her process. However, some works, though still eye-catching, are less successful than others. Horn, a piece of carved found wood, feels out of place in this exhibition, though the other work in carved wood, Ice, fits in, perhaps because the subject matter is of a piece with the overall theme. The three pieces based on sheep seem a little overworked and lack the looseness and confidence that otherwise characterise Bowden’s work. A handprint on one rings a false note, and two of the titles confuse: there seems to be too little difference visually between Free and Fenced In to justify the opposition. Indeed, in many cases the works are somewhat undermined by their titles. Bowden’s pieces appeal to the imagination in a visceral way which links us to those cave people who first drew on walls many aeons ago. Titles such as Black Sheep, Cowgirl, Thirsty are too literal for images that are all about non-verbal communication. They jolt the viewer into the now and leave nothing to the imagination; they demand an interpretation which is limiting, both to the viewer and the work. Throughout ‘Beginnings’, Bowden demonstrates a completely personal style, especially in relation to the potentially banal subject matter of cows and sheep. It is clear from the work – and supported by her comments – that she is exploring, testing her themes, her media, her practice. She is reaching back “to the beginning of art,” attempting to understand what we are trying to communicate when we make marks on paper, canvas, wood or cave walls. She doesn’t always get it right, but she has the confidence and the commitment to push beyond the mis-hits, and delve further and deeper to reach for her truth. That is what art is all about.
The latest publication from Fire Station Artists’ Studios is less of a manifesto or call to arms and more of a provocation asking, ‘what does activism really mean to artists?’ The book is a slim volume containing a collection of interviews and essays. In the introduction co-editor Liz Burns explains that she chose the title as an attempt to open up discourse around the idea of the artist as activist, primarily focusing on work that emerged from the ‘Troubling Ireland’ mobile think tanks, which began in 2010. The book offers insight into the diverse collection of contributions from artists Anthony Haughey, Kennedy Browne, Anna McLeod, Susan Thompson and Augustine O’Donoghue, with further responses from cultural geographer Bryonie Reid, curator Galit Eilat and the now-director of Fire Station, Helen Carey. It was launched in a week when activism – in the form of the country’s water charge protests – and the decade of commemoration were in the news, following the release of the government’s controversial promotional video for the 1916 commemoration. Despite marking a key anniversary of the birth of the state, this latter offering was criticised for failing to mention the actual players in the 1916 Easter Rising, indicating a sanitising of Ireland’s bloody past in a toothless rebranding exercise – the strapline for the commemorative year is ‘Ireland Inspires’. While protests and activism may be firmly on the agenda today, in 2010, when Danish curatorial collective Kuratorisk Aktion were commissioned to devise and lead ‘Troubling Ireland’, the country was relatively new to recession and the cumulative effects of austerity were yet to bite. Perhaps because of this and the still-recent glow of the Good Friday Agreement, the objectives of the project were, as Kuratorisk Aktion put it, to “explore socially engaged art and how curating can engage a problem like ‘Ireland’”. Using a methodology of postcolonial discourse merged with transnational feminist critique, Frederikke Hansen and Tone Olaf Nielsen of Kuratorisk Aktion invited artists and thinkers to respond in different ways to the subject, with the resulting responses taking place over the ensuing three years in the form of think tank symposia. These comprised discussions, presentations, art works and essays. Thus, when the pair began their interventions, activism was somewhat rhetorical in an Irish context. This is the position taken by Helen Carey, then Director of the Limerick Gallery of Art, who asserts in her short essay about the exhibitions she commissioned to commemorate the 1913 Lockout, that “Irish artists are witnesses, not provocateurs”. This
Mary Catherine Nolan is a Dublin-based artist and writer with a background in linguistics. Speakers at the Fire Station Artists’ Studios seminar, 2014
is an apt observation on the many projects featured in her programme of Lockout exhibitions, including Jesse Jones’s The Struggle Against Ourselves, Anthony Haughey’s Dispute and Darek Fortas’s Coal Story. Haughey’s work is shown in part here, and explores the closure of the Lagan Brick Works, the Republic’s last red brick factory, which closed its doors overnight leaving workers unemployed. The longer pieces in the book provide plenty of starting points for anatomising the idea of ‘Troubling Ireland’ and the many questions and enquiries prompted by the nature of art and activism. Liz Burns’s interview with Hansen and Nielsen offers a useful framework for exploration of activism in Ireland from an outsider perspective, an approach that immediately seems more objective and less volatile than those posed from within. The pair talk about how addressing post-colonial issues in Ireland such as ‘double-speak’ and self-silencing assisted their approach to their practice, while the longevity of the project gave them the opportunity to revisit the same group of artists through the duration of the think tank programme. Curator and writer Galit Eilat, meanwhile, provides an edited version of the presentation she gave at Fire Station’s 2013 ‘Art and Responsibility’ symposium, where she discussed a selection of the actions she has participated in at home in her native Israel. Preferring the term ‘responsibility’ rather than ‘activism’, Eilat has taken part in works addressing her home country’s controversial ‘Green Line’, the 700km wall dividing Jewish settlers and Palestinians. While in other contexts these might be viewed as distinctly ‘activist’, she prefers to see this kind of work as artists engaging with politics, rather than being ‘political’. In the short time since the events that inform the book took place, however, much has changed in the social, if not political, landscape. This raises the question of whether those who contributed to Act and Activism might well reframe their thoughts if they were writing today. Nonetheless, this is an enjoyable collection the responses from the highly-engaged participants of Kuratorisk Aktion’s multi-faceted exploration of an Ireland ‘troubled’ by its many difficult legacies. Anne Mullee is a Dublin-based writer and curator. Notes 1. E. O’Caolli, ‘Don’t mention the war – 1916 video fails to mention Rising’, Irishtimes.com, 13 November 2014 2. F. Hansen, Kuratorisk Aktion in conversation with Liz Burns, Art & Activism, 2014, 14 3. H. Carey, ‘Contemporary Art and Commemorative Activity’, Art & Activism, 2014, .55
January – February 2015
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet Critique Supplement The Nom Nom Collective comprises eight artists who have worked together for around a decade, five of whom are included in their current exhibition ‘Nomstalgia’, at White Lady Art on Wellington Quay. Lints (Denmark), Poncho (Ireland), Dr
Nom Nom Collective ‘Nomstalgia’ 29 November – 22 December White Lady Gallery, Dublin
Lamps, Welcome to Eerie, 80 x 72 cm
Loki, Edward Scissorhands, 54 cm x 45 cm
Lints, Who Killed Robin
Poncho, Cash Money, 30 x 40 cm
Ropey Smurf, paint and ink on repurposed album cover
Lamps & Mr Splink (Ireland), Loki (Ireland) and Jine (Ireland / Canada) have taken part. The other three – Askim (Brazil), DS (France / Ireland) and Met10 aka The Assistinator (Denmark) – are not in the show for various reasons. The collective members describe themselves as street and graffiti artists, supplementing their respective practices with jobs in graphic design, illustration, advertising and publishing. Nom Nom gave themselves a brief for this exhibition, taking the theme of nostalgia as a starting point. Given their age profile, their inspiration stems from the 1980s and early to mid 1990s. Overall, popular media dominates and there is often overlap between artists whose formative years ran in parallel. They pay homage to cartoons, television drama, toys, video games and other iconic phenomena including the old Irish Punt coinage and obsolete technologies. The White Lady Art Gallery is far from a white cube space. The exhibition literature describes how the work is hung ‘salon style’, which is funny given that a bank of shampoo chairs remains in the gallery, left over from its previous life as a hair salon. Coming from the fine art world, I had to swallow my white cube inclinations and embrace this whole other art culture, sinks and all. Loki’s oeuvre in watercolour and ink is dominated by super-feminine female characters – sexy, self-possessed, sashaying – as well as male comic heroes that she has converted into wonderfully costumed, super-sexed heroines, including female versions of CP30 and R2D2, the Ninja Turtles, the Ghostbusters and the T101 (in an image created with Sarah Connor). These are exaggerated genotypes – over-styled, big hair, tiny wastes, luscious
lips and big saucer eyes that are sometimes blanked out – casting them as them indifferent rather than oblivious. The dynamic of Loki’s characters is tempered by their small scale and delicate hand-made execution. The elegant fine lines, confectionary colours and just a tiny hint of bony fragility successfully camouflages their other worldly potency. The drawing skill and handling of watercolour and ink reveals an accomplished and restrained finesse. Nintendo, Super Mario, Dungeons and Dragons and other icons of the 1980s occupy the memories of Poncho and Dr Lamp & Mr Splink. Poncho’s heavily outlined ‘portraits’ of power up items from Super Mario Bros in his Mario Slots series, titled Flower, Star and Mushroom, depict strangely misplaced and slightly perplexed looking characters trapped in opaque backgrounds of solid red, blue and green. Like Grandpa Simpson they have become wrinkled and sagging and are surreally melting off the page. Dress Up Arnie is a startled Arnie from Terminator 2 separated from his pants (and his genitals), still waiting it seems, a full generation later, to be reunited with his clothes. This work is solid and distinguished, though of an acquired taste. Dr Lamp & Mr Splink is one artist who switches between street art (Dr Lamp) and graffiti (Mr Splink or Splink). Of all the work in this show his is the most nostalgic in the traditional sense. He has crafted a series of weapons: daggers, swords and knives, all beautifully sculpted in MDF, an unlikely material. They are touching mementos to the childhood fantasy world of adventure and play, replicating actual weapons from cartoons and toys, rendered trompe l’oeil with paint to appear realistic. Though they are too fragile to play with, they have a warmth and density that is distinctly sculptural. Duck Hunt is a wall-based work that takes on the popular ‘flying ducks’ living room ornaments, which featuring in the eponymous 1980s Nintendo game. The ducks are made of composite square MDF units, evoking the primitive pixelated appearance of early video game technology. It is a work of devotion, earnestness, excitement and joy. Danish artist Lints brings the audience into faraway and unfamiliar worlds. As in Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr Who and other science fiction creations, these are depictions of strange and outlandish creatures in their own environment, faithfully observed according to the ‘prime directive’. The motivation for this work seems less playful and more abstract than works by either Loki, Splink or Poncho. There is a sense of a struggle for invention and a desire to become totally of itself rather than of the influences that clearly run through it. Like Loki, Lints also uses watercolour and the medium lends itself well to his imaginative and colourful compositions. It is most difficult to pin-point the nostalgic influences in Jine’s dreamy and ephemeral works on paper. Hanging loosely on clips like pages from a sketchbook, the images reveal the process of invention and re-invention filtered through years of exposure to the same sources that appear in the other artists’ works. There is an experimental and fresh approach to mark-making, rendering various tangible textures to the characters and a three dimensional depth. They are stong pieces but could have benefitted from more work. Nostalgia is a tricky theme to approach for any artist, with far too many opportunities to appear overly-derivative or hackneyed. On the whole the Nom Nom Collective manage to strike a balance between homage and their own personal critique of the material they are working with. ‘Nomstalgia’ is a full and enjoyable show with a lot to see, remember and think about. Carissa Farrell is a curator based in Dublin.
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
how is it made?
Blind Spots & Future Memories INDEPENDENT CURATOR BARRY KEHOE REFLECTS ON EXHIBITING THE WORK OF NINA FISCHER AND MAROAN EL SANI IN THE MART GALLERY, DUBLIN.
Nina fischer & Maroan el Sani, I Live in Fear - Record of a Living Being After March 11, two-channel video installation, HD colour, stereo, 33 min
Nina fischer and Maroan el Sani, Narita Field Trip, 2010, HD, colour, stereo, 30 min
Historical time is again of the essence, only this historical time is not the linear and unified time line of steady progress imagined by modernity, but a multitude of competing and overlapping temporalities born from the local conflicts that the unresolved predicaments of the modern regimes of power still produce. Jan Verwoert, ‘Living with Ghosts,’ Memory, (ed. Ian Farr), Whitechapel, 2012
I first met Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sani (fischerelsani.net) at the Former West Congress in Berlin in March 2013. The congress was part of a research platform set up by the Basis voor Actuele Kunst (BAK) in Utrecht to examine shifts in the cultural, artistic and political landscape of Europe and the wider world since the fall of the Berlin Wall. I was one of four NCAD delegates to attend and, at the time, I was researching artworks for my MA thesis that referenced the ‘crisis of history’ and the failure of utopian ideologies of progress. As a part of the Congress Fischer and el Sani ran a walking tour / workshop about the changing city and the art works they had been making there over the past 25 years. I was fascinated by their explorations of specific sites that highlight discrepancies with official perspectives, national histories, urban policy and city planning that doesn’t recognise or may even be trying to consign to oblivion local knowledge, hidden histories and the lived experiences of counter cultures. Acting as detectives and sometimes almost in the role of political or social activists they uncover blind spots in the narratives of site specific histories, always conscious of their position as artists in any given location or community where they find inspiration for their work. In November 2013, Mathew Nevin and Ciara Scanlon, the Directors of the MART Gallery, Dublin, invited me to curate an exhibition. Wanting to share something of my experiences in Berlin with an Irish audience, I suggested this opportunity to Fischer and el Sani. The artists were immediately drawn to the venue’s gallery space housed in the old Rathmines Fire Station. It reminded them of their own early days working in the derelict buildings of former East Berlin, where they had been part of the first wave of Western artists to occupy the derelict spaces in the former eastern sector of the city when the wall came down. The film works we selected to exhibit were all made in Japan, where the artists were Associate Professors at the School of Art and Design in Sapporo City University from 2007 to 2010. Spelling Dystopia (2008 / 2009) explores a community’s memory of the abandoned coal mining centre Gunkanjima Island, once the most densely populated places on earth, now known only as the backdrop for the teen horror movie Battle Royale. Narita Field Trip (2010) looks at how two Tokyo teenagers deal with the experience of encountering a farming commu-
Nina fischer & Maroan el Sani, Spelling Dystopia, HD 16:9 two-channel video installation, colour, stereo 17:25 min
nity that is fighting against the expansion of Narita airport, a development that threatens to swallow and destroy their farms, homes, livelihood and community. I Live in Fear – After March 11 (2013) focuses on the current physical and psychological state of emergency in Japan, which oscillates between actual threat and subtle changes in the everyday habits of those affected by the catastrophe of the Fukushima Nuclear disaster. The artists felt that these works would have a wide appeal to an Irish audience, and stated: “We were interested in the question of energy and the sustainability of a place like Gunkanjima. Our main focus is on the shift of collective memory of that island, but also the exploitation of resources, which led to the point that everybody had to leave the island. It was for us a kind of metaphor for humans using up the resources. Also, because of the history of the island as a workplace for war prisoners in the Second World War, it is also a kind of blind spot, a place where real history shall be forgotten with the next generation. It’s the same for Narita Field Trip, another blind spot where farmers have fought since the 1970s for their fields. They are still farming in between runways and having demonstrations that nobody witnesses and no media reports about. It is like a parallel universe, which is unknown to the younger generation, and so we took some of our students on a field trip to get to see this place, so close to Tokyo, but somehow on another planet. These subjects, which deal with society, had been neglected before 2011 and had not been considered as interesting or important.” The artists also spoke of the reception that the works receive in each country, raising topical discussions around specific issues in each site of exhibition: “Every country has its references. In Germany, we had struggles with the Airport Frankfurt am Main at the same time during the 1970s. Like Narita Field Trip, I Live in Fear – After March 11 reminds us of the dialogues after Chernobyl. Apart from that, the films were watched as films produced in Japan, with Japanese subjects, but the theme shift of collective memory has also a big impact here. Memory of what happened in Germany’s history is always a big issue, and especially how to transport the memory to the next generation. In Ireland, which has a different history, the focus on how the work has been watched was again different. Narita Field Trip was often seen as a movie about people who fight for their rights and a young generation who clings on.” IMMA, the Goethe Institut, IADT, NCAD, the Experimental Film Club, the IFI, the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen and the Arts Council supported the exhibition. The remaining funding required was privately raised through the hard work of the MART team and Katharine Maurer, the Assistant Curator of the project. The artists were espe-
cially keen to stress the advantages of staying in the IMMA Artist in Residency Programme: “We really liked staying at IMMA, being close to the exhibitions and having the opportunity to meet other artists for an exchange of ideas and thoughts. Also, the area is very conducive to work; it is like an island in the city and still very central.” The German company Eidotech (eidotech.de) provided a bespoke audio-visual design for the specifications of the MART gallery space. The equipment arrived pre-tested with clear instructions. It made life a lot easier for our head technician Barry Lynch, who did amazing work on the technical install and build. For Fischer and el Sani “trusting the advice of a company like Eidotech, who know our work in terms of projections, combined with the perfect installing team on location, was a good decision”. Essential to the success of the exhibition was the network of collaborating institutions. Without their support the exhibition and follow-on project, to make a new work here in Dublin, could never have been realised. The show was accompanied by a special screening of Fischer and el Sani’s I Live in Fear – After March 11 at the IFI, presented by the Experimental Film Club (29 September). Talks also took place in MART, IADT (chaired by Dr Maeve Connolly) and NCAD. The exhibition and associated events were all very well attended. Fischer and el Sani also had work in a group show, ‘Reconstruction,’ which ran concurrently at Belfast Exposed (featuring Espen Dietrichson, Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sani, Jan McCullough, Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs, 15 August – 11 October) where they gave a public talk titled The Political Memory of Place (9 October). To give the artists the last word: “Dublin breathes history from all corners. We were especially impressed about the role that modernism played in Ireland; it was not destroyed during the war as it was in many cities in Europe. Also, there are still visible traces of Ireland’s independence movement from the last century and its more recent history, which we felt we could come closer to on a short trip to Belfast for our exhibition at Belfast Exposed. Culture-wise it was great to see the vivid art scenes in both cities. Dublin has a number of great institutions, museums and galleries, while Belfast has a lot of artist-run spaces and ambitious young artists that have moved there because of affordable studio rents. This is similar to Berlin in the 1990s. We are interested in modernism in Ireland and the significance of the buildings built during that time. We are now developing an idea for a movie, which takes place on location at these buildings, linking the actual architecture to the situation in society today.” Barry Kehoe is an independent curator and art writer. He also works at IMMA facilitating talks, tours and workshops for the museum’s education programmes. barrykehoe.wordpress.com.
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
Duncan Campbell, still from It For Others, 2013, 16mm film and analogue video transferred to digital video 54, courtesy of the artist and Rodeo, Istanbul / London
Better to Come IMMA DIRECTOR SARAH GLENNIE INTERVIEWS TURNER PRIZE WINNER DUNCAN CAMPBELL.
Duncan Campbell, still from Arbeit, 2011 16 mm film transferred to digital format, black-and-white sound, 39 min, courtesy of the artist and Rodeo, Istanbul / London
Duncan Campbell, still from It For Others, 2013 16mm film and analogue video transferred to digital video 54’ courtesy of the artist and Rodeo, Istanbul / London. Duncan Campbell, still from Bernadette, 2008, 16mm film transferred to digital video 38’ 10’’ , courtesy of the artist and Rodeo, Istanbul / London
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
Career Development Duncan Campbell (born Dublin, 1972), a graduate of Glasgow School of Art (MFA) and the University of Ulster (BA), won the 2014 Turner Prize for the film It For Others, his contribution to Scotland’s pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2014. He was announced as the winner on 1 December. Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor presented the £25,000 prize to him at a ceremony at Tate Britain in central London. The artist was regarded by many as a firm favourite to win. The Guardian’s Laura Cumming called Campbell “the only obvious winner” and the Daily Telegraph’s Richard Dorment described him as “the real thing as an artist”. The other short-listed artists were Ciara Phillips, James Richards and Tris Vonna-Michell. Both the Belfast and Glasgow art scenes have strong connections with the Turner Prize. Widely remarked upon this year was the fact that Campbell, Phillips and Vonna-Michell were all Glasgow School of Art graduates. Previous Turner nominees and winners associated with Belfast include Willie Doherty (1994), Phil Collins (nominee 2006), Cathy Wilkes (2008) and Susan Phillipsz (2010 winner). Curated by Sarah Glennie, Director of the Irish Musuem of Modern Art, the exhibition ‘Duncan Campbell’ runs at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin until 29 March 2015. Campbell’s solo exhibition at IMMA comprises four of his major film works. Bernadette (2008) is about unity candidate MP and socialist activist Bernadette Devlin. Make it New John (2009) takes as its subject the American automobile manufacturer John DeLorean, the iconic DMC-12 car he produced and the West Belfast plant where it was made. Arbeit (2011) is about the German economist Hans Tietmeyer who played a key role in the European monetary union. It for Others (2013), the work that won the Turner Prize, takes Alain Resnais and Chris Marker’s 1953 film Les statues meurent aussi (Statues Also Die) as a starting point for an examination of cultural imperialism and commodity and includes a performance made in collaboration with the choreographer Michael Clark. Sarah Glennie: Do you have a sense yet of what winning the Turner Prize means for your work? Duncan Campbell: It’s going to take some time to figure out. There are some things that I’m hoping will happen. So far, each time I’ve made a work it’s been like re-inventing the wheel for each project. I’m hoping things will become a bit more predictable, not just in terms of money, but producers taking on board the way I work, which differs from standard film industry practices. SG: There will be a great sense of scrutiny on what you do next. Do you feel any sense of pressure? DC: There are two sides to it. I’m not going to argue with the way the Turner Prize brings attention to the winners and other nominated artists or to turn down the opportunity to have this sort of spotlight. But there is an arbitrariness about it. Four people get nominated each year and only one wins. I know people who’ve been through that process, and people who deserve to be nominated but haven’t been. SG: Its been interesting for us at IMMA to see here in Ireland, where public awareness of the Turner Prize might not be as high as it is the UK, that new audiences have been really enjoying your work.1 DC: Yes, and that’s great. On a smaller scale and a different context, winning the Statement Prize in Art Basel in 2008 was helpful for similar reasons. With all the films I make, I try to create a situation where people can sit down and watch them from beginning to end as an experience. But the chances of people stopping and giving time to a 38-minute film at a busy art fair are slim. Likewise, this prize said ‘see this’. I’m conscious that, when it comes to biennales and big art fairs, the kind of work I make is going against the grain, in terms of the time that people are inclined to give. SG: How did you get interested in becoming an artist? I recall reading in an article a while back that you said it stemmed from actually being very interested in writing. DC: I was talking about my first encounter with the arts in the broadest sense, including literature. But I really wanted to go to art school by the time I was 14 or 15. The first time I really got ‘inside’ a work was through reading literature. And that stayed with me. It’s probably a reason why I started
making films, because I’ve always written but I’ve never really found a satisfactory way of integrating that into 2D work or presenting text in the gallery. I think the first film I made really made sense, as it provided a way for me to present that. SG: Can you pinpoint a time when you got a real idea of the potential of contemporary art? DC: Well, even before starting art college, I always believed in the potential for art to ‘change the world’. What that means to me has changed over the years of course. It’s to do with growing up in Ireland, where cultural production has always engaged in some with a sense of ‘becoming’ in terms of Irish national identity – politically, culturally and in folk traditions. I always took it for granted that all these things were bound up together. For example, I love the story about Brendan Behan, that for a long time he didn’t realise that Oscar Wilde wasn’t jailed for being an Irish patriot. Perhaps now this isn’t such a dominant feature of Irish cultural life, it’s probably on the wane. But these things really matter. SG: Your work is very much of and about the world. Is that what inspired your decision to study in Belfast after you finished your core studies at NCAD? DC: Partly that and wanting to study away. A lot of things coalesced. At NCAD I was really blown away by seeing books in the library about Willie Doherty and other artists who were engaged with the political conflict and its representations. I think I had a very mythical idea of what it was like and what art was being produced. I also liked the way the course in the University of Ulster wasn’t broken down into specialist areas. SG: At what point did you start to get a real sense of your practice? DC: As much I am still figuring that out, I think probably in the year or two after I left the MFA. That’s when I made my first film and a lot of things clicked for me in terms of the visual material I was using, juxtaposing that with writing and sound. SG: Was that a difficult time? DC: In some senses. I remember doing lots of joinery work and gallery install jobs. I didn’t have a studio; I was working from home. But it was fun in a way and the jobs were quite regular, so it left time in between to make work. For example, myself, Alex Frost and Mark Barnham ran a radio station in Glasgow, broadcasting on Tuesday evenings. It straddled the two things Glasgow is renowned for, music and art. It was a great way to meet and talk to people. SG: Do you think that the close knit artist-led and collaborative nature of the art scene in Glasgow – something people associate with Belfast as well – offers a support system that makes the transition from college to professional practice easier? DC: I wouldn’t want to over romanticise it, but in general it’s quite a non-hierarchical place. People don’t wait around to be asked to do things. There is a very strong artist-led ethos. It’s a far cheaper place to live than London, for example. I did look into moving back to Dublin, but the whole Celtic Tiger thing was taking off. Glasgow really works for me. There is enough going on to keep you interested, but at the same time it’s not super distracting. I find it a very easy place to just get on with what I am doing. SG: In Ireland, the Arts Council provides strong direct support for artists. What’s the situation like in Scotland? DC: It doesn’t seem as generous a situation as in the Republic. However, it’s far better than the situation in England and especially London. I received a bursary earlier this year, but they are not planning to continue the scheme. There have been various attempts to instrumentalise arts funding, along with proposals to fund galleries on a project-byproject basis, which would have been untenable. Thankfully there’s been something of a backing down from such extreme measures. SG: You mentioned earlier that your work has been funded and supported in quite an ad hoc manner. Has this been mainly through institutional commissions and other schemes? DC: Make it New John has been my only the totally funded project so far (by the Film and Video umbrella, with three other partners: Chisenhale, London; The Model, Sligo and and Tramway, Glasgow). The work
for Venice It for Others was partly commissioned, but I had to raise a good part of the budget myself. Bernadette was kind of disaster, because I didn’t really have any idea about the economics of archive material. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t won the prize in Basel, as I was able to clear the costs of the archival footage with that. It was also supported by a production grant from the Scottish Arts Council, as it was called then. SG: Because your work evolves from long periods of research, rather than a predetermined process, is financing difficult, as funders often require quite detailed proposals? DC: Yes, this is the big difficulty I’ve always had. It’s a process much more acceptable for art funders, whereas film boards want scripts. The industry model is that the production is extrapolated from the script and then other people get involved. It’s really difficult to ask someone to contemplate breaking that system down and doing something different. But it cuts both ways – both models have pros and cons. SG: Your work has been part of film distribution networks, having been shown in film festivals, but I was wondering whether the funding models, programming and the way art institutions operate is what makes the art world a more natural base for your work? DC: Yes it does. And of course this just doesn’t apply to me. For the sort of work that I, and others, produce, including people from filmmaking or documentary backgrounds, galleries and the art world are really the only distribution base. Even art house cinemas are quite restricted in terms of what they can show. Short film generally gets slots of half an hour and feature films 90 – 120 minutes. The films I make are between those durations. SG: Some of the first questions you were asked after winning the Turner Prize were about whether you’d go into the film industry, as if it were the next ‘grown up’ step … DC: I wouldn’t rule it out, but all the same, it is a slightly patronising assumption. I’m already in film. Certainly It for Others was a far more collaborative film than I’ve made before. I really enjoyed that process. There were creative aspects that I had to give over to other people, which I found to be liberating and beneficial. I’m not a complete megalomaniac. But it remains important for me to maintain enough of my aesthetic and how I like to structure things. SG: There’s a huge amount of organisation behind what you do, in terms of getting access to archives, clearances and funding applications. Do you have any help with this? DC: Not really, generally I produce it all myself. Make it New John was the film that I had the most help with production-wise, particularly with the re-enactment parts. SG: So what’s the balance in your studio between thinking / making space and office work? DC: I don’t have the Internet in the studio complex where I am based. This preserves the studio for me as not so much as a thinking space but a making space, where I can spread things out a bit. Another reason I have a studio is that I need space to store stuff. I tend to do the admin side of things from home as its warmer and the coffee’s nicer. SG: Do you ever find the logistical side of being an artist overwhelming or do you regard it as part of the process? DC: The times when it can melt my head are when I’ve been addressing organisational issues and trying to be creative as well. I work much better when I can get a clear run at something and stay with it mentally. I need time to be able to both step away and go back to things, especially when editing. But overall I see the logistics as being all part of the process. SG: Final question: in light of the Turner Prize, do you feel like a ‘success’? DC: The Turner Prize it is a big accolade, but I always think that there is better to come. If I didn’t feel that, I think I would find it difficult to keep on doing what I do.
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
Hannah Fitz at ‘Amid the Deepening Shades, Deer Park Hotel, photo by Niamh Moriarty
Gareth Kennedy harvests the local produce at the Resort Residency’s information stand at the Peninsula Information Day, Lynders Mobile Home Park, Portrane
‘Amid the Deepening Shades’, Deer Park Hotel, Howth opening reception, photo by Gary Teeling
Unusual Sites SARAH ALLEN PROFILES TWO RECENT RESIDENCIES SUPPORTED BY FINGAL ARTS OFFICE, SITUATED IN A HOTEL AND A CARAVAN PARK. For many, the annual vacation abroad was one luxury that the recession choked from our budgets. Yet, reluctant to go without much needed rest and relaxation, the past years have seen many vacationers flocking to Ireland’s coasts to recreate the budget holidays of yore. Two site-specific visual art projects, supported by the Fingal Arts Office (fingalarts.ie), either touched on the theme of holidays and the home-away-from-home, or mined the rich potential to be found in investigative artistic engagement with unusual sites. Ruth Clinton and Niamh Moriarty are collaborative artists who have been making work in and around Howth and Sutton for the past two years. Their latest project was a site-specific group exhibition, ‘Amid the Deepening Shades,’ which took place at the Deer Park Hotel in Howth (19 October – 16 November 2014). After undertaking a residency at the newly refurbished Loughshinney Boathouse, organised and funded by Fingal Arts Office, Clinton and Moriarty approached the owners of the Deer Park Hotel, which had been a point of fascination for them while researching the surrounding areas. The title of their project, ‘Amid the Deepening Shades’, is taken from the last line of the 1928 W.B. Yeats poem The Tower. The artists explained: “We were thinking not only about the changing shades of autumn (darkness, shadows, phantoms, seasons, daylight-savings, saturation, tides) but also about Howth as a micro-climate and the fog that lingers about the bay. We are interested in miasma theory and are suggesting that here, perhaps, the fog might bring with it a kind of seasick nostalgia or feelings of melancholy that also seem to be inextricably linked to the beauty of the headland”.1 They also embraced the idea of Howth as “the island of forgetfulness,” as described in another Yeats poem, The Wanderings of Oisin (1889). Seeking to initiate a project outside the parameters of an institution, Clinton and Moriarty were drawn to the Deer Park Hotel, which is not currently in use. They invited seven like-minded artists to create work relating to their individual perceptions of the hotel, as well as the peninsula itself. Ruth and Niamh displayed two video installations of their meditations on the Baily Lighthouse and the Bloody Stream, which were made specifically for the poolside changing rooms and steam room respectively. Sally-Anne Kelly created a series of latex casts made from rocks collected along the coastline. Further casts of the artist’s face and hands were interspersed among the rock casts to evoke a sense of the body rising and falling in water. Hannah Fitz completed a series of six
white sculptures from Artex, each of which cast a false shadow. Ella de Burca’s piece was filmed around Howth harbour and dealt with issues of identity, labour and memory in the context of the Irish fishing industry. Lily Cahill and Rob Murphy’s work was located inside the hotel sauna and explored notions of group identity and trauma. Footage of a masked bicycle rider wearing a GoPro camera was paired with an audio track of Rolf Harris singing. Once installed, subtle connections between the specific pieces emerged. The works spilled into each other “like television noise from the room next door”. For example, Cahill and Murphy’s piece entered into a dialogue with Matthew Slack’s work An Exact Vertigo A. Off Seapoint, July 2014. Filmed with a waterproof camera, Slack’s piece depicted his underwater encounter with a fishing net. Slack described how “the Rolf Harris vocals blaring from the sauna, the moral and symbolic human song with its insistent voice – though here mobilised with a kind but emphatic irreverence – produced a tension when met with the surges and clicks of inhuman fluid sound from the splashes and gurgles of my piece”. Daniel Tuomey’s video work, Disappearances, was conceived in response to the hotel’s commanding view of Ireland’s Eye. The piece explored a deep anxiety surrounding the male gaze, Tuomey stated, “through interweaving and relating the stories of Maria Kirwan (a woman who lost her life on a day trip to Ireland’s Eye, seemingly killed by her talentless painter husband) and Joan of Arc”. The artists refocused attention on the specificity of the hotel location through the inclusion of a ‘gallery guide,’ which comprised imitation hotel stationery, postcards and a visitors’ book. The aim of this, they claimed, was to ensure that the “aesthetic atmosphere was consistent throughout [each] visit, while the works themselves point away from the hotel to the larger world it inhabits”. Tuomey pointed out, however, that the hotel was more reminiscent of The Shining than a fun weekend away. He continued: “The building’s feeling of being bereft and lonely now that it had lost its purpose was what most of us responded to, rather than to its actual previous purpose”. The concept of the holiday destination is perhaps more intrinsic to the curatorial framing of the Fingal Arts Office project Resort Residency – Case Study 1 Portrane, which took place at Lynders Mobile Home Park, Portrane throughout August and September 2014. The project organiser, Public Art Co-ordinator Caroline Cowley, explained that the small town of Fingal has long enjoyed a tradition of holiday-
making activities and, in particular, the area of Donabate / Portrane is characterised by the presence, both currently and historically, of mobile home parks. The temporary nature of the mobile home provided the perfect opportunity to invite artists to holiday by taking up a one-week residency. Through the addition of holiday essentials, such as a picnic basket, a barbecue, all-weather jackets, playing cards and striped deck chairs, the temporary residence was re-imagined as a quintessential budget holiday retreat. The participants were Sean Taylor, Rhona Byrne, Andrew Carson, Gareth Kennedy, Mick Holly, Kate Strain, Vagabond Reviews and Dr Maeve Connolly. Several participants were motivated by the non-prescriptive nature of the proposal. “For artists there is so much anxiety around the need for productivity”, commented Gareth Kennedy. However, in this project, the only request made of the participants was that they leave a trace of their time spent on the residency in an empty suitcase once they vacated the mobile home. The participating visual arts practitioners explored Portrane’s unique landscape and history in various ways. Vagabond Reviews (Abigail Murphy and Ciaran Smyth) gathered a social profile of the local area and its residents. “We became preoccupied with the unwritten features of the territory”, they commented. This led to the construction of a very small library, entitled Missing Titles for Portrane. Gareth Kennedy, Michael Holly and Andrew Carson explored both the physical and mythical meanings of the area, which manifested as quiet interventions, fictions and an experimental meal. Revisiting the collective memory of space and place was one facet of the project that influenced Michael Holly in particular. He stated: “I believe that conventional history can sometimes consciously ignore certain elements that have helped to define a place and the people who inhabit it. Artists have a unique license to examine these histories through conjecture, imagination and playfulness.” Rhona Byrne had a particular interest in the temporary architecture of the mobile home and Sean Taylor amassed eight hours of audio recordings of the Portrane area. Finally, Dr. Maeve Connolly researched and delivered a timely lecture on site titled Escape Vehicles in Art Practices. The talk dealt with “themes of survival, escape and recreation in the work of artists who have made moving image or sculptural works featuring vehicles such as trailers, vans, mass transit buses and cars, or other structures that are designed to propel, sustain or protect humans”, Connolly stated. The importance of the holiday theme was heightened by the presence of a Victorian-era asylum located in the area. “It prompted discussion around the notion of the visitor and the visitor / resident, the relationship between whether you were a patient, a family member, a worker or a holiday-maker”, commented Cowley. Texts on Situationalist practice, such as Hal Foster’s The Artist as Ethnographer and Lucy Lippard’s Lure of the Local were useful in teasing out some of the project’s central concepts.2 Cowley described how Foster “unpacks the artist’s role as ethnographer who risks the limits of invitation and expectation to be site-specific”, adding that “Lippard’s notion of the ‘lived or immersive experience’ was equally important”. She continued: “In essence, the holiday created the perfect opportunity to be an outsider without any expectation around becoming an insider due to the fact that the residency was located within the temporary mobile home community”. In an era of relentless technological connectivity, or, as Gareth Kennedy put it, our state of “continuous partial attention”, there is a great lure in extracting oneself from routine surroundings to be immersed in new environments. Kate Strain, who spent time researching performative processes during her residency, likened her experience in the mobile home to an memory from childhood. She recalled being woken from sleep by her pet mouse Cowper who was feverishly running on his squeaky toy wheel. Wanting to get back to sleep, Strain removed the wheel and locked Cowper’s cage. However, within minutes the crafty mouse had escaped from his cage and had recommenced his frenzied wheel running. “Spending time in the caravan was akin to having my giant squeaky wheel taken away from me. The project provided a space for reflection and incubation. Taking a breather is always a good thing but of course, in the end, like Cowper, I got back on the wheel”. Sarah Allen is a freelance arts journalist. Notes 1. cargocollective.com/ruthandniamh/Amid-the-Deepening-Shades 2. See Lucy Lippard, The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society and Hal Foster, The Artist as Ethnographer in The Return of the Real: Art and Theory at the End of the Century
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
LOCAL area groups / West of ireland representative
Lateral Approaches AIDEEN BARRY INTERVIEWS ROSIE LYNCH OF WORKHOUSE UNION IN CALLAN, COUNTY KILKENNY, AND LOOKS AT HOW ARTIST-LED INITIATIVES ARE GAINING SUPPORT OUTSIDE OF NORMAL FUNDING PARAMETERS.
Colourful Spirits collective
Colourful Spirits collective VAI Cafe, Kerry
Organisations up and down Ireland are looking at unique, multistake-holding models to support them in what is undoubtedly a tough economic environment. Some organisations have adopted a membership model of funding supports combined with additional assistance from local authority arts offices. Others have used project, core and commission funding from the Arts Council of Ireland, fundraiser events or volunteering strategies to keep the wolf from the door. Each of these models is familiar to us, as we have encountered them through our annual membership fees and fundraiser contributions. Many of us have also drafted and submitted annual reports and financial assistance requests to governmental bodies. But in recent years there has been a significant shift in how volunteer-run organisations have approached funding; many now look to unique and unusual models to advance their quests for expansion, curatorial direction and sustenance. Some of the best recent examples of this ambitious risk-taking approach have appeared in the small rural town of Callan, Co. Kilkenny. Callan has become the focal point for exceptional artistic endeavours in the past, in particular KCAT Art & Study Centre (kcat.ie), which has a phenomenal track record, and Commonage (www.facebook.com/commonage), to name just two. It is also home to the Tony O’Malley Residency Award studio and, more recently, the Workhouse Union. This is a very distinct, yearlong programme of artist commissions, film screenings, public events and active research, which will launch in Spring 2015. The germination of these projects has been propelled not only by Callan’s community and unique environment but also by the instigations of independent curators Hollie Kearns and Rosie Lynch. Lynch and Kearns are launching a number of events in Spring 2015, which will constitute the next stage in the conception, development and transformation of a semi-derelict wing of Callan Workhouse (workhouseassembly.com) into a complex cultural hub with shared artistic and community facilities. The artistic programme coincides with the launch of two new studio ‘pods’ and a research library space at the Workhouse, designed by LiD Architecture and developed with Fennelly’s curator Etaoin Holahan (facebook.com/fennellysbridgest).
Aideen Barry presenting at the VAI Cafe, Kerry
Lynch explained the process: “Over the winter we are putting together a new publication outlining the approach to a slowed-down, community and artist-led development of Callan Workhouse, initiated through Workhouse Assembly in 2013. Part of the impulse behind the Callan Workhouse development is the continued ‘demonumentalisation’ of this building into a site of social inclusion and public access as promoted by Camphill Community, Callan. Rather than one top down institution, there will be myriad community and public supports, with both public access and facilities for artists to make work in this context. We believe that a ‘slowed down’ and responsive approach to this development process will be most meaningful, with the contributions of artists, designers, researchers and our various communities of interest and place throughout the process.” Visiting Callan recently I was quite astonished to hear how Kearns, Lynch and Holahan have won over the very heart of the community here. This is still largely a rural, former market-trading town, with only sparse examples of cultural production. But the establishment of a Camphill Community (camphill.ie) in the town over 30 years ago brought with it a unique artistic approach to altruistic community engagement. This ethos is mirrored in the socially engaged and ethical approach that curators like Kearns, Lynch and Holohan employ in their projects. This approach has allowed organisations like the Workhouse Union to seek out funding and support from Leader, as well as Kilkenny Planning Office, a department within the local authority not usually associated with supporting artistic experimentation. Lynch described how the project has been built on “lots of hard work and the result of five years of relationship building locally”. She continued: “Our relationship with Camphill has been key, as has our relationship with Kilkenny Leader Partnership and various departments in the County Council. Workhouse Union is supported through an Arts Council of Ireland Project Award. The development of new studio spaces and the research library at Callan Workhouse is supported through a Kilkenny County Council Community and Cultural Facilities Capital Scheme 2014. The publication of Workhouse Assembly is funded through a Kilkenny Leader Partnership Analysis and Development Grant.”
Lynch explained that they are not just pitching an altruistic vision of artistic endeavour in Callan. Plans are afoot to spread outward in the county and link in with cultural stakeholders, conversing on planning, architectural initiatives and landscape in a potential project called Forecast (forecastproject.tumblr.com). Forecast took place in County Kilkenny this autumn and invited us to look anew at the future of our rural towns. Exploring our common landscape and built environment, five thematic projects led by artists and architects will take place in Callan, Castlecomer, Graiguenamanagh, Mooncoin and Thomastown. The distinct projects each responded to a specific theme: ‘Move’ in Callan, ‘Explore’ in Castlecomer, ‘Protect’ in Graiguenamanagh, ‘Play’ in Mooncoin and ‘Gather’ in Thomastown. They were led by visual artists Sarah Lincoln, Seoidin O’Sullivan and Michelle Browne, and London based architects Studio Weave. Forecast was devised by Kearns and Lynch and is supported by Kilkenny Leader Partnership and Forward Planning, Kilkenny County Council.
VAI Kerry Café Watch the Video
On 14 November 2014 I took the Ferry to Kerry to spend the day in the company of artists based in the north west of the county. I was a guest of the Colourful Spirits collective and facilitated by the incredible Lisa Fingleton. Artists from in and around the county joined us for a VAI Cafe and afternoon workshop session in Marie and Liam Brennan’s wonderful studio. Both collective members and other independent practitioners attended the event. Why not scan the QR code above to see a brief video diary of the trip, introductions, Show & Tells by some of the artists and a short segment on topics covered? Aideen Barry, VAI West of Ireland Representative.
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
Brendan Fox, Project Director / Curator for ‘Foundation14’ , profiles the Tullamore-based visual art exhibition, founded in 2013, which has been devised as part of programme to develop a contemporary arts space for the Town.
Jason Deans, More Equal Than Others
Anita Delaney, Untitled
Kevin Killen, M1 J1 Belfast West Link
For decades the residents of Tullamore have worked tirelessly to raise enough money to secure funding to build an arts centre; finally, after a successful capital application to the government, they received news that €2m would be provided for this project under the Access II scheme. The idea behind the Foundation13 project and Foundation14 arts festival was to create an artistic and cultural foundation before laying the physical foundations of Tullamore Community Art Centre.1 In July of 2013, Offaly Arts Officer Sinead O’Reilly approached me with regards to curating an exhibition in the absence of the arts festival that previously took place annually in Tullamore. Due to the economic situation at the time there were so many fallow commercial spaces in the town centre that it made sense for us to utilise them. The notion of breathing new life back into my hometown excited me, and figuring out how to make that happen was a real adventure. It was an organic, unforced process. We published a submission form on the VAI website inviting artists to apply to exhibit with us and received an overwhelming response. But we wanted to do more than simply exhibit work; we wanted to engage with the public, and thus formulated an extensive series of talks and workshops. We also felt that this would be a good opportunity to bring some theatre to town, so Mirjana Rendulic’s acclaimed Broken Promise Land was performed in an old office space. We realised that all that was missing from our programme was music, so I contacted Get Ta France, a small outfit of music promoters working locally. We booked the musician R.S.A.G (Rarely Seen Above Ground, aka Jeremy Hickey), who nearly blew the roof off an old Georgian town house. Before we knew it we had a really exciting arts programme on our hands. In this first year, the nucleus of our team was minuscule and our budget was even smaller, but our ideas were ambitious and we understood that the only way to realise the project was to ask for help. We approached the owners of commercial properties, who donated all the spaces for free. We assembled an amazing crew of local volunteers, which comprised not only enthusiastic, energetic folk, but also artists, carpenters, electricians and trades people who be-
lieved in the project to such a truly heartfelt extent that often they would work 12-hour days to make sure a space was ready for the installation of the art work. We approached every business in town and asked for anything they could give to the project. The response was so generous and we received many gifts in kind. We developed a guerrilla strategy for promotion by sticking huge bright orange F13 vinyls on the 12 retail units late one night, two weeks in advance of the opening. Suddenly everyone in town was wondering what F13 meant. There was a real buzz and energy. Last year’s Foundation14 was no different. In fact the notion of energy is what inspired me to write the curatorial brief for Foundation14’s ‘-Battery+’ exhibition. In 2013 Foundation13 exhibited the work of 30 Irish and international artists, including Nigel Rolfe, Lauralee Guiney, Andras Csullog and Dublin collective Basic Space. We held 45 events and welcomed almost 8000 visitors through our doors, including local community groups, entire schools and scheduled bus arrivals from both Dublin and Galway. We tried to figure out ways to involve as many different types of local groups as possible. For instance, we invited the local Toast Masters group to our gallery and they each spoke for five minutes about the artwork on show. We also worked with charities like Offaly Hospice, accommodating their annual coffee morning in our main gallery space, and they raised over three times the amount they had raised the previous year simply because we gave the event a more prominent public space. When we returned to Tullamore in 2014, 75% percent of the spaces we had renovated the previous year were occupied by businesses. We had also evolved into a fully-fledged arts festival. Foundation14 involved the synergy of both local and external energy. In my opinion, directing and curating a festival is quite similar to orchestrating a solo exhibition; each involves the culmination of imagination and time, but most importantly energy. In fact all art is simply the outcome of the energy expelled by the artist. It is the combination of both the positive and negative results of process and experimentation. In essence, the work is energy and therefore has a discernible power,
a corporal presence beyond its origins within the conceptual realm. This notion informed not only my curatorial decision making when selecting work through the submissions process, but also the artists I chose to invite. At its core I wanted the exhibition to illustrate the energy it takes to realise any ambition, from an individual artwork to a lifetime goal. Our failures define us more than our triumphs, but they also can steer us in directions we never may have considered. I wanted the visual narrative within the exhibition to explore this idea, to demonstrate that a negative result can often inform a positive outcome. I considered the notion that ‘-Battery+’ was a microcosm of Ireland’s current state – that often the absence of the energy of capitalism ignites the energy of creativity. What draws me to any particular piece of work is conflict and duality. Last year our programme expanded significantly. The festival featured over 50 Irish and international artists, including Aideen Barry, Thomas Brezing, Anita Delaney, Jonah King, Dejan Karin, Basil AlRawi, Paola Catizone, Paula Fitzsimons and Saoirse Wall. The exhibition also featured work by recent fine art graduates, which was shown alongside Susan MacWilliam and Dr Kevin Atherton’s seminal work Monitor Minder, from the from the 53rd Venice Biennalle, last shown at Tate Modern, London. F14 Awards were another important part of the project. Three artists of outstanding caliber received recognition for their achievements: the Undergraduate Award was won by the amazing Avril Corroon, who received €1,000 towards further development of her arts practice; the F14 Critics’ Choice Award went to Andrew Carson, who received a solo show in Nag Gallery, Dublin for 2015 and €500 towards realising his exhibition; Helen Mac Mahon received the People’s Choice Award of €500 for the most popular work, selected by the public. It was hugely exciting to be able to reward these artists, all of whom have the capacity to make an impact not only on the Irish art world but internationally. Although Foundation14 was anchored in the visual arts, it also provided a platform for exciting new music. Last year we once again teamed up with Get Ta France to source some of the best of Irish contemporary music, including Girl Band, recently lauded by the Guardian for creating “invigorating music with nods to Daft Punk and Nick Cave” and the unforgettable King Kong Company, who, having rocked last year’s Electric Picnic, came to Tullamore and blasted a disused warehouse space in the town centre. We also took over the local cinema for a series of film screenings, hosted theatre nights, poetry recitals with award winning poets. Our extensive series of workshops and curatorial talks accommodated both Junior and Leaving Certificate Art students. So, what’s in store for 2015? We are palpably excited for Foundation15 Arts Festival, as we have just received news that we will be working with IMMA. This means we can offer an even more extensive and exciting international programme. The energy and support we have received from all sides has been truly astonishing and the constant evolution of the project means it will be different every year. This really excites us and we hope to pass the excitement on to our visitors and gratefully give back the positive energy we have been afforded. Foundation14 would not be have been possible without the support of Offaly Arts Office, the Arts Council of Ireland, Tullamore Community Art Centre, Claire Chaney PM and Lauralee Guiney, Artists Co-Ordinator. Brendan Fox Project Director / Curator, Foundation 14 is a curator and artist. Recent solo shows include: ‘Biopredation’, NAG at The Cross Gallery, Dublin (2013); ‘Crossed Line’, KT Contemporary, Dublin (2012); ‘Are We There Yet?’ Aras an Chontae, Offaly (2009). foundation14.com. Note The architectural design for the centre has been chosen through a competition process which was managed by the RIAI. The design team are A2 Architects with a design that is modern, practical and accessible. The building will accommodate a number of creative and overlapping uses and the internal spaces are designed to be flexible in accommodating these. The centres proposed location is Kilbride Plaza, Tullamore adjacent to the Heritage Centre and alongside the Grand Canal. The planned centre will include a 250 seat auditorium, dedicated art gallery, cafe/bar, workshop, and a series of rehearsal/ meeting rooms. Further details: tullamorecommunityartscentre.ie
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
Transcending Borders LILY POWER TALKS TO DEUTSCHE BANK SENIOR CURATOR ALISTAIR HICKS AND ARTIST JAKI IRVINE ABOUT A NEW LARGE-SCALE INSTALLATION OF IRVINE’S WORK AT THE DUBLIN HEADQUARTERS, AND DEUTSCHE BANK’S WIDER APPROACH TO CONTEMPORARY ART. Alistair Hicks: The art programme springs from an idea that emerged in the late 1970s that Deutsche Bank aims to play an active part in the communities in which it has its offices around the world. The bank has benefited from the fact that contemporary art is about change. Deutsche Bank has grown since the concept was born and is now in 78 countries and is engaging with a truly international audience. Those visiting the first Frieze art fair some 12 years ago could see that this was an organisation that was trying to change the London scene: it was the first truly international contemporary art fair in London. Its organisers’ aspirations overlapped with Deutsche Bank’s art concept: while they produced a fair that has become one of the hubs of the international art market, they have also been keen to emphasise that art is not just about money. With their projects, film, education and now their live art programmes, Frieze has taken a lead in showing the newest art. The ArtMag, Deutsche Bank’s print and online magazine, is just one way for us to reach out to the interested public, the art world, people within the bank, the immediate communities around the offices and far beyond, to explain our art programme and our desire to give a platform to a wide spectrum of contemporary artists. The magazine links to exhibitions at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, our travelling exhibitions – such as the photographic show ‘Time Present,’ currently at SAM in Singapore – and the works in our collection. At the same time, it covers topics that are of general interest with regards to contemporary art.
Jaki Irvine, Shot in Mexico: On the Impossibility of Imagining the Numbers of Dead and Disappeared (Vertical), 2014, 20 framed archival pigment prints on wallpaper, photo courtesy of Deutsche Bank
Lily Power: Jaki, can you talk about the work that has just been installed at Deutsche Bank? Jaki Irvine: The piece is titled Shot in Mexico: On the Impossibility of Imagining the Numbers of Dead and Disappeared. It’s displayed vertically in the entrance area of the building, reaches six storeys high and comprises 20 framed archival pigment prints on wallpaper. Each year, vast colonies of monarch butterflies journey 4,000 km from Canada to winter in the mountains near Angangueo, in the Mexican state of Michoacan. Passing through the USA, they are decimated by toxic crop sprays and other dangers. Exhausted, numb, clinging to tree trunks in the cold forest, they gradually spread their wings and fly as the first rays of sunshine filter through the trees and begin to thaw them out. The forest comes alive with their colours. Every year, thousands of migrant workers make the hazardous journey from further south in Latin America, up through Mexico, in the hope of crossing into the United States. Unknown numbers die en route. Entire bus-loads of people are found dead in mass graves. The families they left behind walk across Mexico in protest, calling for justice: for the numbers of people killed, the reason for such carnage, the deaths they met. The pain and enormity of it is almost impossible to imagine. So we return to the breathtaking spectacle of the butterflies, embedded in this same landscape. Here, the camera zooms in and out of myriad details: fragments of a world coming in and out of focus, refusing to remain within the confines of a frame. She points to the overwhelming nature of beauty and death, reminding us of the impossibility of imagining other lives in their entirety and the impossibility of forgetting them too. LP: How did this opportunity come about? JI: The first version of this work was 9 metres long and displayed horizontally. The Kerlin Gallery (kerlingallery.com) took this to Basel Art Fair, Hong Kong. I then developed it further into a 14-metre-long horizontal wall work, which was shown downstairs in Frith Street Gallery (frithstreetgallery.com) as part of a solo show called ‘This Thing Echoes’ (January – March 2014).
Alistair Hicks from Deutsche Bank was looking for something for the lobby of the new building in Dublin and when he saw Shot in Mexico… he thought that it might work. So he asked if I might have a think about it and maybe give some sort of rough draft to see if it could be supported. LP: What was it like working with Deutsche Bank? Did the process differ much from previous commissions / projects you’ve undertaken? JI: Everything was very straightforward. Jane Hamlyn in Frith Street and David Fitzgerald from the Kerlin were involved with the Deutsche Bank team in terms of both contracts and planning, so everything was very careful and thorough, which was wonderful. Every commission is different. Sometimes I’m invited to spend time somewhere; this was the case, for example, with Model Niland Arts Centre. I spent a lot of the summer of 2006 in Eagles Flying – a raptor research centre near Sligo – and finally made a nine-screen installation, In a World Like This. The invitation from Dublin Graphic Print Studios was similar. There I spent months videoing and recording the printing processes. Before the Page is Turned came out of this. The outcomes for both of these projects were more or less unforeseen at the beginning. The invitations were open-ended and as much about process as the end result. In this sense, the Deutsche Bank commission was much more specific. What was needed was clear. So even though I needed to revisit the forest another couple of times to re-shoot (the work was going to have entirely different proportions to the other versions), I was not starting from scratch, conceptually or formally. Having said that, it did take on a life of its own and develop into a quite different work. So that was exciting. LP: Alistair, Deutsche Bank has quite a high profile internationally in terms of supporting contemporary art: it’s the main sponsor for the Frieze Art Fair, produces a print / online art magazine and runs the global art programme Art Works. Could you briefly outline these initiatives and the thinking behind them?
LP: Is there a specific policy for the Irish HQ? Do you consult a buyer / curator in Ireland? AH: While there are regional committees around the world, the art programme is aimed at ‘transcending borders,’ so there are no specific buyers or curators in Ireland. However, over the last 20 years the bank has bought a number of works from Irish artists. Some of these works, such as those by Gerard Byrne, Mark Francis and Fionnuala Ni Chiosain, are in the new HQ buildings, but others, such as those by Siobhan Hapaska, Alice Maher, Hughie O’Donoghue, Sean Scully and Paul Seawright, are in other offices around the world. LP: Tell us about the new acquisitions. How / why were these works chosen? AH: In the initial draft of the art concept it was decided that Deutsche Bank would not commission artworks, as we did not wish to be seen to interfering with the artistic process. But since our partnership with the Guggenheim, which lasted for 15 years in the form of the Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, we have decided that there are occasions when buildings benefit from site-specific installations. Mary Findlay (Deutsche Bank Art Curator) and I decided that the Dublin building was such a case. We then consulted with a committee of staff members who were going to be working in the building and our fellow curators in Frankfurt. Various proposals were put to an internal art committee, and those by Jaki Irvine and Felim Egan were chosen.1 LP: Do you have plans to make any of the work available to the public? AH: As the works are in a working environment sadly they are not as available to the public as we would like. However, we plan to arrange open days and special visits in the future. Lily Power is Assistant Editor at Visual Artists Ireland. Note Felim Egan’s work A Brigher Dawn I–III (2014 acrylic and mixed media on canvas) was also recently acquired for the Deutsche Bank collection
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
VAI Professional Development
Towards a New Hybridity BEA HERHOLD DE SOUSA, DIRECTOR OF THE AGENCY, LONDON, ARGUES THAT IRISH ARTISTS AND GALLERIES NEED TO EMBRACE COLLABORATION AND EXCHANGE, ALONG WITH A MIX OF PUBLIC AND COMMERCIAL MODES OF SUPPORT, IN ORDER TO ENABLE INNOVATION.
In November 2014, the Visual Artists Ireland’s Professional Development Programme facilitated a programme of encounters for artists with invited curator Bea de Sousa, (Director of The Agency Gallery, London) at various galleries: Dublin (Temple Bar Gallery + Studios and Mother’ s Tankstation), Galway (Galway Arts Centre), Portadown (Millennium Court Arts Centre) and Belfast (Golden Thread, Catalyst Arts). De Sousa was recommended to VAI by UK-based visual artists’ resource Art Quest. De Sousa’s programme for VAI’s Professional Development Programme included delivering the talk ‘Performance Art and Art Economics’ at Galway Arts Centre (11 November), as part of the TULCA 2014 programme. Later the same day, de Sousa facilitated a VAI Professional Development artists’ discussion with artists Aine Philips, Linda Shevlin, Austin Ivers, Marielle Macleman and Emma Ni Houlihan. In Dublin and Belfast De Sousa visited a number of galleries including Mother’s Tank Station,Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Golden Thread and Catalyst Arts. In Portadown, de Sousa facilitated a VAI Professional Development artists’ discussion at the Millennium Art Centre, Portadown with artists Helena Hamilton, Iain Griffin, Ryan Moffett, Aisling O’Beirn and Colin Darke. This VAI Professional Development event was facilitated by VAI’s Northern Ireland Manager Rob Hilken.
Which representational model do you choose when you are an independent gallerist? There is an excessive supply of platforms for art. The list of auctions, art fairs, galleries, funded institutions, private foundations, collector-led-initiatives, artist-run spaces and artists-asentrepreneurs is endless and self-perpetuating and is now also replicating into digital versions. The proliferation of platforms leads to a wider and less homogeneous spread of art forms and their audiences but also to a dilution of art and its impact. The absence of any credible form of systemic self-regulation results in the art world emulating the finance sector before the crash. If we look at the impact this has on the production and dissemination of emerging art and experimental art forms, the effect is devastating.1 This situation can be accepted sight unseen or we can begin to analyse the given systems to find ways to alter their course. Greater transparency is being sought already, but the next step might be fusing established platforms into hybrid models in order to stop focusing on the how and concentrate on the content. Monetising ephemeral practice in today’s late capitalism is an extreme challenge and adds a new aspect to the work and its meaning. During the boom, sales activity was covering a wide section of the arts and risky investments were rewarded. Ephemeral practice received support from well-stocked public funds as well as an adventurous commercial clientele. Much could be learned from this phase. Important performance artists, for example, underwent a form of rebranding followed by the proliferation of their multiple edition photographs / objects as ‘souvenirs’ of a practice best experienced live, but increasingly commercially viable. The role of the private gallery or independent curator as the developer of the physical manifestation of live practice cannot be underestimated in this process. When the Agency gallery was founded in the mid 1990s in London, it took on an anonymous name referring to a group of ‘agents’ as a form of conceptual playfulness. Agency is still one of the main purposes of the gallery, a conduit for artistic and curatorial tendencies. An initial interest in new media expanded to include other experimental and ephemeral art forms, which continue to stretch the boundaries of commerce – the main form of dissemination of the gallery. Works sold to international private and museum collections frequently require adaptation to their respective contexts, which is achieved through open dialogue with the artists. To this aim, adapted work and consignment contracts were created, which take into account unchartered aspects of the artists’ practices. These include collaborative approaches, shared access rights with music and life art distribution systems and a flexible working ethos with various international individuals and organisations of a mixed commercial and not-for-profit nature.
The density of the intellectual challenges presented by the particular art forms favoured by the gallery is organically leading to a crossover approach, where the boundaries between commerce and not-for-profit practices are constantly crossed to ensure adequate platforms and international dissemination for innovative works. The Irish market for contemporary art is very compact and, like everywhere else, under pressure since 2008 despite the successful exit of the ROI from the bailout. This is unlikely to change in the near future. At the same time the well-networked public sector arts organisations and grants for further research, innovative practice and co-operation are geared towards enhancing the international valuation of Irish culture. This network is in turn threatened by further cuts, which then creates an urgency for Irish artists to join the market to avoid dependency on funded opportunities.2 This is a catch 22, as Ireland itself does not have an internal market large enough to carry such a move without business subsidy for international trade. Export is one of the answers. But a propensity for more exports is currently met by a wall of squeezed art sectors internationally, who wish to do the same. In a global setting this entails further competition between nations themselves and their respective budgets for international cultural relations. Exchange and collaboration, as well as a fusion of presentation / curatorial styles in public and commercially funded institutions, are more likely to yield visibility and competitiveness for cutting edge contemporary art. Such hybrid models would also serve to calm the effects of a volatile market bubble and allow for a more reflective and content driven approach, and, most importantly, the survival of innovation in the art sector. Bea Herhold de Sousa is the founder and Director of the Agency Gallery in London, a commercial gallery for emerging and mid career artists with a focus on global conceptual art. Exhibited artists include Kati Heck, Douglas Gordon, Zoe Leonard, Ken Lum, Paul McCarthy, Thaddeus Strode and more. The Agency gallery won the Art Basel Statements Award in 2001. De Souza’s selected projects as an independent curator include: collaborative sound art event ‘Antistrophe’ at V22, London 2013; Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951 – 82), KCC and the ICA London, 2013; and the forthcoming ‘Un-speak’ at the CCA Lagos, Nigeria, February 2015. Notes 1. The top 10 most expensive Irish paintings sold in Ireland in 2013 feature five artists. The most recently deceased died more than 50 years ago. Even the top 20 contains no living artist. (Irish Art Market 2013: News & Sales Results) 2. UK artists in the emerging sector echo this situation to some extent as well
irish bronze Dedicated to the faithful reproduction of the sculptor’s vision
T: 01 454 2032 e: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.irishbronze.ie
Willie Malone: Casting Sculpture for over two decades
Kilmainham Art Foundry Ltd t/a Irish Bronze, Kilmainham Rd and Griffith College, Dublin 8
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
Wiels, Brussels, photo by Kritien Daem
Installation view of work by Barbara Knezevic for ‘The Future Perfect’ at Rubicon Gallery, 2013, image courtesy of Rubicon Gallery
Complex, Incomplete & Thriving CLAIRE POWER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF TBG+S, DUBLIN, REFLECTS ON WORKING IN BRUSSELS. Since I moved to Brussels in March 2014, the situation for artists and artistic production in the city has been uppermost in my mind. Brussels is a very particular context that’s worth understanding. The city is at the frontline of a linguistically and economically divided, geographically small country (albeit population size of 10.5 million): the Dutch-speaking Flanders to the North and French-speaking Wallonia to the South. Symbolically, Brussels is the capital of Europe. It is home to two million citizens, the EU and NATO headquarters, with tens of thousands of affluent foreign professionals and a large immigrant population of Turks, Moroccans and Africans coexisting with the native Brusselois. Although officially bilingual, in reality 63.2% of Brussels inhabitants are native French speakers, less than 20% are Dutch natives and 21.1% of Brusselois speak Arabic as their mother tongue. The deep linguistic and economic divisions between Flanders and Wallonia make national government very difficult. Famously, in February 2011, Belgium reached 249 days without a government, breaking a record set by Iraq in 2010. If it sounds complicated, that’s because it is. I recently met up with two other professional art world outsiders – German artist Erika Hock and Greek-born curator Katerina Gregos – to reflect on the visual art scene in Brussels. While hype about Brussels as the next up-and-coming centre for contemporary has been circulating for some time, there are also stories of artists who arrive in Brussels and leave after a few weeks, ultimately disappointed by a city that does not easily offer up its charms. Hock has observed a high level of improvisation in the way Belgian artists work and a sense of humour inherited from Belgian Surrealism. “The work is often loose, playful, humorous,” she claimed. Hock also noted that conversations with her peers reflect on “the feel of Brussels: the permanent surprise it evokes to live here and how that relates to a curiosity and an exploratory relationship with the city”. Hock sees the city’s character as hidden and chaotic, with a charm that is tied to the fact that “the city doesn’t belong to anyone and you feel that. It’s international, open and transient”. The city’s reputation for being ‘small-scale metropolitan’ and the art institution Wiels (wiels.org) are two significant draws for many artists and curators. Something I’ve noticed since moving to Brussels is the recurring importance of Wiels for many young artists, which runs an international programme of exhibitions (currently, Mark Leckey’s ‘Lending Enchantment to Vulgar Materials’ and ‘Echolia’ by Ana Torfs) side-by-side with its artists’ residency programme. Among the many independent spaces in the city, Etablissement d’en face (etablissementdenfaceprojects.org) projects is a small, innovative art space, which has established a strong narrative of exhibitions. Its programme is conceived by a working group of artists and its
curatorial rigour makes it an important space for artists and curators. As a curator working in Brussels, Katerina Gregos notes the prevalence of practices relating to formalist trends – Minimalism, Post-Minimalism and Conceptualism – over political and socially engaged work. For many reasons, Gregos is looking forward to curating ‘Personne et Les autres’ for the Belgium Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. This formidable exhibition is an intelligent, ‘against the grain’ collaboration with Belgian artist Vincent Messen. “It will be a political statement: a not-widely-known Belgian artist, an international group exhibition, curated by a ‘foreigner’ on the subject of colonialism,” said Gregos. Much of the scale of what happens is Brussels is modest. Even Wiels, the premiere art institution, is a mid-scale kunsthalle. And, as Gregos puts it, “in Brussels there is so much of the art scene that is happening at a micro-scale and off-radar,” which means that ‘gigantism’ is avoided. Since 2012, Katerina Gregos has been artistic director of Art Brussels contemporary art fair (artbrussels.com). Art Brussels shines a light on Belgium’s independent art scene by hosting six not-forprofit spaces from all over Belgium, alongside the galleries. Featured in 2014 were NICC (Brussels), Objectif (Antwerp), LLS 387 (Antwerp), CIAP (Hasselt), Hotel Charleroi (Charleroi) and KIOSK (Ghent). The Curators’ Programme for Art Brussels is co-organised with the Flemish Institute for Visual, Audio-visual and Media Art (BAM) and hosts 30 professional curators over an intensive four days. So far Tessa Giblin (Project Arts Centre) and Hugh Mulholland (The MAC) are the Irish curators to have participated. Kevin Kavanagh gallery also presented a solo exhibition by Nevan Lahart, ‘Serf Vice Paintings,’ in the Solo & Young section of the fair. Another independent space is the Kanal 45 building, a ‘transitional’ eleven-storey high-rise in downtown Brussels where I have a workspace. One of the main animators of the space, Wolke, describe themselves as “a group of people with a common interest in production structures for creativity”. The collective offers a collaborative place, studios and room for exhibitions, talks and events, and residencies. On 24 November 2014, artists’ platform State of the Arts met in Kanal 45 with Sven Gatz, the Flemish Minister of Culture, Media and Youth in Brussels to publicly discuss the 2015 sector budget cuts. From my personal experience of settling into Brussels over almost a year, I’ve found it open and welcoming. Katerina Gregos’s idea of Brussels as a non-hierarchical city where networks and relationships are easily formed resonates strongly. Working as a cultural freelancer / consultant has proved very different to my institutional role at TBG+S. Cultural freelancers occupy a position ‘in-between,’ which hones criticality, perspective, and is ultimately precarious.
The working space I’ve most easily slotted into in Brussels / Belgium is creating new networks and platforms for artistic production and peer-exchange. I recently prepared an EU Creative Europe bid, entitled The Possibilities of Place, between partner organisations (in Belgium, France, Ireland and Romania) as well as an Ireland / Belgium Curators’ Programme for 2015. There is an ease of cultural connectivity enabled by the city’s central position in Europe, compared to Ireland’s peripheral location. The ‘two-hour radius’ around Brussels ensures that many curators, artists and arts professionals regularly travel by train to Amsterdam, London or Paris for work and inspiration. Brussels is an obliging base for such nomads. Belgium’s historic and beautiful cities such as Antwerp, Ghent, Liege, each have distinct art scenes and key institutions – the most well known are Objectif, Extra City Kunsthal and M KHA in Antwerp, as well as S.M.A.K and the Higher Institute for Fine Arts (HISK) in nearby Ghent. Over the last nine months, I’ve seen a lot exciting, world-class art in Brussels: Franz Erhard Walther at Wiels; Emily Wardill’s ‘When you fall into a trance’ at Loge in Brussels (from the Sydney Biennale); and new crossover work between visual arts and performing arts, such as ‘The Place of Dead Roads’, by Danish artist Joachim Koester, screened to the accompaniment of a live concert by Miles Whittaker and presented by the Jan Mot gallery at the Kaaitheater. Yet, while Brussels is a dynamic centre for art, the city remains incomplete and complex. Gregos argues that there is an absence of a common vision due to “the individualism that is a strength of the city and also a detriment to its collectivism”. In September this year, the seventh iteration of Brussels Art Days (brusselsartsdays.com) organised a press conference entitled ‘How to transform Brussels into the most important European capital of contemporary art’. Brussels Art Days is an event held each September in which 30 leading galleries start the new art season together. This year Josephine Kelleher and Rubicon Projects – who works in Dublin and Brussels – presented a solo exhibition by Tom Molloy, ‘STAY HUMAN’, in a Belgian collector’s private gallery during Brussels Art Days 2014. Belgium – and Flanders in particular – is home to an unusually large community of serious and well-informed art collectors and processes the world’s highest number of art collectors per capita. Some private collections are publicly accessible, for example the Vanhaerents’ Collection (vanhaerentsartcollection.com). It is indicative of the city’s rising star that long-time Antwerp gallerist Micheline Szwajcer recently relocated to Brussels. Yet the city still has no public collection of contemporary art, nor institutional platforms collecting important work by artists operating outside of the gallery circuit. In 2007, there was a failed attempt at a Brussels Biennale and the hot topic of discussion is now the building of a museum for contemporary art by 2016. Questions are being asked about the political motivations behind building the museum and future commitment of funding to staffing, acquisitions and international programming. The proposed site for the museum is a garage and warehouse owned by French car manufacturer Citreon located in the downbeat canal district. Are art and the new museum being used purely as tools for gentrification? Or is there real political will to make an ambitious international statement with the new museum? Whatever happens next for Brussels, whether the city reaches its tipping point or not, there are fear factors surrounding higher rents, homogenisation and big city branding. So this is Brussels: a little grey, a little gritty, but with lots of beguiling qualities beneath the surface and a flourishing art scene, with or without the hype. Claire Power is a freelance cultural consultant and producer in the visual arts working between Ireland and Belgium. She was director of Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin until February 2014. Katerina Gregos is artistic director of Art Brussels and is curating the Belgian Pavilion at the next Venice Biennialle. She will also curate the 5th Thessaloniki Biennial (May – September 2015) ‘Between the Pessimism of the Intellect and the Optimism of the Spirit’. Erika Hock is a Kyrgyzstan-born German artist, now based in Brussels. Recent solo exhibitions include: ‘The Seamstress, Her Mistress, the Mason and the Thief’, Tenderpixel Gallery, London 2014; Salzburger Kunstverein/ Kabinett, 2015 (curated by Seamus Kealy and COSAR HMT, Dealyn / Kabi). erikahock.de.
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
VAI Northern Ireland manager
Taking the Licence
Cuts, Creative Protest & Building Trust
TIRED OF BEING ROUTINELY ASKED TO ALLOW YOUR WORK TO BE REPRODUCED FOR FREE IN RETURN FOR THE ‘EXPOSURE’? ALEX DAVIS OF IVARO OUTLINES HOW VISUAL ARTISTS CAN AND SHOULD ASSERT AND ENFORCE THEIR COPYRIGHT.
“If I get any more exposure, I’ll die from frostbite.” We are all familiar with the concept of musicians, composers and authors earning royalties from their creative works. When a musical work is performed on a stage in Dublin or New York the composer is paid a fee; when the work is recorded a fee is paid; each time the recording is played on the radio or in a shop a fee is paid. An author of a book earns a fee on each sale, a fee when their work is photocopied and a fee when their books are borrowed from a library. Copyright applies to visual artworks in the same manner as a book or a musical work and visual art is also reproduced en masse in publications, on merchandise, TV, websites and so on. Yet copyright fees have not traditionally been an income generator for visual artists in Ireland. This may be in part due to a lack of an indigenous art publishing industry and the fact that there was no visual artists’ collecting society (until the formation of IVARO), so a culture of paying artists to exploit their works has never been widespread. It is also partly because most artists are not familiar with how to best exercise their copyright and related rights. When an artist creates an original work of art they automatically own the copyright, even after they have sold the physical work. Copyright lasts for the artist’s lifetime plus a further 70 years. Therefore, it’s an asset that can be passed on to the artist’s estate. A person who wishes to make copies of an artwork must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Copyright can be assigned or licensed. Assigning your copyright means selling it; you will no longer have control over the way in which your artwork is used. Licensing your copyright, on the other hand, means you simply grant permission to the other party to use your artwork in a specific way and for a specific purpose. Artists are usually best served by granting permission by means of a licence. A licence provides the other party with the rights they require (in exchange for
payment) while the artists retains copyright and potential future earnings. Payment of a fee, even a token one, is a very effective way of increasing awareness of copyright. Unfortunately, visual artists are routinely asked to allow their work to be reproduced for free in return for the ‘exposure’ it will bring. It can be hard not to capitulate, as there is some small merit in the exposure argument. However, as someone once said… “if I get any more exposure, I’ll die from frostbite”. It’s important to remember that organisations and companies that seek art to use do so because it adds value. They need the art to sell their products or their services and make money. There may of course be legitimate circumstances when an artist wishes to waive a copyright fee but they should never be pressured into doing so. There are instances when artists’ works are used without permission, never mind the payment of a copyright fee. We have heard from artists whose works have been used without permission on book covers, in newspaper articles, on posters and websites. In all these cases, artists are deprived of an income while others benefit from their work. Artists need to become more aware of how to assert and enforce their copyright, to be responsible in acknowledging each other’s copyright and to work together to campaign for greater protection under forthcoming copyright legislation. Greater awareness will allow creators to prevent others from infringing on their rights and also to benefit from the commercial exploitation of their work. Alex Davis works for the Irish Visual Artists’ Rights Organisation, which manages copyright on behalf of visual creators. IVARO is a not-forprofit organisation and membership is free of charge. www.ivaro.ie
rob hilken discusses recent cuts to the arts in northern ireland.
The last six months have seen the arts in Northern Ireland hit with a series of heavy blows. The first, in August, was an in-year cut of 5% to many arts organisations, including some of the largest and most popular galleries. This was particularly challenging, as it was a cut to money they had already been awarded. The second major blow was in October, when the Northern Irish Tourist Board announced that the Tourism Events Fund would not go ahead, putting events such as Culture Night, the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and Belfast Film Festival at risk. The latest challenge is potentially the biggest yet. The draft budget for Northern ireland for 2015 / 2016 is currently out to public consultation and outlines a cut of 11.2% to direct public funding for the arts. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland have drawn attention to the fact that this is the sixth successive cut to arts funding, bringing funding down to 2005 / 2006 levels, with a highly visible campaign featuring the slogan “What else can you get for 13p?”, which alludes to the amount of funding per person, per week, that the arts receive. As well as support from ACNI, arts organisations are working together to launch high profile social media campaigns such as #LightsOutNI and lobbying campaigns which will give the sector a strong voice against the cuts. Artists are also angry and becoming vocal about the lack of dialogue between government and individuals. ‘BUILD TRUST’ is the latest work of Marty Carter, the artist, activist and owner of the fiercely independent Lawrence Street Workshops. Having rejected funding from both the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council for 25 years, when Carter and the Lawrence Street Workshops have something to say, you can be sure it’s not just about money. Carter sees the lack of dialogue and public engagement as the real issues responsible for a complete breakdown of trust. In Carter’s project, a collaboration with PS2, he takes life-size letters to streets across the country to spell the words “BUILD TRUST”. The message is that the funding cuts are contributing to the breakdown of trust as well as infrastructure, and that it will take more than money to rebuild. In 2013 Belfast City Council’s Tourism, Culture, Arts and Heritage Unit held a meeting with the visual arts sector to discuss ways that Belfast City Council could engage with organisations in order to strengthen the sector and provide better support to what was becoming an increasingly vital part of the city’s cultural offering. In May 2014 the newly formed Belfast Visual Arts Forum (BVAF) held their first meeting. The forum comprised individuals and organisations that considered themselves part of the sector. Crucially,
like the Festivals Forum, the group is self elected and independent. Belfast City Council provides secretarial support and an annual budget, which can be used to support the city’s non-profit visual arts organisations or sector as a whole, but will not push an agenda within the group. Regular monthly meetings took place throughout 2014 at different visual arts venues. A core group of around 30 members have remained committed regular attendees. The current members are largely drawn from the non-profit sector and include galleries, arts centres and studios as well as artist collectives and arts organisations. From the outset it became clear that the BVAF wanted to leverage the strength-in-numbers of the group to lobby elected officials for more support, both in terms of maintaining or increasing funding to the visual arts and for the greater verbal backing that is necessary to increase public support. Two actions were very quickly agreed. First, the forum would support and help guide a joint initiative between the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Audiences NI to carry out an extensive survey to measure public engagement with the visual arts across Northern Ireland. This was the first survey of its type within the sector and was intended to provide a benchmark for mastering the success of future initiatives. The second action taken by BVAF was to commission their own research to map the visual arts sector in Belfast. The group realised that engagement with the commercial and community arts sides of the visual arts sector would be essential in presenting a united voice moving forward and that the forum should represent an accurate cross section of the sector as a whole. These two surveys are approaching completion and the results will be presented early in the New Year. The publication of the mapping survey will be followed by an invitation for everyone identified to come together and be represented at the BVAF. Having a united and comprehensive voice for the sector will not only provide a platform for lobbying, but will also allow greater co-operation between all parties and strengthen the sector from within. It is important to emphasise again that this is not just about money. The Tourism, Culture, Arts and Heritage Unit have made important efforts to support the sector and provide long-term benefits to funded and non-funded artists and organisations alike. They are making efforts to build trust of the sort that artists such as Carter are demanding of all public officials at all levels of government. Rob Hilken, Northern Ireland Manager, Visual Artists Ireland.
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
A Mission to Progress Sara Hanley profiles the dlr artists’ network.
Artnetdlr event at the Lexicon
The DLR Artists’ Network (dlrAN) was established and facilitated by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s Arts Office in May 2012. In late 2013 the Arts Office expressed its wish to see the Network develop independently of their operation, but with their continuing support. At this time, a few members of dlrAN came together to propose a possible path forward for the Network. A voluntary interim committee was set up and this group sought a mandate from the Artists Network members to progress this action on behalf of the group. The mandate was received a meeting held by the DLR Arts Office on 8 March 2014 at the Kingston Hotel, Dún Laoghaire. Artnetdlr has now proceeded with the second development stage of the DLR Artists’ Network, which is independent but supported by the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Councils Arts Office. The proposed aims of the second development stage of Artnetdlr are to: 1) Set up a centre for the dissemination of information relevant to artists from the county and working in the county 2) Establish a ‘drop-in’ social point / coffee dock for artists of all disciplines 3) Facilitate the establishment of clusters of arts disciplines throughout the county 4) Facilitate and encourage collaborative initiatives between disciplines 5) Introduce an annual programme of events, talks and workshops with a variety of high profile professionals 6) Develop a programme of mentoring 7) Research and identify affordable studio and workspaces in the county The current group proposing this pathway see themselves very much as an interim committee. A future committee would consist of a central core and would include a representative from subsidiary local groups and groups of practice from the wider Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area. The first event Artnetdlr hosted was a night of prose, poetry and readings for Culture Night in September 2014. This proved a success, and the writers involved hope to continue to meet in a public place and hold recitals every three months, facilitated by the Artnetdlr committee. Thus, another group of artists have been brought together to collaborate, network and create. This was one of the aims of the second development phase of the Artnetdlr. In October, the programme of Professional Practice Talks and Workshops commenced. Our 2014 events included: Clodagh Kenny & Kenneth Redmond, ‘Funding & Proposals’; Bob Hannan, DLR Architect, followed by Marian Keyes, Executive Li-
brarian; Colm Keegan, DLR writer in residence; and a Show & Tell (in collaboration with Visual Artists Ireland). In 2015 we have: Kerry McCall, ‘Writing artist’s statement and CV’ (31 January); Tim Durham, ‘Documenting your work’ photography workshop (28 February); Cafe Networking / Show & Tell / Mock Proposal Submission Panel (in collaboration with Visual Artists Ireland) (28 March); Kerry McCall, ‘Culture’s Role in Society’ (25 April); Sinead Hogan, lecturer, IADT (topic TBC) (30 May). The events conducted so far have been well-attended and received positive feedback from attendees / participants. Artnetdlr use social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter, as well email and Madmimi marketing software, to pass on relevant information to working in the county. One of the committee’s aims in the short to medium term is to develop a website for members to refer to, which will contain information and links concerning our news and events. Artnetdlr recently conducted a ‘needs analysis’ survey to see if there was an interest or need for artists’ studios in the DLR area. The results of this survey showed that members weren’t interested in looking for studios in the area at this moment in time. The subject of studio needs in DLR will be revisited in the longer term for the Artists’ Network. In early 2015 a coffee dock / social networking facility for artists of all disciplines will be established in the Lexicon venue. This will be a structured event held once a month. A programme of mentoring for artists is currently being researched, and will hopefully be put in place in 2015 / 16. Artnetdlr have made contact with other artists’ networks in the country. Links have also been established with professional arts organisations, such as Visual Artists Ireland and the Centre for Creative Practices, where collaborative events and workshops have been scheduled and others are in the planning process. The Artnetdlr committee is endeavouring to expand the membership over the next few months and establish a vibrant network for all artists working, living or from DLR. Please email Artnetdlr in you have any questions or would like to receive news of events and activities. Sara Hanley is a committee member of Artnetdlr. She studied Visual Arts Practice at IADT, graduating in 2011 and completed Post Graduate Level 9 Diploma in Business & Cultural Event Management from IADT in 2012. Sara currently works in arts administration / management. email@example.com, @artnetdlr, Facebook: Artnetdlr.
hOtDESk FACIlIty@VAI All VAI members have free access to our hotdesk facility: a multi-use workspace in a private room within our city-centre offices. Facilities include: Mac Mini: Final Cut Pro iMovie iTunes iDVD Garage Band & Audacity External CD Drive Epson Perfection V37O photo scanner
Apple Mac G4: Photoshop iPhoto Adobe Image Ready Adobe Acrobat Microsoft Office Suite IFF System 100: slide copying camera & stand
For more information visit: www.visualartists.ie
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
Public Art ROUNDUP
Art in Public public art commissions, site-specific works, socially engaged practice and other forms of art outside the gallery. Mirror Interjection
Artist’s name: Paul King Title of work: Mirror Interjection Date sited / carried out: August 2014 Commission type: Self-initiated project Project partners: Craigavon Arts in Motion Brief description: Paul King, a member of the North Armagh Artists Collective, was recently invited by the Craigavon Arts Development Team to undertake a residency at Oxford Island Nature Reserve on the shore of Lough Neagh at Lurgan in County Armagh. As part of the residency, King decided to make work in the actual landscape rather than in the on-site studio. These ‘Landscape Interjections’ comprised manmade materials, usually found objects, which were placed among the trees, fields and lough. All of these interjections were of a short-term duration; some lasted a day, others only half an hour. Through these works King questioned the imprint we leave on the natural world.
made, sited and presented by artist John Moloney as part of his art in public project. The work was placed along a rough map tracing the River Boyne (Boann) from the mouth of the river (Baltray) along the Boyne, through Beaulieu Wood, through the town of Drogheda, past Oldbridge, Bru na Boinne, Slane to its source. The project was made and sited by the artist without sanction, approval or permission by any other authority. An A4 colour poster was produced, outlining the project, and sited at public places in and around Drogheda. A documentation of the work also exists at facebook.com/Treasure-startseeingsculpture.
Pop Up People
Commissioning body: Lismore Castle Arts Date sited / carried out: 13 July – 31 August 2014 Commission type: Residency and exhibition Brief description: Nicky Deeley created an experiential work that weaves an invented narrative into existing local folklore in order to create a mythical animal for the town of Lismore, Co. Waterford. St. Carthage Hall, on the town’s High Street, marks the beginning of a self-guided walking trail, where visitors discover whispers of evidence revealing the town’s oldest and most mysterious visitors. Involving an exhibition of drawings, film, sculpture, architectural details, window displays, archeological evidence and invented societies, the evidence is woven into over 20 indoor and outdoor public spaces, private residencies and businesses throughout the town.
The Rainbow Forest Tin Can Flowers
Artist’s name: Lynda Christian Title of works: Tin Can Flowers, Fairy Trees
Artist’s name: Astrid Walsh
Commissioning body: Vanishing Art at Carton House
Title of work: Pop Up People
Date sited: Autumn 2014
Commissioning body: Clonmel Junction Festival
Commission type: Part of an outdoor public exhibition of sculpture works at Carton House, Kildare
Date sited / carried out: March – July 2014
Brief description: While washing a tin can for recycling shortly before Christmas 2012, Lynda Christian had the idea to use these as materials to create ‘rose’ style nightlight holders. These developed into large artworks 1 metre in diameter. The flowers are displayed individually or in vines comprising flowers of various sizes to cover walls or trellises, becoming larger Fairy Tree works. Christian collects catering tin cans from two local food producers, which are cut, shaped and cleaned before being primed and riveted together. They are then painted by hand. The works were selected for inclusion in Vanishing Art (vanishingart.ie), an outdoor sculpture exhibition at Carton House, Kildare.
Commission type: School project Project partners: Clonmel Junction Festival, Abbott
Treasure – startseeingsculpture
Brief description: Artist Astrid Walsh helped 4th class children from 12 schools create vivid figures using simple line drawings. In a threesession programme, characters were developed, cut out and set up to create short visual storylines incorporating everyday objects and furniture within the children’s school environment. Using photography and blogging software, the stories and images were recorded and given a life on line to be shared with the public and other schools. In the runup to the festival, the characters appeared in a variety of locations on the streets of Clonmel. They also travelled overseas from New York to Australia. All the photos of their travels can be seen on the Junction Festival website: junctionfestival.com/arts_cafes/school_project.
Artist’s name: John Moloney Title of work: Treasure – startseeingsculpture Commission type: Self-initiated project Date sited / carried out: April 2014 (ongoing) Brief description: Treasure – startseeingsculpture was a recent work
The Beasts of Lismore Artist’s name: Nicky Deeley Title of work: The Beasts of Lismore
Artist’s name: Vera McEvoy Title of work: The Rainbow Forest Commissioning body: Kildare Arts and Wellbeing Specialist, Kildare County Council Arts Service Date sited / carried out: 1 – 12 October 2014 Budget: €2,000 Project Partners: Barretstown Camp, Kildare County Council Arts Service, Kildare Arts and Wellbeing Programme Brief description: The Rainbow Forrest celebrates the many visitors that have stayed in Barretstown Camp over the years. It is a series of various height wooden poles that stand at irregular heights and distances from each. These form an overall curved pattern and pathway ending in a circular shape encompassed by the tallest poles. 25 families participated over a weekend and the unveiling took place after dark when the installation was wrapped in red satin ribbon and LED lights. Each family returned home with a gift of red ribbon and an LED light and battery, which would remain shining until after Christmas. Barretstown Camp’s mission is on rebuilding young lives after cancer. Its surrounding lands and its infamous red door, originally owned by Elizabeth Arden, was purchased by Paul Newman 20 years ago this year to develop one of his camps there.
Visual Artists Ireland operates a wide range of professional development training events throughout the year. The delivery of this programme is greatly supported by our relationship with local and international visual art professionals and partner organisations throughout the island of Ireland. VAI works in partnership with local authorities, visual arts venues and others, combining resources to support the professional development of visual artists at regional level.
Autumn Winter 2014
Republic of Ireland Visual Artists Cafe and Show & Tell, East Galway In partnership with Galway County Council Thu 5 Feb, 2015 @ Ballinasloe Free Show & Tell, Donegal 21 Feb 2015 (14.00 – 17.30) @ Artlink Ltd, Fort Dunree, Inishowen, Co. Donegal Free The purpose of Show & Tell is to allow artists to present work or concepts to each other in an informal atmosphere. The events are also designed to allow curators and artistic directors to keep up to date on what is current in artists’ practices. 10 artists are given 6 minutes each to present and speak about their work or concepts in 20 slides. These presentations are in a rolling format, which provides both for excitement and also in most cases precludes complicated, overly academic or theoretical language. Instead we have found that artists tend to speak more clearly about their work, which allows many access points for the informal networking that takes place after the presentations. Visual Artists’ Café, Donegal 1 Feb 2015 (14.00 – 17.30) @ Artlink Ltd, Fort Dunree, Inishowen, Co. Donegal Free Visual Artists Ireland, in partnership with Artlink Ltd and Donegal Arts Office, are delighted to announce the Visual Artists’ Café for Donegal Visual Artists. Join us on Saturday, 21 February for an afternoon of information and the opportunity to meet fellow artists working in the North West and discover the supports that are available to you. Visual Artists’ Café, Artlink is a Visual Artists Ireland Local Area Groups initiative supported by Donegal County Council. The running order for the day will be as follows: 14.00 14.45 15.30 16:15 16.30 17.30
Introduction to Artlink. Forthcoming Supports & Arts Structures for Artists in Donegal – Donegal Arts Office Update on VAI Support Services including ‘How to get noticed’ Tea break Show & Tell – 10 Donegal Artists speak about their work in quick fire presentation. Also open to a general audience Close
Documenting your Work with Tim Durham, Dun Loaghaire 28 Feb 2015 (10.00 – 17.00) @ Lexicon, Dun Laoghaire €20 (VAI members) €40 (non members) In partnership with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Artists’ Network. Places will be prioritised for DLR Artists’ Network members and artists based in Dun Laoghaire. Artists often struggle to photograph their own work or spend scarce money paying someone else to do it for them. But with
some basic guidelines and practice, artists are, for the majority of purposes, well able to photograph their own paintings, drawings, etc. with the digital compact or SLR camera that they already own. This workshop will assist you in a methodical step-by-step process to obtain the best possible results with your digital compact camera or digital SLR. Toward Sustainability: Mapping your Practice led by Patricia Clyne-Kelly, Galway 12 – 13 Mar (10.30 – 17.00) @ Galway City (venue TBC), free This event is run by Visual Artists Ireland, in partnership with Galway County Council, Galway City Council and the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland. Open to fine artists and designer-makers. Free to Galway City and County artists. Places will be prioritised for artists from this region. The event comprises wo days of practical, curatorial and commercial perspectives on positioning your work. It is aimed at professional visual artists and designer makers working in traditional media and collectable fine crafts and led by Patricia Clyne-Kelly, with contributions from other professionals including: a gallerist; a fine craft curator and a commissioner of fine art and craft. This session will be of interest graduates and mature artists alike. This seminar will involve talks, interactive discussion and work-shopped elements. The day will facilitate artists and fine craft makers to map their practices and come away from the session with a range of perspectives on the art world and a plan to move their careers and livelihoods forward in an informed way. Writing about Your Work with Patricia Clyne-Kelly, Meath 21 Mar (10.30 – 16.30) @ Kells, Co. Meath (venue TBC), €20 (VAI members) €40 (non members) Organised by VAI, in partnership with Meath County Council Arts Office, this session is designed to give artists and designers the know-how and understanding to write clearly articulated and comprehensive CVs and statements for a variety of situations such as proposals for funding, to galleries, for job applications, for the press and for marketing purposes. The session assists artists in an interactive way, developing workable artists’ statements during the course of the day with peer supported feedback. Look out for further training topics to be announced in Jan 2015 including: Presenting Yourself and Your Work; Positioning Your Practice; Finance & Budgeting for Visual Artists; Collaborations and Partnerships (a seminar looking at cross disciplinary projects); Peer Critique Drawing and more. We look forward to delivering training in Dublin and regionally in 2015 in conjunction with partners Fingal County Council, Limerick City of Culture, Limerick City Council, Limerick County Council, Galway City Council, Galway County Council, Tipperary County Council, Clare County Council, the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Artists’ Network. Bookings / Information Monica Flynn, Professional Development Officer, Visual Artists Ireland, 7 – 9 Dame Court, Dublin 2 T: 01 672 9488 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: visualartists.ie
Northern Ireland Belfast Visual Artists’ Helpdesk Arts Career Advice Wed 14 Jan (appointments 13.00 – 17.00) @ Digital Arts Studios, Belfast Free (VAI members) £5 (non members) Visual Artists Helpdesk Pensions & Retirement investments with James Fair, Harbinson Mullholland Wed 10 Feb (appointments 13.00 – 17.00) @ Digital Arts Studios, Belfast Free (VAI members) £5 (non members) Visual Artists’ Helpdesk Arts Career Advice Wed 11 Mar (appointments 13.00 – 17.00) @ Digital Arts Studios, Belfast Free (VAI members) £5 (non members) Visual Artists’ Cafe – Art Books & Self Publishing March (Date TBC) @ Belfast Exposed Gallery
PORTSTEWART Visual Artists’ Cafe Writing Proposals & Show & Tell Sat 24 Jan (13.00 – 17.00) Flowerfield Arts Centre, Portstewart Free (VAI members) £10 (non members)
DOWNPATRICK Visual Artists’ Cafe Sat 28 Feb (appointments 13.00 – 17.00) @ Downpatrick Arts Centre Free (VAI members) £10 (non members)
Please email email@example.com if you wish to get involved as a volunteer or an artist, or if you wish to arrange a studio visit for your group. We also welcome curators and can provide a structured studio visiting programme. Bookings / Information Rob Hilken, Northern Ireland Manager Visual Artists Ireland, Digital Arts Studios, 38-42 Hill Street, Belfast, T1 2LB E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.visualartists-ni.org
The Visual Artists’ News Sheet
January – February 2015
Opportunities commissions Navan Educate Together Navan Educate Together National School wishes to commission a sitespecific public artwork’s under the Per Cent for Art scheme, funded by the Department of Education and Science. Budget: €35,148. The committee would like an installation for the outdoor area of the new school that might reflect a kineticism or alignment to the scientific, geographical, natural or astronomical elements associated with the county of Meath. The selection process will take the form of a two-stage open competition. It is open to all interested professional artists. Selection will be based on the quality of the information, the feasibility of the proposal and track record of the artists involved. International submissions are welcome. Further details can be found through the VAI website. Deadline 12 noon, 13 February 2015 Email email@example.com Address Navan Educate Together National School, Dan Shaw Road, Navan, Co. Meath, Ireland.
calls for papers Arts Management Research The Research Stream on Arts Management is interested in paper presentations that push the boundaries of arts management research and practice from a sociological perspective. As the field continues to develop there is a need for forward thinking inquiry as well as contextualisation of the discipline’s norms within the trajectory of its past development. The ESA Research Stream Arts Management invites abstracts on all aspects of arts management theory and practice, with special interest in papers addressing the following themes: arts management; differences, inequalities, and sociological imagination; theories and methods in arts management; sociology of arts management; Foucault and other challenges of arts management practice and theory. Abstracts should not exceed 250 words. Deadline 1 February 2015 Web esa12thconference.eu/ rs1-arts-management NGI Research Day The National Gallery of Ireland will hold a Research Day on 6 March 2015, exploring new ideas, projects and research at post-graduate level, creating opportunity for discussion and debate
between institutions and organisations and students at various levels of study. The theme for the event is ‘Conditions of Display: Research and Practice’. As the NGI approaches 2016 and the reopening of its historic buildings, it faces the challenges of re-hanging and reimagining the collection, all of which will be informed by the myriad conditions and concerns of display. In order to investigate this topic, applications are invited from students currently pursuing practical, historical or theoretical research on display and the conditions that inform this practice – e.g. practical solutions for art practitioners, historical conventions, museum strategies for permanent collections, education and engagement, artist versus curator, design and presentation, digital display, constraints of animating collections (financial, special, environmental) etc. Papers dealing with any aspect of the NGI and its collections will also be considered. Proposals: no more than 250 words, 12 point font, single-spaced. Format: name / email / course of study / university / title of paper / proposal. Deadline 20 January 2015 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone 01 663 3504/5/6/7/9
courses / workshops / training MA Art & Process MA:AP at CIT Crawford College of Art & Design, Cork is now inviting applications from recent graduates, final year students and artists interested in returning to postgraduate education. MA:AP is an intensive and stimulating taught masters delivered over three semesters through the calendar year from February to December 2015. MA:AP offers artists a critical progressive path in artmaking through: innovative approaches to teaching, 24 hour access to large citycentre studio space, professional experience through collaborative projects and a provoking visitor lecturing series. Students engage in seminars, tutorials and lectures to strengthen their individual practice. Lecturing staff include: Colin Crotty, Jesse Jones, Ailbhe Ní Bhriain, Lucy Dawe-Lane and the Lewis Glucksman Gallery curatorial team. Visiting lecturers include Clodagh Emoe, Maud Cotter, John O’Connell, Mark Garry, Tina Kinsella, Gavin Delahunty (Tate Liverpool), Stephen Brandes, Anna Konik, Gemma Tipton, Dawn Williams (Crawford Gallery) and Something & Son. Fees: €4,140 payable in two stages (February and September). Web cit.ie/course/CR_AARTP_9, facebook. com/maap.ccad
Email email@example.com Telephone 021 433 5200 the Artist’s Statement & CV On Monday 9 February Kerry McCall will lead a course at the National Sculpture Factory, Cork, to help artists who are making proposals and writing grant applications. This course is designed to give artists the know-how and understanding to write a clearly articulated, well presented and comprehensive CV, and an artist’s statement that proves useful in a variety of situations, including proposals for funding, proposals to galleries and job applications. Time: 10.30 – 4.30 pm. €40 NSF members / €45 non-members. Places: 8. Contact Elma O’Donovan Email firstname.lastname@example.org Web nationalsculpturefactory.com Telephone 021 4314353 Leitrim Sculpture centre Leitrim Sculpture Centre will host a series of workshops on Saturday 31 January and Sunday 1 February. MF2 Blacksmithing is led by tutor Michael Budd. Duration: Cost: €170. This course teaches you basic forging techniques to create sculptural forms. For beginners in blacksmithing. Digital Photography is led by tutor Dave Spence. Cost: €140. This course is aimed at participants looking to get the most out of their SLR and compact cameras. They will understand manual camera functions, file formats and production workflows. Setting the camera for different scenarios (studio and landscape), lighting (including high and low key set-up), composition and photographic intent dialogue. For Intermediate level. Images on Glass: Print and Glass is led by tutor Alison Lowry. Cost: €220. In this two-day master-class you will learn how to create images on glass using screen-printing and other image transfer methods. No experience is necessary. Web leitrimsculpturecentre.ie Address Leitrim Sculpture Centre, New Line, Co. Leitrim
open submissions R-Space #Visioning Events R-Space Gallery is looking for submissions of artist short films and video works to be screened as part of a series of events titled #VISIONING. All works will be screened sequentially on a projector in standard definition. Screening fees will be based on VAI guidelines / Filmbank standard rates. Please email your artist statement, CV and online
video links. Please do not email original video files. Deadline 16 January 2015 Email email@example.com Web rspacelisburn.com Belfast Photo Festival Belfast Photo Festival is offering artists (using photography) and photographers the opportunity to exhibit their work in the main festival gallery alongside some of the biggest names in the field. The winners will be eligible for a number of awards, including a cash prize of £1,000. The theme has been left open to remove any restrictions. Submissions must be photographic or lens-based but incorporating other art forms with the photographic medium is also encouraged (i.e. performance, painting, sculpture, music, literature). Artists will benefit from: awards and cash prizes; exhibition exposure at the festival’s main city centre gallery; inclusion in the special festival issue of Abridged Magazine; long term festival representation and promotion; having their work viewed by an international panel of influential experts in the field of photography. Deadline 6 March 2015 Web belfastphotofestival.com Source Magazine Source magazine will be organising meetings with photographers at two venues in 2015 to look at new unpublished work. Direct submissions are also welcome. The workshops take place on Subday 22 February at the Source Office, Belfast and Saturday 28 February at the Gallery of Photography, Dublin. More information on how to submit work can be found on the Source website. Deadline 1 February 2015 (Belfast event) 6 February 2015 (Dublin event) Web source.ie Email firstname.lastname@example.org
residencies UCD College of Human Sciences The UCD College of Human Sciences, in partnership with Parity Studios, announce the call for an artist in residence. A one year residency is offered to a professional artist. This includes studio space at UCD Parity Studios, a fee of €5000 and access to all of the lectures, research seminars and other resources at the college. Key areas of collaborative research interest for the College of Human Sciences includes: identity and conflict; environment, policy and society, child and youth well-being; demographic
change and gigration. The college is particularly interested in applications from artists who have already engaged in work related to one or more of these fields. However, it also welcomes those who are new to these areas of research. The principal aims of the scheme are to support mutual exchange between the artist and college staff, students and researchers and to explore areas of research, current and prospective, through the lens of artistic practice. Deadline 11 January Web ucdartinscience.com Cow House Studios Each summer Cow House Studios seeks two artists to live and work at the studios during its teen programme Art on the Farm. Artists will live on a working family farm, teach young people and make new artwork in a unique environment. One position requires a strong knowledge of darkroom photography while the other requires an artist whose practice includes drawing and painting. It is crucial that visiting artists are practicing artists. Candidates must be at least 21 years old, hardworking, resourceful, have a collaborative work ethic and most importantly be eager to work with teens. Students in their final year of undergraduate study as well as artists working towards their MA or MFA may apply. Visiting artists must commit to being at Cow House for 10 weeks total. Responsibilities include teaching and mentoring, assisting with and leading activities and helping with the day to day running of the programme. Cow House Studios will provide full room and board, studio space and a €2000 stipend. Deadline 31 January 2015 Web cowhousestudios.com Telephone 053 916 9567
funding / awards / bursaries Thomas Dammann Junior The Thomas Dammann Junior Memorial Trust invites applications from researchers who are registered students at an Irish university or other third level institution (North or South), and from practitioners of the visual arts, who seek funding for any project involving the visual arts. Awards are up to €5,000. Deadline 6pm, 20 February 2015 Web thomasdammanntrust.ie
Culturefox.ie is the definitive online guide to Irish cultural events, giving you complete information about cultural activities both here and abroad. To find out what’s on near you right now, visit Culturefox.ie on your computer or mobile phone.
Download the FREE App available now for:
iPhone | Android | Blackberry
Arts Council of Northern Ireland Developing the arts in Northern Ireland
Arts Council of Northern Ireland, MacNeice House, 77 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 6AQ. T: +44 (28) 9038 5200. W: www.artscouncil-ni.org. E: email@example.com
Image: Brendan Jamison, Green JCB bucket with holes. Arts Council Collection
Now available to VAI members:
• • • • • • • •
IMG Stageline STA7000 Amplifier (275 + 275 Watts) Universal Karaoke Stereo Amplifer 2 Speakers - PAB-110MK2 Black IMG Stage Line 2 x OPTOMA HD 200X Projectors OPTOMA HD 20LV Projectors 2 x Acer P1303W Projectors New Members Mac mini Perfection V370 Photo 4800 dpi scanner with ReadyScan LED technology suitable for slides, film and negatives
For the complete list of all our equipment for hire, please visit: www.visualartists.ie
Weekly trips from Dublin to Liverpool, Birmingham, London, Bath and Bristol; Monthly trips from Dublin to Paris, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Brussels and Amsterdam. All transportation fully insured Largest Private Art Storage Facility in Ireland
Hi Lily, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll take a quarter page, top of back outside. Please attach QR Code that is above. Dublin to Paris, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Brussels, Amsterdam Monthly Dublin to Liverpool, Birmingham, London, Bath, Bristol weekly Edit at will Lily, Regards, Joe