Visual Artists' News Sheet - 2011 May June

Page 1

further information & the brief for strand 2 interview with ruairí ó cuív, public art manager, about the programme

strand 2 interaction with the city

dublin city public art programme

call for proposals

The Visual Artists’ News Sheet

issue 3 May – June 2011

Published by Visual Artists Ireland Ealaíontóirí Radharcacha Éire

City Limits Calling all Writers ...

Dublin City Council Arts Office / Visual Artists Ireland Visual Art Writing Award Dublin City Arts Office & Visual Artists Ireland invite submissions for CITY LIMITS a Visual Art Writing Award. CITY LIMITS has been 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 arts practices. Submissions for CITY LIMITS should comprise of detailed, but brief, (500 words max) proposals / abstracts for a thematic article dealing with visual arts practices, issues and ideas relating to the context of Dublin City, accompanied by an up to date CV and three examples of previous visual arts writing. Suggested themes include: Dublin City as a site for making, discourse, engagement; Dublin City as a material and inspiration; the challenges and benefits of the Dublin context for the visual arts; along with specific focuses on forms of organistion and practice on the part of Dublin's visual artists and institutions. The winning submission will receive from Dublin City Council Arts Office in total an honorarium of €800 – comprising a €500 commission to write for the Dublin Contemporary edition of The Visual Artists News Sheet (that will be distributed at DC2011) and a €300 commission to write a short essay as part of the LAB's 2011 / 2012 programme Application closing date: Friday 23 June 2011 Applications should be addressed to: CITY LIMITS, Dublin City Council Arts Office, Foley St, Dublin 1, Ireland CITY LIMITS is supported by Dublin City Council Arts Office, The LAB & VAI's Professional Development Training programmes.

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Invitation to Exhibit The Alley Arts Centre, Strabane, invites applications for exhibitions to be programmed within our gallery space. Selection will be based on a consideration of an artist’s CV, exhibition proposal and 6 – 12 examples of previous work (which can be submitted in hard copy, slide or CD format). To receive an information pack including gallery dimensions, programme schedule and terms & conditions please contact: Ms Victoria Ross Alley Arts & Conference Centre Strabane C0. Tyrone BT82 8EF Northern Ireland Tel: +44 (0) 2871884760 Email: Deadline for receipt of submissions: Friday 17June 2011

Image: NSK, Ljubljana, 1986

Visual Artists Ireland represents a diverse membership base of artists working in all visual arts mediums; in every part of Ireland; and representing a rich generational mix.


The Visual Artists’ News Sheet


May – June 2011

Contents 1. Cover Image. Sean Lynch 'Me Jewel & Darlin' installation view, O'Connell Street, Dublin.

Welcome to the May / June edition of the Visual Artists News Sheet.

This issue features an exclusive walk-through of the main exhibition spaces for ‘Dublin Contemporary 2011: Terrible Beauty—Art, Crisis, Change & The Office of Non-Compliance’, with the curators Jota Castro and Christian Viveros-Fauné. VAI are media partners for Dublin Contemporary; and further coverage of the show will feature in upcoming editions. A new regular columnist joins us in this issue, Emily Mark FitzGerald, whose first column for us

(featuring a reproduction of Harry Clarke's The Last Hour of the Night 1922)

5. Roundup. Recent exhibitions and projects of note. 5. Column. Mark Fisher. In Defence of Genius. 6. Column. Emily Mark-FitzGerald. All Change. 7. Column. Jonathan Carroll. Bretzels & Beer. 10. News. The latest developments in the arts sector.

considers the period of profound transition that Ireland’s cultural landscape now finds itself in. Emily is a

11. Regional Profile. Visual arts resources and activity in Donegal

lecturer on the MA programme in Arts Management and Cultural Policy, at University College Dublin; and

15. Profile. Approaching Critical Mass. Jason Oakley takes a virtual walk-through of the main exhibition

is board member of the Irish Museums Association. Readers may already be familiar with her blog spot offers information and opinion on a broad range of arts and cultural management

16. Profile. Good from Bad. Ciara Peters profiles the aims and achievements of Creative Limerick

related issues.

17. Art in Public. Everyday Friction. Sean Lynch discusses his project Me Jewel & Darlin’

Earlier this year Ormeau Baths Gallery and Visual Artists Ireland ran a critical writing competition, that was divised to encourage, support and promote critical discussion on the visual arts. Alissa Kleist’ winning entry is presented on page 18. The development of discourse and criticism is an ongoing concern of Visual Artists Ireland, related future projects include another writing competition, this time devised in partnership with Dublin City Council Arts Office (see the notice page 2 for details). In addition, starting with our September / October edition of the Visual Artists News Sheet, we will begin running a regular review section, entitled CRITIQUE, which will comprise of six reviews, published in each edition of the VAN – adding up to 36 reviews annually. Our reviews will be commissioned to reflect upon and critique a diversity contemporary Irish visual arts practice – in terms of media, generation and geography. Visual Artists Ireland recently wrote to Minister Jimmy Deenihan; Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Minster Joan Burton; Minister for Social Protection. The letters covered: the Tax

spaces for Dublin Contemporary 2011 with the curators Jota Castro and Christian Viveros-Fauné.

18. Introducing: Critique. Critical Critique. Later this year The VAN will launch a new reviews section

entitled 'Critique'. By way of introduction, we present the winning entry of the recent OBG / VAI critical writing competition. 19. Profile. Gifting Shock. Tonya McMullan discusses her project 'Give & Take' that featured a

collaborative process involVing 10 artists from Scotland, Northern Ireland and the USA

20. Art in Public. Unabashedly Instrumental. Jason Oakley reports on – The ethics of collaboration within

socially engaged arts practice – a seminar devised by The Fire Station Artists’ Studios, Dublin and

hosted by The National College of Art and Design (11 March 2011).

21. Profile. Lost in Leitrim. Joanne Laws reports on The Leitrim Sculpture Centre 's recent exhibition

entitled ‘Commons’

22. Profile. Manhattan Microscope. Ben Crothers and Rebecca Gilbert (1) Discuss their curation of Golden

Exemption Ceiling and a balancing of payments that was dropped from the Finance Bill when

amendments were stopped at the end of the last Dáil; the realities of Social Welfare and the professional

23. Opportunities. All the lastest grants, awards, exhibition calls and commissions.

visual artist; Cultural Sector Staffing Deficits & Cultural Workers Unemployment levels; the legislating

27. Career Development. Ongoing & Roundabout. Ailbhe ni Bhriain tells the story-so-far of her career as

of the Drôite de suite and forthcoming obligation for the heirs of artists. As well as this, the letter also

introduced VAI's idea for developing a Cultural Sector Partnership – a forum that will allow cultural

28. Regional Contacts. Visual Artists Ireland's regional contacts report from the field.

organisations work closely with the Department in the development of cultural strategies and forming

29. Profile. In & Out of Place. Paul Murnaghan introduces Place, a new contemporary visual arts venue in

policies for government. Information on all this has been forwarded to the National Campaign for the

Arts (

30. Conference. Buzz Phrases & Brainstorms. Sara Baume reports on ‘MOOT VII: Inno-vision – Art,

In late April Visual Artists Ireland was out and about, our CEO Noel Kelly was on the road travelling to Limerick, Galway, Sligo and Letterkenny, Enniskillen, and Belfast. Further details can be found on the VAI websites new blog section ( VAI’s all-Ireland reach, of course also includes our professional development workshops, headed up by Monica Flynn, that we are constantly delivering around the country; along with the sterling work undertaken by our regional contacts – Aideen Barry, Laura Graham and Damien Duffy in, around and beyond Galway, Derry, and Belfast. In this edition of the Visual Artists News Sheet our features report on and profile visual arts activities

Thread Gallery's showing at the 2011 edition of Scope art fair in New York (2 – 6 March 2011)

a professional visual artist.

Gorey, Co. Wexford Creativity, Education and Innovation’ an event held at The Butler Gallery, Kilkenny on 4 February.

31. Discussion. Powerpoints & Brass Tacks. Curt Riegelnegg reports on “What Do You Stand For?” a forum

for independent and alternative visual arts spaces, held at The National College of Art and Design,

Dublin on 12 March.

Production Editor: Jason Oakley; Layout: Jason Oakley; News: Damien McGlynn; Roundup: Siobhan Mooney.

and issues from Donegal, Dublin, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Belfast, Limerick, Gorey; as well as Irish artists projects

Opportunities: Damien McGlynn / Siobhan Mooney ; Proofing: Anne Henrichson; Invoicing: Bernadette

in the USA.





Jonathan Carroll, Mark Fisher, Emily Mark-FitzGerald, Damien Duffy, Laura Graham, Aideen Barry, Sarah


Baume, Sean Lynch, Tonya McMullan, Joanne Laws, Ben Crothers & Rebecca Gilbert, Jason Oakley, Ciara



Category of Membership:


Peters, Paul Murnaghan, Curt Riegelnegg, Ailbhe Ni Bhriain, Christian Viveros-Fauné & Jota Castro, Alissa Kleist, Terre Duffy, Eamon O’Kane, Sarah Lewtas, Maria Coleman, Mairanne O’Kane Boal, Ian Joyce, Sean oAssociate



* To qualify as a Professional member you must meet a minimum of THREE of the below criteria.

o o o o o o o

Degree or Diploma from a recognised third level college. One-person show (including time based events) in a recognised gallery or exhibition space. Participation in an exhibition/visual art event which was selected by a jury in which professional artists or recognised curators participated. Work purchased by Government, local authority, museum or corporate client. Work commissioned by Government, local authority, museum or corporate client. Have been awarded a bursary, residency, materials grant or otherwise grant aided by the Arts Council/Arts Council of Northern Ireland or other funding body. Have been awarded tax-exempt status by the Revenue Commissioners, or are on schedule D as a self-employed artist in Northern Ireland.

FEE All Ireland Standard Rate €50. Concessions Rate €25 Britain €65 Europe & Rest of World €70. Friend €60. Payments accepted by cheque, cash or postal order. Payable Visual Artists Ireland. Euro or Sterling cheques accepted. DISCOUNTED STANDING ORDER FOR MEMBERS IN NORTHERN IRELAND. DISCOUNTED Direct Debit payment facility available for ROI members. Standard €48 Concession €24 direct debit rates Standard £43 Concession £20 standing order rates



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The views expressed in this publication, unless

otherwise indicated, do not necessarily reflect

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Additional Memberships Please tick below if you wish to avail of the following memberships STUDENT PACK (free for students and recent graduates. Graduating year: o IVARO The Irish Visual Artists Rights Organisation (no fee) o IAA CARD International Association of Art museum and gallery discount card (professional o members only). We require a passport photo – please send to our postal address. An an additional fee of €5 applies Visual Artists Ireland, 37 North Great George’s Street, Dublin 1, Ireland. T: 01 8722296 F: 01 8722364 E: W:

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The Visual Artists’ News sheet

May – June 2011


Mark Fisher in Defence of Genius


Roundup Strange attractor a

upon the documentation and consumption of reality and how it is intrinsically linked with and conducted via online platforms. The five artists in this show use the Internet in their everyday lives and, by extension, in their art. This mode of art making can be seen as a development from the last decade’s move in focus from art producer to consumer, and the transmission to a hybrid producer / consumer model".

ONe of the many things that might surprise the unprepared reader of Fanged

'Strange Attractor' at the Crawford Gallery, Cork

Noumena, the recently published collection of writings by Nick Land, is its defence of

The collaborative sound art exhibition

the concept of genius. Genius, a certain prevailing wisdom maintains, is an idea to

‘Strange Attractor’ was recently on

which only the unsophisticated grant any credence; it depends on an obsolete idea

show at The Crawford Art Gallery, Cork

of the individual creator; it presupposes an unsustainable set of value judgements.

(20 Nov 2010 – 30 April 2011).

Land was one of the greatest theorists of the last 20 years, but his refusal of this

participants were

has, up until recently, been known only to relatively few people.

Danny McCarthy, Irene Murphy, Mick

installation comprised a series of identical white plinths, with built in speakers playing a sound work. As the press release noted, “Floyer’s plinths stood empty with the objects and items replaced by a simple aural representation of what may have stood there – Floyer

O’Shea and David Stalling – along with various

Continental Philosophy has always been a marginal pursuit, but it offered a

Attractor’, featured a monthly series of

comfortable enough career structure for those willing to mind their manners and

durational sound performances, with

respect its institutional protocols. Land wasn’t – he scorned the high priests of continentalism – Hegel, Husserl and Heidegger; and unearthed a more feral philosophical genealogy, which passed from a brilliantly renegade reading of Kant, through Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Bataille and Deleuze and Guattari. It is not as if Land was the first theorist to engage with these thinkers; on the contrary, in the 90s, when Land was a lecturer in philosophy at Warwick University, the academy was bristling with ‘readings’ of Nietzsche and Bataille, and the turgid Deleuze industry that now dominates so much of the art / theory world was well underway. What was unique about Land was his instinctive and total aversion to the domestication process, which comes as second nature to many academics. Implicit in Land’s approach was the conviction that the only proper response to the likes of Nietzsche or Bataille was to produce something that started from where they left off. This was a matter of style and tone as much as theoretical content. A bracingly



isolated the word “thing” from a range of


invited guest artists – which culminated in a gallery based exhibition in April 2011. As the press release noted “throughout these ventures the artists worked both collaboratively and individually using improvisational sound performance, experimentation with technology, combined media and random and improvised drawing and structural forms to explore creative possibilities resulting in an experience that offered multiple points of entry for the audience”.

pop songs, assembling a multi-channel Mairead O'hEocha House with Miniature Round Tower Oil on board 40 x 49 cm 2008.

The title of Mairead O’hEocha’s exhibition of paintings ‘Whisper Concrete’ at the Butler Gallery, Kilkenny (19 March – 1 May), referenced concrete structures that are designed to absorb traffic noise. As the press release for the show noted, the artists subject is “castles, fields, garages and housing estates in the semi-rural South-East of Ireland” and that “she understands ‘local’ to be an increasingly abstract term and creates images that convey human feelings of

BroWne at the laB


Oisin Byrne – work from 'Three Colours – Blue'

The exhibition ‘Three Colours - Blue’ was

edge of the Skin

held in SOMA Contemporary, Waterford (10 March – 2 April) featured the work of John Brady, Hannah Breslin, Oisin Byrne,

now familiar rhetoric of close reading; the simultaneous performance and

Susan Connolly,

prescription of painstaking care, deliberation, conscientiousness and reverential

Rachael Corcoran,

MichaelDurand,Mary Kelly, CassieKirby,

textual devotion. A certain intricately interstitial discussion of spirit unfolds, at a languorous pace, inspired by uninterrogated principles of decency and justice.”

Michelle Browne Border Border (from 'Transitopia') 2006 Cecily Brennan Unstrung, 16mm / video, 2007

post-structuralist orthodoxy. ‘At the edge of the skin’ Cecily Brennan’s The pathology that Land identifies here, though, is not specific to continental

exhibition at Mermaid Arts Centre in

philosophy; this “reverential textual devotion”, with its “uninterrogated principles of

Wicklow (17 Feb – 19 March) focused

decency and justice” has infested much of the discourse around art, and this has

on the artists video work. As the press

inevitably had a paralysing effect on many of the artists who are exposed to it. Post-

release commented, the works in the

structuralism’s pious cult of indeterminacy mandates a retreat into equivocation and


vacillation, into work that makes a virtue of its refusal to have any designs on its

manipulation of materials in a quasi-









Land’s revisiting of the concept of genius offered a way out of this libidinal impasse.

the human psyche in a series of stark,


vulnerability of the human body and performative pieces”

the “wretched individual”. “It is no doubt comforting to speak of ‘the genius’ as if impersonal creative energy were commensurable with the order of autonomous individuality governed by reason,“ Land wrote in his essay Art as Insurrection, “but

chime all over the room”.

“There is no discernible urgency here,” Land wrote of Derrida. “Instead there is the

Land argued that Kant, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche’s work opposed the genius to

playback of dissonant edits that ping and

longing and belonging.”

sardonic passage in Land’s essay Spirit and Teeth identified the traits of the enemy.

What a witheringly precise characterisation of so many of the default tendencies in

Project Arts Centre, Dublin recently ‘Things’ (10 March – 23 April). The

WhiSper concrete

Anthony Kelly,

In university philosophy departments in the Anglo-American world, so called

Ceal Floyer 'Things' Installation view, Project, Dublin.

presented Ceal Floyer’s exhibition

The exhibitions initiators and

hackneyed reasoning perhaps goes some way to accounting for the fact that his work



such chatter is, in the end, absurd. Genius is nothing like a character trait, it does not

‘Out on the sea was a boat full of people singing and other stories’ Michelle Browne’s show The Lab, Dublin (3 March – 9 April) revisited a series of public performance works made by the artist over the last four years, presenting interviews with witness to these events. As the press release outlined, Browne was interested to see “how the memory of these events lives on to the present”. Previously on show was 'Secret or Lie? (Product Service Company)’ a project by Ciara Scanlan (3 March – 1 April). As the press release noted “For two weeks in March the public was invited to offload their lies and secrets to the Product Service Company office / drop off point

Aoife Kirwan, Ruth Lyons, Kevin Mooney and Mary-Ruth Walsh. As the press release noted the show was first in a series of exhibitions investigating the Primary Colours and their acquired meanings – “Blue is calming. It can be strong and steadfast, or light and friendly. This formed the exhibition’s context, to provide an overarching setting for the works, all of which include or are produced in blue”.

BroadcaSt ShoWS

at the LAB or via twitter and email".

belong to a psychological lexicon; far more appropriate is the language of seismic upheaval, inundation, disease, the onslaught of raw energy from without. One ‘is’ a genius only in the sense that one ‘is’ a syphilitic, in the sense that ‘one’ is violently

Toine Horvers Light selfportraits: Poznan 2007

‘Body / Builder’ Rebecca Andrews’ show

problematized by a ferocious exteriority. One returns to the subject of which genius

a place BetWeen

at the Broadcast Gallery at DIT, Dublin

has been predicated to find it charred and devastated beyond recognition.” The

Fiona Mulholland’s recent exhibition ‘A

presented (7 – 9 April) video and

genius, then, is more like a lightning conductor, than a psycho-biographical subject

Place Between’ was held in The Sycamore,

photographic works documenting a

Dublin (4 March – 10 April). The show

female competitive body-builder. As the

featured photographic works, which

press release outlines “Body / Builder

documented North Belfast. As the press

features selected photographs of Rene

release noted, the artist work was

Campbell. They were shot in studio

“primarily concerned with examining

giving Andrews greater control over the

fragments of everyday life, often

display and representation of Campbell’s

exploring the dreams and realities of

competition-ready figure. Andrew’s

modern living”.

show was curated by Alistair Farmer,

– a channel through which the intensities of a radically depersonalized “energetic unconscious” can flow. “In the last half of the twentieth century,” philosopher Iain Hamilton Grant wrote in his endorsement for Fanged Noumena, “academics talked endlessly about the outside, but no-one went there.” It’s long past time that artists and theorists find a way to make contact once again with this outside, this “ferocious exteriority“.

'Offline' installation view TBG&S, Dublin

Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin is now showing ‘Offline’ (7 Apr – 14 May), a show curated by Rayne Booth, featuring works by Aleksandra Domanovic´, Joel Holmberg, Parker Ito, Eilis McDonald and Jonathan Rafman. As the press release explains, the exhibition “reflects

Amy Bindon, Brian Cregan, Caroline


The Visual Artists’ News Sheet


May – June 2011


Emily Mark-FitzGerald All Change All is changed, changed utterly – or soon will be. There’s no doubt we’ve entered a period of profound transition in Ireland’s cultural landscape. The recent reshuffle of ministerial portfolios following the general election saw Kerry TD Jimmy Deenihan appointed Minister for the Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs. The reconfiguration of the Department from its most recent form (of Culture, Tourism and Sport) has yet to be felt in real terms and will not begin to settle until May. Whilst the narrowing of nomenclature from ‘culture’ to ‘arts’ may or may not prove significant, the removal of tourism from the portfolio signals a more important shift at the Cabinet table (with Leo Varadkar taking over as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport). Minster Deenihan will control a department with far less economic clout and most likely a drastically reduced remit, particularly in light of the devastating 47% budget cuts to the Heritage Council in December 2010. Nevertheless, a place at the Cabinet table for the Arts has been retained, and Deenihan is the first minister in many moons with a clear interest and commitment to the arts. Author of Fine Gael’s pre-election arts policy (the most developed of all the political parties), Deenihan’s participation in the National Campaign for the Arts’ hustings in February demonstrated a willingness to work productively with the cultural community (retreating, for example, from his suggestion to merge Culture Ireland and the Arts Council after a strong negative response from practitioners.) The translation of Fine Gael’s programme for government into concrete policy objectives and funding streams will be an important and vital development for the new Department: with so many elements in play at the moment, it’s vital for anyone with an interest in the direction of national arts policy to make their views known to elected representatives. Further to this, the National Campaign for the Arts is urging arts groups to meet with local TDs on a coordinated day in late May (check http:// for details). Given the crippling cuts recently imposed by the Arts Council England that will wipe out large numbers of cultural organisations, efforts by the NCFA and Culture Ireland (amongst others) in foregrounding the significance of the arts in Ireland have been hugely important, and must be supported. Leadership transitions at our largest cultural institutions are likewise coming thick and fast: following Fionnuala Croke’s appointment as new Director of the Chester Beatty Library, a gap has opened at the National Gallery for Head Curator and, most significantly, Director, as Raymond Keaveney steps down this year following 22 years at its helm. Pat Wallace will be retiring shortly as Director of the National Museum, Enrique Juncosa’s contract as Director of IMMA concludes this year, and the search is underway for a new Director of the National Concert Hall. The post for Director of the Arts Council has been recently advertised, and applications for its fifteen key arts adviser positions (tasked with making funding recommendations across all artforms) closed in mid-April. By next year, seven of the 11 Directors sitting on the Council of National Cultural Institutions will constitute new appointees, an astonishing level of turnover. What will this mean for the arts in Ireland? I have great optimism that our national institutions will be refreshed with the forthcoming infusion of new leadership; for too long several of our major cultural venues have been saddled with antiquated management practices and lack of vision, despite sustained and growing public appetite for cultural engagement. Indeed figures from the DTCS in February showed a 7% increase in visitor numbers to exhibitions and events nationwide in 2010 (more than 3.5 million visitors in total): consider that visitor figures for the much-loved, newly-reopened and relatively tiny Museum of Natural History from April-Dec 2010 equalled just over 250,000 – nearly equivalent to the footfall at the National Museum at Collins Barracks for the entire year. Culture Night has expanded exponentially, and despite challenging economic conditions, cultural entrepreneurs and artists have proven resilient and resourceful. Across the border and the water we’ve witnessed higher education (particularly in the arts and humanities) suffer severe funding losses; the disproportionate impact on institutions responsible for creative training and arts education is shocking and must be resisted at all costs in our own society. If recent Irish university support for the arts has been lacklustre to date, new alliances between UCD and NCAD, TCD’s appointment of a Cultural Coordinator and its innovative Long Room Hub project, UL’s commitment to the performing arts and DIT and IADT’s flourishing programmes supporting cultural entrepreneurship/innovation are encouraging signs of investment into Ireland’s cultural future. Yet this cautious optimism should not be mistaken for complacency: Irish universities remain grossly under-resourced, though their contribution to our cultural and social ecology will be essential to economic recovery. What will be required in the coming months to sustain positive change will be the courage to appoint cultural leadership with new perspectives and energy (hopefully from beyond Ireland itself in many cases) and a continued unity of effort and voice amongst the diverse sectors of the arts. To paraphrase Theo Dorgan’s recent address to the graduates of UCC, one that I see deeply resonant amongst my own students and amongst those who believe in the central place of the arts in a civil society: we must embrace solidarity, and hope. Dr Emily Mark-FitzGerald School of Art History & Cultural Policy University College Dublin

McNally, Emma Ray, Joseph Carr, Katie

Dark lights continued

Northern Ireland and the Republic of

O’Neill, Lyndsey Putt, Steph Gallagher

Ireland and how these can be visualised

and Steven Maybury.

and defined. The exhibiting artists were

Previously the venue presented a

– Olivia Johnson Murphy, Kim Doherty,

performance and talk by The Dutch

Celia Richard, J. Keith Donnelly, Carmel

artist Toine Horvers (31 Mar), an artist in

O’Callaghan, Yvonne Cullivan, Christine

residence at The Red Stables Studios,

Mackey, Tom Hyde, Sylvia Grace Borda,

Dublin. As the press release outlined

Harriet Browne, Gerard O’Reilly, Sally

“Toine works with language in both written and spoken form. He uses

James L Hayes. Invite image for 'Dark Lights Continued'

language to disseminate other realities

Irish artist James L Hayes recently

for it to become a gesture in space and

exhibited at the Good Children Gallery,


New Orleans (12 Feb – 5 Mar). The

O’Dowd, Siobhan Harton, and Bernard McCabe.


show, entitled ‘Dark lights continued…’ was funded and supported by Culture Irelands ‘Imagine Ireland’ programme

Smith at Pallas

in conjunction with both the University of New Orleans and Louisiana State University. The exhibition featured installation, video, audio and sculptural works; as the press release noted “through his use of the familiar everyday object Hayes’ work often evokes the uncanny, or creates an atmosphere of psychological unease. Everyday objects are made strange and the materiality of the objects displayed is not as it seems”.

Bluewall Shows

Geraldine Jackman I had a Dream

The South Tipperary Arts Centre, John Smith The Black Tower 1985 - 87 video stills.

Clonmel recently held ‘Roots’ a

Pallas Projects, Dublin inaugurated their

(26 Feb – 9 April). The exhibition

new Dominick Street gallery space, with

featured a series of mixed media

‘The World Seems a Long Way Away’ an

artworks and was inspired by, and

exhibition of works by conceptual

focused on, places encumbered with

filmmaker John Smith (2 March – 2

dereliction and features of the material

April). This was Smith’s first solo

environment. As Jackman put it “the

exhibition in Ireland. The show

objects and photographs from which I

presented a survey of Smiths works,

collection of work by Geraldine Jackman

Rita Duffy – work shown at the Bluewall Gallery

work suggest a vanished period,

from the 1970s to the present. As the

nostalgia, a moment that is now gone. I

press release noted, a common thread

am attracted to the elusive and

running through the artists works is

mysterious nature of these objects, the

“the impossibility of truly knowing his

deeply rooted emotional resonance

shifting subjects, the streets, houses and

inherent in these pieces.”

people that are portrayed over decades of filming and editing, and the impetus

Something / Nothing

contained therein”.

de Blacam & Meagher Bernard McCabe – work shown at the Bluewall Gallery

Bluewall Gallery, Cavan recently exhibited ‘Severance’, a collection of paintings by artist Rita Duffy (2 – 30 April). The works in the show were inspired by the artist’s short residency in Tromso, Norway. Commenting on Duffy’s work, the press release notes “Her sustained interest in myths and

De Blacam and Meagher publicity image.

Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane recently hosted de Blacam and Meagher architects’ exhibition that was originally presented





Architecture Biennale (3 March – 3 April). The architects’ Venice show was commissioned by the Irish Architecture Foundation and curated by Tom de Paor, Peter Maybury, Alice Casey and Cian Deegan. A short film by Ruán Magan

legends was nourished by the spell in Norway and she has been invited back to do a longer residency in the Nordic Artists Centre in Dalsasen. The imagery travels into the space of dark fairy tales, psychological territory, laden with strange narratives. She is fascinated by the similarities in Nordic and Irish

John Jones’ exhibition ‘Waiting for Something/ Waiting for Nothing’ took place at The Joinery, Dublin (2 – 7 March). The show brought together a number of drawings from an ongoing series (2008 – Present), that as the press release notes is “directly and indirectly influenced by the recent upsets of the global downturn and the bank bailouts, while also dealing with issues ranging from religion, war, animal cruelty and globalization”.

stories and revel in the human dramas of fear and courage.” Previously on show in the venue

about the installation of the exhibition

was ‘Seeing and Being in the Landscape’

in Venice, entitled dBMgallo was screen

which (Feb 26 – March 26) showcased

as part of the exhibition at the gallery.

the work of 14 artists. The works in the

John Jones - invite for 'Waiting for Something / Waiting for Nothing. Joinery, Dublin.

show sharing a concern for the rural and post-industrial landscapes between

Life Vividly Lived Monstertruck Gallery and Studios (MTG&S) and The Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) in association with Inish Turk Beg presented ‘Life Vividly Lived (Part 2)’. The exhibition showcased seven artists’ responses to the spectacular

The Visual Artists’ News Sheet

May – June 2011




private island of Inish Turk Beg in


city location of the same name – the

Ireland, after a week long residency

‘Funambulism’ was a touring exhibition

intersection of Washington Street and

there in September 2010. The artists

curated by Anne Hendrick and Ciara

Grand Parade in Cork City. As the press

were selected by both the Royal

O’Hara, presenting the work of two

release put it “rather than coming

Hibernian Academy and Monster Truck

emerging artists – Laura Green and

together because of a shared common

and kindly hosted by Nadim Sadek,

Elizabeth Tubergen.

artistic purpose, this collection of artists

Chief Islander. The Artists who took

The exhibition took place at

were brought together by chance – the

part were: Nick Miller, Nina Tanis, Ruth

Monster Truck Gallery, Dublin (11 – 22

chance of working in close proximity to

E. Lyons, Eilis O’Connell, Michelle

Feb). ‘Funambulism’ is the art of tight

each other”.

Considine, David Farrell and Shoichi

rope walking, and as the press release


noted “for the artists the title represents






Bretzels & Beer

Trockel & Fay at RHA

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Goethe Institut in Ireland. In that time the Goethe has supported countless events in theatre, film, music and the visual arts.

participants in this project, the artists, Work from the Life Room

Jonathan Carroll

There are many cultural highlights from these 50 years of bringing German culture

curators and artist-led spaces,

to the attention of the Irish public. Just looking through the archive names and events such as Jürgen Habermas (1994, 2011), Günter Grass (1991), Karlheinz

Stockhausen (1991) Anselm Kiefer (1990) and of course Joesph Beuys’ visit of 1974 stand out. More recently we had the Thomas’, Demand, Ruff and Scheibitz, all shown

It is, Still

at IMMA. There are many special events such as the Rosemarie Trockel touring exhibition in the RHA and the much anticipated conference in May (6 – 7) Contemporary German-Irish cultural relations in a European perspective: Exploring issues in cultural policy and practice. This is a co-presentation with the Centre for Irish-German Studies, University of Limerick and the Goethe. Issues such as prospects Brian Fay, Valentino decayed film stock Beyond the Rocks 1922, 2010, Pencil on Paper, 29.7 cm x 21 cm. Image: courtesy of the artist.

of cultural work in times of economic crisis and the autonomy of support for the arts will be on the agenda. This conference is very timely and an apt way to consider the importance of the Goethe (with a budget of €278 million worldwide) to cultural (1) activity in Ireland .Free to attend it offers anyone the opportunity of rubbing shoulders with Doris Pack the MEP who chairs the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament. In a time when money is too tight to mention, it is noticeable the amount of

Clare Samuel work from the series It is, Still (2009) 30x30 and 25x30 c-prints

Context Gallery, Derry, presented Clare Samuel’s exhibition of still and moving image works ‘It is, Still’ by Clare Samuel

James Hanley Johnny graphite on paper 18" x 10"

(10 Mar – 16 April). The exhibition

James Hanley RHA’s exhibition ‘One Day – Work from the Life Room’ at Solomon Fine Art, Dublin brought together approximately 70 nudes and figure studies on paper and canvas, each one having been completed in a single sitting of just a few hours duration. As the press release stated “Hanley has always been one of the driving forces behind the revival of the life room at the Royal Hibernian Academy and over the past 10 years or so has organised and participated in the regular RHA Thursday life drawing sessions. Working in the life room is something that appeals by its very nature to James’

presented a body of work created in 2009 that exploring the subject of portraiture. As the press release notes, the works “silent choreography of subtle gestures and poses, can be seen as an attempt at interaction with the spectator, or part of an interior dialogue with the self”.

Let’s See What Happens

Irish artists now routinely showing abroad. It is obvious that opportunities elsewhere must be sought in order to have any chance of maintaining a career as a visual artist. Rosemarie Trockel, Siesta, 2000, Acrylic and pencil on paper, 53.5 x 75.6 cm, Photo: Bernhard Schaub, Copyright VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

The Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin recently hosted an exhibition of work by the German artist Rosemary Trockel (17 March – 25 April). The show which was presented in conjunction with the

Exhibition’ at the Galway City Museum

work, showing in Berlin and then Wales and simultaneously in Mermaid Arts Centre

On show at the RHA Ashford

Bray, while also inviting Berlin Gallery MMX (sponsored again by the Goethe) over to

Gallery was Brian Fay’s ‘Broken Images

Wicklow to present an artist’s screening. This is cultural exchange in as it should be.

or When Does Posterity Begin?’. The

To further advance the possibilities of a cultural exchange, The Goethe has

exhibition featured drawings based on

recently collaborated with Temple Bar Galleries and Studios and the City of Frankfurt

hand tracings of distressed film stock

in offering a residency in the respective cities to Irish and German based artists. The

from early silent cinema, old master

first such exchange has just been completed with Irish artist Stephen Gunning


spending three months in the Kulturbunker in Frankfurt and Turkish born artists



Özlem Gunyol and Mustafa Kunt working in TBG&S. Although this kind of exchange

consisted of a hub of events, taking

printmakers. The artists featured in the

place over four days (9 – 12 March). The

show were Aisling Bradley (Ireland),

show hosted a range of events and




My main interest in the Goethe is through my involvement in The Return

effect time has on the materials and

This may explain why, looking at the recent figures for the Goethe Institut in

Tina Gaffey (Ireland), Joan Gleeson

exploring “new possibilities for the

(Ireland), Terry Gravett (Britain),Aoife Layton(Ireland), Mo

gallery and stepping beyond the usual

Sandra Ann Vita Minchin’s solo

comfort zones”

exhibition ‘Are all the Roses blue and the

Graciela Silvera (Argentina), Aine Scannell (Ireland), Sandra Starkey Simon (Australia), Pires Godinho Jussara Tereinha (Brazil), Kouki Tsuritani (Japan) and Cleo Wilkinson (Australia).

centres, Kunstvereins, Kunsthalles, Museums and Galleries and very well funded

Ireland you have 111 events with 291,000 visitors, evidence of a considerable amount

the board of 126 saw the show as

Zealand), Hilda Paz Levozah(Argentina),

favored by the Germans is the envy of many other countries. Their mix of cultural

exhibitions and work to be produced in any one year.

happenings. Commenting on the event,

(Ireland), Antonia O’ Mahony (New

allowing me to keep in touch with the German arts system. The multifaceted system

lived for a certain time in that region) allow for a huge volume and variety of


inviting a number of younger German artists to Dublin for the first time thus

regional art centres (providing extremely generous arts bursaries to artists who have

On at GAC

Davis(Britain), Killian Dunne(Ireland),

Levy(Ireland), Jennifer McCauley

more of these properly funded residencies for Irish artists are a must for the future. Gallery. I am one of three curators who programme the gallery. I have enjoyed

(5 – 26 Feb). The exhibition showcased range of Irish and International

is not new with TBG&S also being involved in an exchange with Helsinki (HIAP),

of my work is to register and map the

‘Let’s See What Happens’ at 126, Galway

in Germany (mainly Berlin) such as Tacita Dean (who also recently showed in

and wall-hanging pieces.

Promitional image 'Lets see what Happens'

small scale print works selected from a

exhibited in Ireland. Understandable too why so many artists choose to live and work

Cecily Brennan is a good example of the transformative affect time spent in Germany can have. She is now spending time in Berlin and has re-invigorated her


‘Galway International Mini Print

Why else would we have had so many big name German artists chosen to be

presented works on paper, short films

supports of early film and iconic

Lorg Print Makers presented the annual

artist in an exhibition, secure in the knowledge that funding should not be a problem.


artist has noted “The ongoing intention

Mini Print Exhibition

country. Speak to any curator and they will have no hesitation in including a German

für Auslandsbeziehungun, Stuttgart,

Commenting on the work, the

important finance and practical support to their artists who wish to show in another

Goethe-Institut, Dublin and the Institut

conservation x-rays.

sense of tradition and continuity”.

The Goethe Institut has best demonstrated how an organisation can offer the all

of activity. As a curator you are spoiled for choice for who to bring over. But Publicity image from the Grúpat collective's ‘You/Protect’ show at Galway Arts Centre.

Violence red?’ was recently presented by Galway Arts Centre (11 March – 23

Singers Corner

April). As the press release noted her

‘Singers Corner’ a group show at the


Lavit Gallery, Cork (15 Mar – 2 April)

performance based works addressed

featured six artists – Patrick Cashin, Sam

“subconscious fears, responding to her

Curtin, Aoife Layton, Cora Murphy,

personal experiences of illness and

Jennifer O’ Connor and Brian Smyth.

making reference to the martyred,

The show took its name from the Cork

executed and tortured body. Her



importantly the Goethe is very conscious that we have a cultural exchange, and therefore it also provides the opportunity for Irish artists to exhibit in The Return and has commissioned many site specific works for the gallery. The Goethe of course also funds outside the capital and will be involved in both the Harun Farocki exhibition Soft Montages and Omer Fast’s The Tunnel in The Model, Niland Sligo later this year. Meanwhile I will be inviting Berlin based artist Judith Raum to produce a solo show in The Return to coincide with the May conference, all are as usual welcome to the opening which uniquely offers the best bretzels with your beer. Note 1.

I should point out that the Goethe is an NGO and a registered charity that raises much of its own income through its language courses and sponsorship. This importantly allows it to act independently from the government.


The Visual Artists’ News Sheet

May – June 2011


combination of controversial and striking imagery through various media convey




stimulating body of work, which challenged the viewer to confront their own bodily and psychological fears”. Also on show was ‘You/Protect’ (11 March – 23 April) a group show exhibition showcasing work by members of the Grúpat collective – who operate under the pseudonyms Freya Birren, Turf Boon, The Dowager Marchylove, and





Walshe. Grúpat is a project by Irish artist Jennifer Walshe.

point of view, not the political. So in all cases, I tried to show the people involved and to evoke some state of mind that they were representing in the photo. I avoided taking sides or showing bias. I think the photos speak for themselves and tell their own extraordinary story.” The second suite comprises of 18 photoetchings made in 1979 from photographs taken in 1972. Other current shows at IMMA include ‘Anima Mundi’ an exhibition of 30 abstract paintings by Taaffe (23 March – 12 June) and ‘Old Master Prints: The Madden Arnholz Collection’ (23 Mar – 12 June), curated by Janet and John Banville.

Forest Year ‘A Year in the Forest’ Anna O’ Hara’s exhibition at the Red Stables Studios, Dublin (6 – 12 March) was presented in association with The Tree Council of Ireland, as part of National Tree Week and the UN Year of Forest. O’Hara’s show featured paintings of Irish trees, woodlands and forests. The press release noted “ranging from wide treescapes to studies of individual trees and the flowers on the forest floor, these paintings catch the light filtering through the wonderful variety of our native trees and plantings”.

Michael Fortune

On at IMMA Changeable Limits

Office (4 March). In making the quilt, four generations of women Travellers teamed up with an artist to make a quilt that tells their life stories. Members of the Derry Travellers support Group at Ballyarnett Travellers Centre, worked with multimedia artist Delaine Le Bas and local textile designer Tina Mc Laughlin to produce a hand-sewn piece. Commenting on the project Delaine Le Bas, as an English Romany, found she had a lot in common with the women she met; ‘we wanted to tell their stories and produce a piece that reflected that… they talked a lot about the prejudice they face and how this makes them feel about themselves, it’s unusual for work like this to come from inside their community but all the women enjoyed taking part”.’ The completed Quilt went on show in the City of Culture Office to mark 100 years of international Women’s Day and was on display for the week. The project is part of a wider initiative by the Derry Travellers Support Group and

Emerald Isle ‘Impressionen von der Grünen Insel – Impression of the Emerald Isle’ was on show at the Gemäldegalerie Dachau in Bavaria, Germany 22 Oct 2010 – 13 March 2011. The exhibition comprises a survey of late nineteenth and early twentieth




bringing together works from the collections of the Crawford Gallery, Cork The Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane and Limerick City Gallery of Art. At the Joinery

Context Gallery.

Syrian Artists Talking

Neil Carroll 'Changeable Limits' work in progress.

Frida Kahlo Self-Portrait with Monkeys, 1943 Oil on Canvas

The eagerly-awaited exhibition of the work of the celebrated Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera is now on show at Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) (6 April – 26 June). ‘Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Masterpieces of the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection’ features, as the press release outlines “many of the artists’ most iconic paintings and offers a rich insight into the work and lives of the two central figures of Mexican Modernism” The show includes lithographs, drawings, collages and a page from Kahlo’s diary, alongside photographs of the artists by some of the most renowned photographers of the day. Prints by Kahlo’s father, Guillermo Kahlo, and a film by the Japanese artist Yasumasa Morimura are also being shown. Also currently on view is ‘Mindful Media: Works from the 1970s’ an exhibition of works donated to the Irish Museum of Modern Art by Dublin-born artist Les Levine, is currently on show at the museum (23 March – 12 June). The show features two portfolios of etchings and photographic works mixing text and image. As the press release outlines, the themes of the works relate to Levines “belief that social and political problems are valid concerns for art”. Collectively the bodies of work are entitled ‘The Troubles: An Artist’s Document of Ulster, 1972’. The first group of works comprises of 80 cibachrome photographs, forming part of a series of works for which the artist coined the terms ‘media sculpture’ and ‘media art’. Speaking of these works Levine has noted “it deals with every aspect of the situation. It goes into Catholic homes, Protestant homes, churches, funerals, explosions... My approach was to take it from the human

Ormond Studios, Dublin presented

Installation view – Michael Fortune exhibition at The Peer, Hoxton, London.

‘Changeable Limits’ a solo exhibition by

Works by Irish artists Michael Fortune

Neil Carroll, curated by Sinead Reilly

were recently exhibited at The Peer in

(Sat 12 – Sun 13 March). Carroll was a

Hoxton Street, London (9 Feb – 2 April).

participant in the Ormond Studios

Fortune’s exhibition featured a selection

Graduate Programme, a platform for graduate artists to develop their practice. Selected graduate from IADT, NCAD, DIT and Crawford were offered a month long residency culminating in solo shows at the venue. Carroll’s exhibition featured a 360 degree panoramic wall

of single and multi-channel video works, which were produced over the last five years. As the press release noted “this was the first time that these works were shown together outside of Ireland and was the most comprehensive exhibition of the artist’s work in the UK to date”.

painting, which as the press release noted explored issues of “de/construction

Love Songs

by combining the age-old technique of

Diane Sabenacio Nititham and Holly Pereira Tea For Tat, HP & DSN, 30x40cm

Brian Kennedy & Victor Sloan 'Syrian Artists Talking'

Brian Kennedy and Victor Sloan’s video installation ‘Syrian Artists Talking’ was shown at the Naughton Gallery at Queens, Belfast (5 – 9 March). The work drew on interviews conducted by the Sloan and Kennedy during a trip to Syria in November 2010, when they interviewed artists and curators about a diverse range of topics such as feminism,

Everyday Tension

rectilinear forms of modern architecture in an effort to expand the boundaries of

‘Ornamental. Oriental.’ An exhibition by Diane Sabenacio Nititham and Holly Pereira was presented at The Joinery, Dublin (9 – 16 March). The show featured

censorship and Facebook.

mural painting with the signature

Foley & McDonald – work from 'Alchemical Reserve'




including photography, painting and illustration. As the press release noted

a room into a distant past and far-off

“both Nititham and Pereira live in Ireland


and are of Asian descent; and the work

explores the notion of identity through self-presentation and reception. The

Utopia Ltd

exhibition also questioned the gendering of the Orient through the artists’ perspectives”. The following show was ‘Alchemical Reserve’ which featured work by Jessica Deirdre Mc Kenna Looking for Venus, 2010

Foley and Siobhán McDonald in The Joinery, Dublin (23 – 28 March).

Aoife Desmond – invite for 'Love Songs' Pil & Galia Kollectiv Co-Operative Explanatory Capabilities in Organizational Design and Personnel Management. 2010 DVD, 23 min.

Aoife Desmond presented ‘Love Songs’

‘Utopia Ltd’ a group exhibition held a the

at here studio in Broadstone Studios

Wexford Arts Centre featured the work

Project Space, Dublin (24 – 27 March).

of Blaise Drummond, Brendan Earley, Pil

The event included a studio sale and an

Galia Kollectiv, David Mabb, Lizi Sánchez


and Mary-Ruth Walsh (12 Feb – 12

predominantly nature studies of plants

March). The shows curator, David Mabb

and birds – made between 2005 and

and Mary Ruth Walsh described the

2008 by the artist. It was held at

show as exploring “the relationship

Broadstone Studios Project Space, Dublin


(24 – 27 March) .




commodification” and explained that “the works in Utopia Ltd. represent modernist architecture and design in its various




spectacularised, commodified consumer society”.





– Nicky Keogh The Making of a film about blue bottles photo: Catharine Roberts

Support Group launched the ‘Our Life

The Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast presented ‘Disconnected: everyday tension’ (25 Feb – 16 April). The exhibition featured works by Maurice Doherty, Colm Clarke, Deirdre McKenna, Claire Morgan, Brendan O’Neill, Nicholas Keogh and Lorraine Burrell. The works in the show were described as exploring “a range of observations and strategies engaged with rethinking superficial assumptions and contemporary

Our Way’ quilt at The City of Culture


Our Life Our Way In Recognition of International Women’s Day Centenary 1911–2011 Context Gallery, Derry and Derry Travellers

Locky Morris 'WIndowsill'

As part of its ongoing lightbox commission series, The Context Gallery, Derry is presenting ‘Windowsill’ by Locky Morris. The lightboxes are mounted directly outside the gallery, and are accessible to the public both

The Visual Artists’ News Sheet

May – June 2011


during and outside of regular gallery

Moving Image

hours. Commenting on his work Morris states “In 2008 I started photographing the ‘remains’ on the windowsill nearest the chair that I sit on at home. Capturing these fragments of the story hovering on the same plane as my nose became as much a part of my daily routine as my daily routine. There were certainly plenty to choose from and making any choice was difficult. In the end though I

Joe Ryan The Ark 2009

settled for this group were I played with the black-out blinds and the cameras’ auto function for the light box treatment. This forms part of an ongoing project, making






my and

circumstances, governed in part at least,

Linda Monks Sylvanienders 2010

The Empress Gallery, Belfast presented

by chance”.

'Contemporary Art and the Moving

Image' (3 April) a once off screening event of a range of moving image work

Pomeranians ‘Pomeranians and other conversation pieces’ is the current exhibition on show at The Hunt Museum, Limerick (17 Feb –13 May). The show features 19 works from the permanent collection of the Limerick City Gallery, spanning a broad time period from the late eighteenth to the early twenty first century. As the press release notes “a deliberately eclectic mix is presented to give some idea of the variety and scope that characterises the LCGA collection”.

by Irish and international artists. The event featured video art, short films,




Arthouse, Stradbally, Co Laois.



In conjunction with the launch of the

Arthouse Studios, Stradbally opened on

Organisation (IVARO) highlights a threat

LAB Essays 2008 – 2011, the LAB, Dublin

21 March 2011, with three artists selected

to the Artists Resale Right.

is presenting a seminar on art criticism

Whenever an artists’ work is resold

and writing on 26 May 2011. The event

are Laois based Karen Hendy, Kerry based

on the Irish art market, the Artists Resale

aims to explore, tease out and expose

Laura Fitzgerald and Kildare based Vera

Right entitles them to a small share in

current thinking around art criticism.

Mc Evoy. Arthouse also hosts a resident

the proceeds. The right is due to be

Key questions will include – What are

Craft worker, the first being Laois based

extended to the heirs of Irish artists from

the subtleties between review, descriptive

Goldsmith Helena Malone.

1 January 2012. From then on, the

text and criticism? How do the

Facilities at Arthouse include a

families and heirs of recently deceased

presentation and context (wall panels,

community library, artists’ studios and

artists will be able to exercise this right.

book, newspaper, pamphlet, catalogue,

living accommodation, an exhibition



online essay, etc.) of this kind of writing

gallery, an equipped music rehearsal

Organisation (IVARO) is the only

affect its nature and purpose? Through

space, a kiln, and a garden space with a

collecting society in Ireland which

panel discussions, artist/critic interviews

commissioned Percent for Art wall

manages the Resale Right on behalf of its

and a keynote address by London based

mounted artwork. The complex will be


writer David Berridge, the seminar will also explore what constitutes criticism,

benefited from the Resale Right, this

excess of €1.2million, commenced early

looking at alternative elements such as

modest assistance to the families of

in 2010 has been assisted with funding

deceased artists is currently under attack

performance, interview, and exhibition.

from the Department of Tourism,

by the French art market who want to

Culture and Sport Access 11 scheme.

see the right dispensed with or at least

Construction work was completed in

limited to living artists. France has the

December 2010.

CAF & NEW BELFAST MERGE When The Arts Council of Northern

performances and installations by Maria

important resource to add to the strong

will effect artists in every EU member

Ireland’s (ACNI) ASOP programme

Araka, Alan Bulfin, Dwayne Butcher, Pat

Arts Programme and strategies already

state and would threaten the introduction

(annual core funding) opened last year,

Byrne, Melissa Doran, Cathal Duane,

present in the County, under the

of the right for heirs in Ireland. The

ACNI made clear that it would be

Michael Hanna, Eimhin Hawes, Phil

direction of Laois County Council. The

French artists collecting society, ADAGP,

prioritising service delivery organisations

Hession, Michael Higgins, Amelia

initiative will be of real value to the

have produced a video explaining the

over umbrella groups. The threat of a

Hitchcock, Jacqueline Holt, Ciaran



situation and defending the right. (see –

complete loss of funding and subsequent

Hussey, Jenny Keane, Lemeh 42, Miguel

community and the visual arts and

closure of the Community Arts Forum

Martin, Séamus McCormack, Laura

design sector in Ireland. It will also

ADAGP#videoId=xh5xtq) Information

(CAF) was a real and imminent



represent an important pathway for

on the situation in Ireland is available

possibility. At that point, the board of

Moulton, Molly O'Dwyer, Joe Ryan, and

artists from outside Ireland to make a

on the Advocacy section of the IVARO

the CAF decided to explore the possibility

James Ward.

valuable contribution to widening and


of saving services through a merger.

Holland at Project Project Arts Centre have announced that Susan Holland has been appointed as the 2011 Assistant Curator of Visual Arts. Holland has been based in Limerick as an independent curatorial practitioner. She graduated from LSAD in 2010 with an MFA by Research in Curatorial Practices. She is on the Board of Directors of Occupy Space, a gallery and project space in Limerick. Holland's recent curated exhibitions include 'Amharc Fhine Gall: the cloud' at Draiocht and 'Noughties but Nice: 21st Century Irish Art', co-curated with Mike Fitzpatrick which toured to LCGA, VISUAL, Solstice and RCC Letterkenny Holland worked as Curatorial Fellow under the Shinnors Scholarship programme and as Curator Audience and Access at Limerick City Gallery of Art from 2006 – 2009. Other recent projects include 'A Limerick Minute 'with Christina Gangos and LCEN supported by CREATE 2011. At her new post Holland will be supporting the growth and daily operations of the visual arts programme of Project Arts Centre. She will work closely with the Curator of Visual Arts, playing an integral role in the shaping and managing of the communications of an internationally followed visual arts programme. Holland was selected from a very strong field of candidates, and we look forward to welcoming her to Dublin and to Project Arts Centre. She will begin her placement on 4 April 2011.

Initiative, an organisation that initially



Get into The Roundup ■■ Simply e-mail text and images for

the roundup to the editor


■■ Your text details / press release

should include: venue name,

location, dates and a brief

description of the work / event.

showed ‘How Capital Moves’ by Kennedy



deepening public experiences and direct

Under the percent for art scheme a stainless steel relief wall piece has been created by Wicklow based artist James Hayes for the garden wall in the courtyard area of the studios. A fully equipped professional rehearsal space for musicians will open at the Arthouse also and enquiries can be made to the Laois Arts Office to book rehearsal time


Browne (25 March – 6 May). The

■■ Inclusion is not guaranteed, but

Visual Artists Ireland has launched an

exhibition, curated by Annette Moloney

we aim to give everyone a fair

online archive of back issues of the


Visual Artist's Newsheet, available to

Ireland. Kennedy Browne, with respect to the critical and conceptual use of fiction within this work, has replaced all references to the actual name of this multinational with the pseudonym The Company. Kennedy Browne have crafted narratives of redundancy and precarity in order to examine the insecure nature of employment within early 21st century capitalism”.

researchers and to the general public ■■ Our criteria is primarily to

through our website.

ensure that the roundup

As the most extensive repository of

section has a good regional

news, events and commentary on the

spread and represents a

visual arts in Ireland, VAI is now

diversity of forms of practice,

providing access to this published

from a range of artists at all

stages in their careers.

information through a searchable online archive. Through this web resource, users will be able to read, browse, and

■■ Priority is given to events taking

search the extensive amount of

place within Ireland, but do let

information that VAI publishes on an

us know if you are taking part

annual basis.

in a significant international

continuation of VAI’s strategy to make


The project is a

as much information about the visual arts available to both the general public

Any change to the Resale Right in France

exhibition opportunities.

relocating to Lódz´ from Limerick,


third largest art market in the world.

through mentoring, programming and

“partly a response to a computer factory

For further information and bookings

The Arthouse studios represent an

will be given to artists and craftspeople

the press release outlines, the show was


groups. The development, costing in

exciting. Every support and assistance

2010 Lódz´ Biennale, in Poland (2010). As


In France, where heirs have long

Arthouse Studios will be lively and

was originally commissioned for the


available for use by local community

of craftsworkers and artists using the

Limerick City Gallery of Art recently


for the venues residency programme –

involvement in the arts. The combination

Kennedy Browne 'How Capital Moves'


animations, video documentation of

How Capital Moves

Kennedy Browne 'How Capital Moves'


Criticism Now

and to researchers.

New Belfast Community Arts

developed from CAF 11 years ago, agreed to partner this development and co-operatively develop a merger process. The maintenance of services to the community arts sector was the primary objective of both organisations. The resulting merger-plan aims to combine the strengths of CAF’s advocacy, lobbying, training and information services with New Belfast’s multidisciplinary workshop programmes and build on the legacy of both. This plan was applied for through the ASOP programme and ACNI have indicated their support through this week’s funding announcement. This newly




maintain and strengthen community arts provision across Northern Ireland and explore and forge new partnerships locally, nationally and internationally. But unfortunately there is a price to be paid. Valued members of staff will now face redundancy. This has been unavoidable and is a deeply regretted consequence of this process. The stark alternative was the loss of all services and staff. In light of the difficulties and challenges of this transition, CAF and New Belfast will be sharing this learning through a series of seminars and publications later in the year. Further information about the merger process will be released in the coming months.


The Visual Artists’ News Sheet

May – June 2011


Irish artists’ documentation is a welcome

new commissions and mini-solo shows

RISE, Belfast


Newly appointed Minister for Arts,

addition to the collection at NIVAL. The

held throughout Dublin. The city’s

Work has started on the biggest public

Engage Art Studios is launched a new

Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs Jimmy

Artist-led Archive is unique among the

landscape will give geographical shape

artwork ever commissioned in Northern

exhibition project beginning April to

Deenihan TD, visited his Department’s

Special Collections in that it is both a

to the exhibition, especially as one of the

Ireland. When completed, Rise will

December of this year. With the generous

offices in Killarney for a series of

reference resource and an ongoing

main purposes of Dublin Contemporary

tower 37.5 metres – or 123 feet – above

assistance of Oliver Niland, his family

meetings and events yesterday, 14 March

artist’s project. The ALA has been

2011 is to interrogate the nexus of

the city’s Broadway roundabout.

and the Arts Council, Engage is

2011. Minister Deenihan started the day

designed to facilitate public access and

culture and society that makes cities like

Construction of the sculpture – by

transforming a disused, ground level

by meeting with key representatives of

to stimulate further contribution to this

Dublin the centre of dynamic growth as

the Nottingham artist Wolfgang Buttress

‘slack space’ on lower Merchant’s Road,

the arts, culture and heritage community

growing collection. NIVAL is delighted

well as systemic breakdown.

– will take around 12 weeks, and is

Galway city centre into The Niland

in County Kerry, to discuss their plans

to provide a home to the ALA and

expected to be completed at the end of


for an arts and culture development plan

encourages all interested parties to visit

for Kerry. He later officially opened an

this important collection.”





Departments offices in Killarney.

June. Work will be undertaken in such a

The new gallery space will provide


way as to keep traffic disruption to a

a much needed venue for Galway’s

Temple Bar Cultural Trust have

minimum, although there may be


DC2011 – initial list of artists

announced a joint-initiative with a

occasional lane closures at off peak

community. The Niland Gallery is a non-

Dublin Contemporary has announced

number of galleries called ‘First



Thursdays Dublin’.

exhibition of artworks from the Great Southern

youthful space





Addressing guests at the opening,

an initial list of participating artists for

Rise is made up of two globes, cast

innovative contemporary artworks and

Minister Deenihan said “we have a

their inaugural event, taking place later

Inspired by First Thursdays carried

in silver and white steel, symbolizing

events. It is run on a voluntary basis, be



this year. The participating artists

out in London, First Thursdays Dublin is

the rising of the sun and new hope for

administered by Engage and will be

reputation and history and I am

include: (Please note: this list is not final.

the name given to gallery spaces opening

Belfast’s future. Rise will appear to rest

open on Fridays and Saturdays from

delighted that we are able to showcase

Current as of March 3, 2011): Nina

their doors after hours and offering an

on a bed of reeds – a reference to the

12pm – 5pm.

celebrated artworks to a much wider

Berman (USA), Tania Bruguera (CUB),

extra chance to see art, culture and

natural heritage of the neighbouring

Future exhibitions include projects

audience here in Killarney. There are

The Bruce High Quality Foundation

events in a number of venues between 6

Bog Meadows. There will be lights at the

by Engage Studio Members, a curatorial

over 20 artworks in the exhibition from

(USA), Fernando Bryce (PER), Chen

– 8pm on the first Thursday of every

end of each ‘reed’ reflecting on the two

project by Limerick’s award winning

notable artists including Daniel O’Neill,

Chieh-Jen (TW), James Coleman (IRL),



Mary Conlon and events during the

Cecil King, Arthur Armstrong and Norah

Dexter Dalwood (GBR), Wang Du (CHN),

The following galleries are now

Over the past few months, the twin

McGuinness to name just a few, which

Omer Fast (ISR), Goldiechiari (ITA),

part of First Thursdays Dublin, with

globes have been manufactured and

information contact: engageartstudios@

are part of the Great Southern Art

Patrick Hamilton (CHI), Jim Lambie

Exchange Dublin; Project Arts Centre ;

part-assembled at the M Hasson and

Collection on loan from the Crawford

(GBR), Richard Mosse (IRL), Brian

Clyne Gallery
; Exchange Dublin

Sons Ltd steelworks in Rasharkin. The

Art Gallery in Cork. This is my first visit

O’Doherty (IRL), Niamh O’Malley (IRL),

Gallery of Photography
; Graphic Studio

actual construction of the globes will


as Minister for Arts to the Killarney

Superflex (DEN), Lisa Yuskavage (USA).

; Monster Truck Gallery &

begin in around two weeks’ time, when

Cork artist, Roseanne Lynch won the 1st







offices of the Department, and is a great

Dublin Contemporary is a new

; NGG / No Grants Gallery

the massive artwork will start to take

Alliance Francaise Photography Award

opportunity for me to meet with staff

large-scale visual art exhibition which

Project Arts Centre
; Temple Bar Gallery

shape on the city’s skyline.

recently in Dublin. The announcement

working here and to engage with key

will take place in Dublin from September

and Studios

members of the arts community from

6 until October 31. It is one of the most

the region. We all share a common

ambitious exhibitions ever staged in


purpose – that of supporting, promoting

Ireland— which describes itseld as "a

and fostering all forms of creativity.

When completed, Rise will be

of this prestigious prize was made at the

visible to the 65,000 people who use the

opening of an exhibition of the four

M1 and Westlink daily, as well as from

finalists work at the Alliance Francaise

The Waterford Healing Arts Trust, based

the air by more than 2.5m passengers

gallery by the Director Claire Bourgeois.

citywide effort that puts Dublin on the

at Waterford Regional Hospital (WRH),

travelling in and out of George Best City

The judges included the photographer

Having this great space brought to life

map as an international art destination.

has announced Maria McKinney as its

Airport every year. For those who cannot

Anthony Haughey and the Director of

with works from the Great Southern Art

Taking place every five years, Dublin

Artist in Residence for 2011. McKinney

wait until it is completed to see what it

the Gallery of Photography, Tanya

Collection is a great creative use of a

Contemporary will create a platform

will be based in the WHAT Centre for

looks like, a model is currently on display


public building. I hope this exhibition

that will become a much-anticipated

Arts in Health from April to October this

in the nearby Park Centre. A time-lapse

Roseanne will receive flights to

will be the start of a great future of

part of the calendar of leading

year. The residency programme enables

camera also is recording the construction,

Paris for a 2 week residency at the Centre

promoting art in public places and

contemporary art exhibitions around

artists to forge closer links with the

and updated images will be posted on a

Culturel Irlandais, a €600 grant from the

making art as accessible as possible to

the world while boldly charting its own

hospital community through direct

regular basis at

Ireland Fund of France, a course at the

the widest audience – we have to

creative course".

engagement of patients in creative


Alliance Francaise to brush up on her

The title and theme of Dublin

remember that art is not exclusive it is for all.”


French before she goes and a one-to-one

Contemporary 2011 is ‘Terrible Beauty—

During the residency, McKinney

Art, Crisis, Change & The Office of Non-


tutorial with Vermillion Design. A

will explore the use of pastimes within

Italian Police and SIAE (Italian Society of

residency at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris is a very valuable part of many


Compliance’. Taken from William Butler

the distinct setting of the hospital. She

Authors and Publishers) have uncovered

The Artist-led Archive (ALA), an

Yeat’s famous poem Easter, 1916, the

plans to engage with the patient

a significant evasion of the artists resale

famous Irish artists’ resumes and will

on-going project and touring exhibition

exhibition’s title borrows from the Irish

population and use the physical

right by a high profile gallery with

allow the artist dedicated time to

by artist and curator Megs Morley has

writer’s seminal response to turn-of-the-

remnants of their solitary activities,

venues in a number of Italian

immerse herself in her work. Rosanne Lynch is an exhibiting

been housed in the National Irish Visual

century political events in Ireland to site

items such as puzzles, newspapers,

cities. According to information released

Arts Library (NIVAL) as part the library’s

art’s underused potential for commenting

magazines, knitting, smoking (or

by SIAE earlier this week, the amount of

artist, a member of the Backwater Artists

Special Collections.

symbolically on the world’s societal,

quitting aids), to make drawings,

resale royalties evaded is considered to

Group and photography lecturer at the

cultural and economic triumphs and

paintings, collages and small scale


sculpture. The outcome will be a body of

The ALA takes a specific focus on materials relating to artist-led initiatives, self-organistaion and collectives in the

The second part of the exhibition’s

visually intricate works that explore the

visual arts in Ireland from the early

title underscores Dublin Contemporary

patients’ experience of distraction within

seventies to the present and houses

2011’s emphasis on art that captures the


extensive and diverse materials including

spirit of the present time, while


early recordings and documentation

introducing the exhibition’s chief

relating to over 75 initiatives. Displayed

organizational engine: The Office of

in handmade archive boxes and a

Non-Compliance. Headed up by Dublin


purpose-designed modular shelving

Contemporary 2011 Lead Curators Jota


system, the ALA is now freely accessible

Castro and Christian Viveros-Fauné, The

congratulations to the five artists who

to researchers 5 days a week through

Office of Non-Compliance will function

were today elected as members of

NIVAL in the NCAD library. NIVAL is a

as a collaborative agency within Dublin

Aosdána, the affiliation of creative artists

public resource and membership of



in Ireland. John Arden, Joseph O’Connor,

NCAD library is not required to access

creative solutions for real or symbolic

John Tuomey, Corban Walker and

the ALA or any of the NIVAL

problems that stretch the bounds of the

Daphne Wright were elected as members


conventional art experience. With works

at the Aosdána General Assembly in the

Commenting on ALA's move to

by more than 60 Irish and international

Royal College of Surgeons.

NIVAL, Donna Romano of NIVAL

artists coming from the five continents,

commented: “This valuable archive of

Dublin Contemporary 2011 will present









be in the region of €500,000. The resale right entitles visual artists to a royalty payment whenever their works are resold on the art market, with certain conditions (which vary from country to country). Among the artists whose works were resold without payment of the resale right are Joan Mirò, Piero Manzoni, Carlo Carrà, Alberto Savinio,



Tancredi, Pierre Alechinsky, Mimmo Rotella, and Georges Mathiu. The Irish Visual Artists Rights Organisation (IVARO) collects resale royalties in Ireland on behalf of it’s members. Commenting on the case Resale Right Manager, Alex Davis, stated that the case should serve as a warning to galleries and other art dealers in Ireland that are not compliant with the Irish resale right regulations.

Crawford College of Art & Design in Cork. The other finalists in the exhibition are Joby Hickey, Doreen Kennedy and Jean Luc Morales. The exhibition continues in Alliance Francaise, 1 Kildare St., Dublin 2 until the 11 May. You can see Roseanne Lynch’s work at

The Visual Artists’ News sheet

May – June 2011



Visual Arts Resources & Activity: Donegal An Active Hub

The Bigger Picture

Locky Morris Polestar Port Roundabout, Letterkenny 2006

DONegAl County Council has been known for its

Looking back there have been many highlights

brave, varied and flexible approach to commissioning

including the commissioning of PoleStar by Locky

public art – and commissions have been both

Morris which was a complicated commission from

The experience of my youth in Co. Donegal has

re-enactment, which took place on the same day,

temporary and permanent, big and small.

and engineering perspective and one that was not

played a huge role in my life and artwork. The home

that of a hunt that James II led (James II was the last

Commissions have been drawn from a range of arts

loved from the start but now has become a much

I grew up in is a house steeped in history and it has

king to hunt in the New Forest in the late 17th

disciplines including visual arts, the performing

treasured iconic landmark for Letterkenny. The

maintained a key position in my art practice. In fact

Century). This re-enactment film was shown at

arts, community arts, literature, architecture,

commissioning of the Oatfield Sweet Factory

it could be argued that I have always made work

ArtSway in the New Forest. The exhibition came

landscape architecture, photography, applied craft,

projects in 2008 / 09 which included The Sweet

related to this house and to the relationship between

back to Ireland last autumn and for my solo show

pyrotechnics, light projection film/animation and

Fantastic by Redmoon Spectacle Company Chicago

landscape, architecture and history. The starting

T ` he Twentieth Of April Sixteen Eighty Nine´ at the


Crawford Municipal gallery in Cork.

Eamon O'Kane 'The House and the Tree' installation view, Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny.

and Abigail O Brien’s Temperance photography

point for a recent body of work was the fact that

New, original artwork, created specifically for

residency, was significant because the resultant

King James II stopped off at the house en route to

My family home also houses art studios and a

the local context has always been encouraged with

works were so imaginative – but also for the fact

the siege of Derry in 1689. The King was welcomed

long established gallery where my siblings and I

some of the commissions have involved active

that this was the first time that the National Roads

by then owner of the house, who had a dining table

(two of whom, David and Matthew, are also artists)

community participation in the making of the

Authority had allowed us to commission a non-

laid under the canopy of a sycamore tree. Later, as

use the invaluable base both for the production,


permanent work.

the monarch’s forces retreated and laid waste to

storage and dissemination of artwork. It has become





http:// offers a comprehensive

When we began Lovely Weather in 2007, it was

houses in the surrounding area, James spared

an exceptionally active hub with international and

documentation of all our commissions to date and

our most ambitious Public Art Project. Specifically

Cavanacor House because he had enjoyed its

national shipments arriving and departing on a

has details of works in progress.

looking at and exploring climate change from the


regular basis. This solid base has proved invaluable


In 2007 I began preparing work for a solo

to me as an artist as it allows me a unique freedom

generic or formulaic approach to commissioning

competition, we commissioned five international

exhibition at the newly built RCC in Letterkenny.

to realize major large-scale projects and the

will not serve every project, therefore a varied and

artists to work in residence in Donegal specifically

'´ The House And The Tree´ included a reconstruction

opportunity to present them to many audiences.

flexible approach to commissioning based on

on climate change. The project partners were the

of an original part of my parent’s house; this part

Collaboration, both within the county, cross

residencies, context specific commissioning and

Regional Cultural Centre and Leonardo OLATS

was demolished half a century ago. This

border and nationally has always been the strength

research and development have been encouraged.


reconstruction housed a film depicting derelict

of the art scene in Donegal. A recent example of this

Donegal County Council recognises that a





Commissioning public art does not mean merely

This was ground breaking and memorable and

vernacular architecture around the county; these

was the very successful collaboration between

providing the public with the most obvious and

culminated in an amazing exhibition and conference

ruined buildings were a result of the migration of

Artlink in Buncrana and Cavanacor Gallery. The

fixed solution, for this would preclude the possibility

although the conference was poorly attended. The


first Irish solo exhibition of world-renowned Czech

of truly innovative art. It involves a process of

Public Art Programme is still busy and still keen to

archive audio recordings of S´ ean-fhocail´.

dialogue and expanding horizons in the sense that

raise the bar and break ground. Working in

The sycamore tree, which the King dined

a stop motion animation workshop for students

people cannot express a desire for that which they

partnership has been a key component and strength

under, had been hit by lightning in 1999. The cut up

from the Northwest Institute of Technology and

have not yet experienced.

of the Public Art Programme over the years. We are

fragments of the tree formed the centrepiece of the

culminated in their films being previewed at The

However the fear of controversy has too often

currently working on a large-scale commission

show along with a large wall drawing of the tree

Foyle Film Festival, Derry. It goes to prove that

been an inhibiting factor in the commissioning

focusing on children and play, commissioning a


hugely ambitious projects can be realised even with

process. The pressure to play it safe, to do what has

bespoke play-space for the little fishing village of

It was a great experience building the

been done before or not to rock the boat can seem

Killybegs in West Donegal. This is a architectural

installation in the fantastic first floor gallery at the

I took up the position of Professor of Visual Art

overwhelming and can impact negatively on the

commission with a budget in the region of ˆ 100,000

centre. The Cultural Centre is a tremendous resource

at The National Academy of the Arts in Bergen,

vision and ambition of a project. Donegal County

and we are delighted to be partnering with the Irish

for the county.

Norway in January and I am currently based here

Council believe that an effective public artwork

Architecture Foundation on the realisation of this.

The project then received support from Culture

and In Odense, Denmark (where I also have a large

does not patronise or placate its public and the

Donegal is also currently in the process of securing

Ireland and The Arts Council of England and has

studio and storage complex) making work for

instantly popular option must be balanced against

funds for the most ambitious project to date in the

developed as it has been shown throughout the UK.

numerous international exhibitions.

the desire to ‘raise the bar’ and the demands of

realisation of a national sculpture park – details on

In Bristol I worked with a local carpenter to

I recently was shortlisted for a major public art

enduring quality, creativity, professionalism and

this will be announced in Autumn 2011.

transform the sycamore tree into a seventeenth-

commission in County Donegal and am greatly

century style table and chairs, similar to those used

enjoying preparing my stage two submission for the

by James II.

project. Should I be successful in the commission I

The film was augmented with

animator Jan Svankmajer provided the backdrop to

limited resources.

value for money. Donegal County Council are proud

I am proud of what the Public Art Office of

of their truly integrated and comprehensive Cultural

Donegal County Council has achieved over its 21

Services Sector and the long standing Public Art

years and I am proud to be part of a local authority

Using the 17th century-style furniture

look forward to spending a lot of time at home

Programme of Donegal County Council is integral

that values art and culture where, even in recession,

produced in Bristol, I directed the staging of a

developing the work. I also plan to spend time this

to this service. In 2007, we established a Public Art

it sees the bigger picture. For further information

re-enactment (by the English Civil War Society) of

summer developing new works for solo shows at

Agency to allow us to share the expertise and

please contact Ms. Terre Duffy, Public Art Manager

the meal James II had under the sycamore tree in

RARE Gallery in New York and The Neues Museum:

support other recipients of the Per Cent for Art


Ireland. This took place at two sites in the New

Staatliches Museum für Kunst und Design in

Forest on the 19th of April almost 320 years to the

Nürnberg, Germany.

Scheme to deliver excellent projects. The Public Art Programme comes of age this year with a 21st Birthday Exhibition and the launch of the new plan in Autumn 2011.

Terre Duffy,

day of the actual event. The furniture was installed

Public Art Manager,

in the gallery space with the video documentation

Donegal County Council

of the re-enactment. This was connected to another

Eamon O’Kane


The Visual Artists’ News Sheet

May – June 2011


Advantages and Contradictions

An Tearmann / The Sanctuary

Body Response System as dance/music improvisation tool. ‘FreePlay’ (silloutte section), Crypt Christ Church, Dublin November 2010. BRS: Maria Coleman, Processed Saxophone: Seán Óg, Contemporary Dance: Niamh Condron.

Sarah Lewtas. Them (detail). Installation at . Centre Cultural Irlandese, Paris.

Sarah Lewtas

Invite image for ' Easter Weeds' exhibition Artworks, Letterkenny

Sarah Lewta's studio.

I live and work here Dunlewey, an isolated and

friends, and I’ve exhibited through these friends.

beautiful location on a hill overlooking Loch na

There’s also been an increase in good quality

Cuing. I came to live here with my partner Ian

exhibition spaces with the opening of the Regional

Gordon, also an artist and our family at the end of

Culture Centre in Letterkenny and locally An

1979. Previously, we lived in London – where we

Gailearai – plus the long-running Cosán Glas

met as art students. The house is a traditional stone

sculpture trail; and the Glebe Gallery with its

built cottage and my studio is a converted cowshed

annual open submission for local artists . All this

attached to the main building by a lean-to

and more, despite the ongoing job losses and

conservatory .

general funding cuts. There is however a palpable

I’m currently working on illustrations for a

sense of anxiety and stress around the practical

children’s story in Irish by Cathal Úi Séarcaigh. This

running and development of all the above

isn’t my usual practice, but he invited me and I liked


the tale, which is based in the locality. I’ve settled on

There are smaller and simpler options. In

a style somewhere between studio Gibli and Hergé’s

April I have a small exhibition in Letterkenny

Adventures of Tintin; and it seems to hold the

entitled ‘Easter Weeds’, comprising work from a

landscape and figures together convincingly.

residency in Georgia two years ago. The venue is a

I work in any medium with a bias towards

shop space and framing business opposite An

three-dimensional work and using anything from

Grianan Theatre, run by Seamus Quinn called Art

clay or plaster to fabric or found materials, I also use

Works. There have been several shows here over

film and photography, printing, bookbinding

the last two years with special collaborations for


Culture Night with film reels projected onto the

I suppose I qualify as a recluse and enjoy my

shop window and seating out on the street. The

isolated environment, working for the most part on

main body of the work is a series of botanical

my own. There are disadvantages to this way of

drawings done over a two-week period in April

working and contradictions. While the peace and

2009 of the weeds growing on a hill opposite the

privacy allows me to concentrate and work without

apartment in Tbilisi where I stayed They seemed

interruption, I do at the end of the day want to draw

to embody the fragile atmosphere of Easter week,

attention to myself and my work. I still don’t feel

overlaid by the oppressive threat of Russian

I’ve fully resolved this dilemma – although there

invasion with tanks rumoured to be stationed a

have been great changes in the art scene here over

few kilometres away. This is the first time they’ve

the years and opportunities have presented

been exhibited in Ireland, I’m making a short film

themselves for exhibitions and residencies, which

to be shown alongside them.

allow for interaction and dialogue.

Another recently opened gallery is the

One of the major changes locally is the Cló

Harbour Gallery in Dunfanaghy, another small

print workshop, with its programme for artist

exhibition space mainly dealing in paintings and

residencies and practical workshops not just in

run by Brent Nokes, a painter himself. There’s also

printing but general art practice; with a new

an artists’ studio and gallery in Creeslough, The

purpose built exhibition space about to open. This

Faymore Gallery shared by my partner Ian Gordon,

has brought artists into the area from all over the

a landscape painter and conceptual artist, (yes

world and created opportunities for the exchange

those two things really can coexist) and Kerstin

of ideas and travel between participating countries.

Gronval a ceramic artist and painter. So typical

As a result of this, I’ve been able to travel and

recession stuff, smaller and less risky but still

exhibit in Wiemar, Paris, Modena and Tbilisi over

something’s happening.

the last few years. Some of the artists who took part in their programmes have become my personal

Sarah Lewtas

Ag lorg ait breá suaimhne fá choinne neád a ullmhú agus clann a thógáil a bhí muid nuair a chuamar go Dún na nGall sé bliain ó shín. (We were looking for a nice peaceful place to build a nest and rear a family when we moved here six years ago). With our nest feathered now, and a wee fledging in our midst, we perch on a remote outcrop, looking out to sea. The views daily confirm it was a good move, even if the wind might blow you back in the door on a bad day. To compound the seclusion, I’ve been monkishly researching a PhD since 2006. This advances the raft of technical skills I gained on the wonderful Music and Media Technology masters in Trinity College Dublin, and marries them to my visual art training from Limerick School of Art and Design. My PhD study is entitled ‘Body Responsive Media Environments’ and I’m based at the Dublin Institute of Technology. The practical output has been the gradual evolution of a multimedia tool I call the Body Response System or BRS. An interface that registers steps and gestures, it allows people to launch or process musical notes, samples, live visuals or videos for instant playback through moving their bodies in free space. In development I ‘play-tested’ the system with various users to inform improvements. Since April last year I have been venturing out to experiment with it in different art settings. Creating opportunities for playful physical engagement is my main interest. Recent activity has included a dance / music improvisation as part of Project Brand New, and my FreePlay event at the DIT Broadcast Gallery and Christchurch Cathedral Crypt – both in Dublin. FreePlay won the inaugural arts@DIT award. In these presentations the BRS gave the dancer’s movements a musical presence, in a two-way musical exchange. The collaborators were Seán Óg, Niamh Condron and Emma Martin. In Donegal, I have joined forces with dramaeducationalist Kate Brown to form Súgradh Arts & Media. Our debut, The Magic Paintbrush, involved play-based improvisational workshops with children, that helped release their inner ‘performer’’ for a subsequent peer-to-peer show. The BRS set a bias for physical activity in the workshops and later functioned as an interactive stage; and the lines between ‘players’ and ‘audience’ were actively blurred throughout. County Arts Officer Traolach Ó Fionnán supported this first run as part of the Bluestacks Festival between Ardara and Ballyshannon. Tá ceangail specialta idir ceol agus an teanga sa cheantair ina bhfuil mé, agus is maith an rúd seo, toisc go bhfuil an dhá rud tabhachtach dom i mo chuid oibire. (There’s a special tie between music and the Irish language in the area I live in, and this is a good thing since the two are important to me in my work.

Music is a large part of my creative output, writing in English and Irish, for the bands Fracas and now Wee Small Gods. Donegal exposure has happened through RnaG’s ‘Ronán Beo’, ‘Oiche Craicáilte’ and slots at the Balor as well as the opening of last year’s Earagail Arts Festival. Since moving to the northwest, The Balor has been a first point of contact in the Donegal arts landscape. As well as a platform for original music, it hosted a ‘play-test’ with the BRS and provided teaching work on a cross-border film project. Coinciding with moving here I’ve started a PhD and a family, and with these occupying my attention, it has been difficult to get a wider sense of the county’s art scene. Donegal is huge and disperse and the topography imposes challenges as to how any such ‘scene’ might develop. The annual Earagail Arts and various outreach projects (through Balor DCA, An Grianán, Artlink etc.) bring a range of arts through my local area at intervals, but otherwise you have to take to the road. In the Rosses and Gweedore, the sea and mountains wind the road round the long way, and houses look scattered randomly, with population ‘centres’ few and far between. The area’s beauty undoubtedly attracts ‘creative-types’ but in the Dungloe area for example, there is a distinct lack of arts infrastructure that might gather them. Forty minutes drive away in Gaoth Dobhair the Páirc Gnó hosts Cló Ceardlann and now Áislann with its upcoming Gaeltacht-focused ‘Ciall’ exhibition. Dedicated arts centres, with purpose built auditoria are ‘i bhfád a shiúil’, however. The Balor is a 50-minute drive and both the RCC and An Grianán are over an hour away, sited together on Port Rd., Letterkenny. The Abbey Centre, Ballyshannon, where I’ve conducted my most recent Donegalbased work, involved a three hour round trip, so perhaps its time to get busy at a more local level! Impressive new community centres in my area offer grassroots resources, and freelancing artists are already making their way. The community-based beginnings of arts bases like the Balor, Artlink, and the Guth Gafa and Tory filmfests, prove that ‘if you build it, people will come’. BanrIonacht, an installation show and multidisciplinary art event organised in St. Mary’s Cathedral Limerick in 1999, has given me ample experience in DIY arts organisation, so with my PhD nearing completion, I’ll soon ‘take to the frontier’, and I have reason to believe that a pioneering spirit can put you in good stead up here. Maria Coleman

The Visual Artists’ News Sheet


May – June 2011


The Stories Buildings Tell

Regional Cultural Centre Letterkenny

Grianan of Aileach Fort, Burt. Photo: Joseph Gallagher

Tuath na Mara, Private House. Photo: MacGabhann Architects

'Painting in the Noughties' Installation view. Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny.

There has been a vibrant visual arts scene in County Donegal in recent decades, founded on the influence of Derek Hill and the Tory Island painters; the proximity of Derry and the Orchard Gallery; and the presence of an art department at Letterkenny IT (no longer in existence). The sector is characterised by a strong network of publicly funded visual arts venues and projects, commercial / non-funded galleries and a fluctuating group of resident and visiting artists. The OPW operated Glebe Gallery goes from strength and has an exceptional programme from May to October each year, An Gailearí has just opened a wonderful new gallery in the Aisleann Centre, Gweedore, and Artlink Buncrana holds innovative exhibitions at Fort Dunree. Cavanacor Gallery Lifford continues its impressive exhibition programme, Ross Gallery has opened in Letterkenny and Made Made photography gallery, Mountcharles is an important addition to the county. There have been a number of significant developments since VAN last featured Donegal in 2005, chief among these is the opening of the new Regional Cultural Centre (RCC) in Letterkenny in July 2007. Donegal County Council’s RCC is a multidisciplinary arts centre with the main emphasis on visual arts. It is a continuation of the former Letterkenny Arts Centre (opened 1995) into a new premises. The RCC has an exceptional 250m2 first floor main gallery, with ceiling level natural light, screed floor and gallery lighting. The building also has a ground floor gallery, ground floor and first floor foyer galleries and workshops that can be used as galleries as required. The RCC and LAC have an impressive track record in commissioning and organising art exhibitions designed to engage with local audiences. A significant number of the exhibitions have been curated by John M Cunningham, who commenced a three-year leave of absence to take up a new post in Australia in January this year. The RCC has organised an extensive exhibition programme that has featured a number of world-class international exhibitions. A number of these have been curated in partnership with the Glebe Galley Churchill, the RCC’s main partner in the annual exhibition programme to coincide with the Earagail Arts Festival. Major exhibitions commissioned and curated by the RCC include – the opening show ‘Painting in the Noughties, 21st Century Abstract Art from Britain and Ireland’ (2007), ‘The Victor Vasarely Retrospective’ (2008), that travelled to Paris, Aix-en-Provence and Pecs Hungary, ‘James Fitzgerald’ (2008), in partnership with the Platsburg Foundation USA. ‘Temperance, Abigail O’Brien’ (2009), part of the Oatfield Project, and subsequently shown in Germany and the RHA Gallery Dublin, and ‘Lovely Weather’ (2110) featuring five international artists / teams on the subject of climate change, were both organised in partnership with the DCC Public Art Programme and funded through the per cert for art scheme. Other major

shows include ‘Modernism, Activism, Bauhaus, Constructivist Tendencies in Hungary 1910 – 1930’ (2009), with the National Galleries Hungary, and ‘Noughties But Nice’ (2010), an Arts Council funded touring exhibition with Limerick City Gallery of Art, Visual Carlow and Solstice Navan. The RCC has also programmed key socially engaged exhibitions – such as ‘The Sweet Fantastic’ (2009), Redmoon Chicago and three local primary schools; 'Landscape and Memory' (2010), Ann Quinn and three cross-border older peoples’ groups; ‘North 55 Borderland’ (2010) and ‘National Travellers Retrospective Exhibition 1985 – 2010’ (2010), in partnership with Blue Drum. Exhibitions featuring the work of local artists – include 'ID Imaging Donegal' with five leading Donegal artist / photographers (in partnership with Public Art) and solo shows by Eamon O’Kane, Paul Rooney, Daniel McGarrigle and Jane Talbot. The exhibition programme has received considerable positive national media coverage. The Irish Times listed the Vasarely exhibition as one of five visual arts highlights in Ireland in 2008, saying that it was “an imaginative and audacious project” and the same paper selected the RCC as one of the Irish visual art highlights of the entire decade, saying that it “is an amazing resource for the county, and has pursued an ambitious exhibition and education programme.” The current show ‘Destination Donegal’ continues to 7 May. It is a spectacular art and social history exhibition specially commissioned by the RCC and funded by Peace 3 on the experiences of immigrants to County Donegal from various countries around the world and continues to 7 May. It is followed by ‘Altered Images’, the Arts Council funded touring exhibition from IMMA and Mayo and South Tipperary County Councils from 17 May – 26 June. The official opening will be held on Friday 13 May 6.30 pm, and everyone is welcome. Accessible, interactive and inclusive in ethos, the exhibition aims to stimulate engagement with the visual arts for the general public and particularly for disabled people. It includes work by seven of Ireland’s leading artists – Amanda Coogan, Abigail O’Brien, Caroline McCarthy, Daphne Wright, Alice Maher, Thomas Brezing and David Creedon. The main RCC show this summer, as part of an extensive Earagail Arts Festival exhibitions programme, is Locky Morris ‘this then’, a mini retrospective of the work of the Derry based artist, combining iconic 1980’s pieces with more recent work. This is an extended version of the exhibition shown in the Golden Thread Belfast in 2010 that received positive reviews in Art Monthly and Artforum. It will run at the RCC from 9 July to 24 September. See for further information. Sean Hannigan, Director Donegal Regional Cultural Centre

St Michaels Church, Creeslough 1971 by Liam McCormick. Photo: Steve Cadman

”There’s a name for every stone about here sir, and a story too.” (Manus in A Gentle Island by Brian Friel) I studied English and History of Art and Architecture in UCD (BA Hons1998) and continued on to study American Literature at UCD (MA Hons1999) specialising in African American Art and Literature. Since graduating I availed of every opportunity to engage in collaborative arts practice. I have been writing on art and architecture for 12 years and when possible manage projects in this field. In 2007 I coordinated and delivered the ‘Two Minds: Art and Architecture’ project in Northern Ireland funded by the Royal Society of Ulster Architects, Arts and Business and ACNI. In 2008 this was followed by ‘Building our Children’s’ Futures,’ that combined architecture, visual art and education in its outreach programme. This I delivered on behalf of PLACE in Belfast. Now in 2011, ‘The Stories Buildings Tell’ is a project I have devised and curated in partnership with Donegal County Council, Donegal County Library and Donegal County Museum, which has been Funded by the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government through its Engaging with Architecture Scheme. The project, which has been running since January and continues until July this year, highlights the importance of memories, language and stories in the perception of buildings and architecture in our collective consciousness. It further broadens my interest in collaborative arts practice and is designed to raise awareness of historic and contemporary architecture in Donegal through an exhibition, seminar, workshops in schools and storytelling in libraries. The project’s aim is to introduce architecture to the public in a unique way via multidisciplinary practices including literature, storytelling, visual arts and photography. It is intended to raise awareness of architecture in children (primarily 9 –11 age group) and adults and draws attention to its importance within our environment, as part of our history and identity. The thematic focus of this initiative is centred on County Donegal, which is regarded worldwide as a place of stunning scenery and rich heritage. Located on the western seaboard of Ireland, the county has varied landscape features, including over 400 km of coastline, wide mountainous areas and rolling lowlands.

Tower Slieve League. Photo: Peter McGroary

There are three main elements to the initiative. I am curating an exhibition featuring important historic and contemporary buildings in Donegal to raise awareness of built heritage in public mind (11 May – 1 June). This will be shown in the Atrium Gallery at the Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey. The exhibition includes photography and architects’ panels. Liam McCormick’s renowned Donegal Churches at Glenties, Desertegney, Burt and Creeslough will be represented courtesy of The Irish Architectural Archive. Featured architects include; McCullough Mulvin Architects, MacGabhann Architects, Caroline Dickson Architects, ARD Ciaran Mackel Architects, Paul Doherty Architects, Dedalus Architecture, Keys and Monaghan Architects, P4McGArchitecture, Coady Partnership and Grafton Architects. It will be held in the Atrium Gallery at Balor Arts Centre from 11 May – 1 June2011. A series of creative and storytelling workshops are being delivered at the Central Library, and the Balor Arts Centre by storyteller Joe Brennan. It is also hoped that an evening of storytelling and reminiscing will be held for older people as part of the Bealtainne Festival in conjunction with the Regional Cultural Centre and Donegal County Council. Workshops in schools are being delivered by myself exploring architecture and stories in Donegal through using photographs of important buildings in Donegal and children’s books exploring buildings as a theme. During April, these schools workshops will be delivered to Ballyraine NS, Letterkenny, Gaelscoil na gCeithre Maistri, Donegal Town and St Mary’s National School, Stranorlar. An interpretative workshop will also be given by architect Eamonn Monaghan, Keys and Monaghan in conjunction with the exhibition to explore various elements of interest. There will be a public tour of Donegal County Museum. Finally there will be a seminar to discuss the historic and contemporary architecture of Donegal. Topics to be discussed include literature’s influence on the built environment and Donegal’s vernacular history, how buildings reflect societal needs and the power of ancient landscape in determining contemporary design. This takes place on Thursday 12 May, 2011 in the Auditorium of the Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal. Marianne O’Kane Boal


The Visual Artists’ News sheet

May – June 2011



Cló Ceardlann Na Gnoc

sePTembeR – DeCembeR 2011 Details of this Autumn / Winter programme available in August 2011 check our e-bulletin and the Print studio at Cló

'Ur 'exhibtion at the Irish Cultural Centre Paris.

Cló is a professionally managed not-for-profit company that acts as a local, regional and national resource for the creation and production of art. Clo’s primary activities are to – ensure that artists have access to affordable, safe, high quality facilities for making their work; provide practical training in the skills of print-making in all media including lithography, etching and digital media; initiate artistic and cultural projects at local, regional, national and international level The last two years have been the most pressurised in the company’s history, we have designed, financed and built – over the period since the downturn – an art centre which extends our existing workshop and which includes an exhibition and performance space, artists’ studios, as well as an extensive new workshop area. The artist in residence house and a ‘living archive’ are in a separate building adjacent to the workshop at Min an Lea and have existed since 2006. In spite of close to zero cash flow since the crash, we have had huge moral support from MacDonald Vagge architects, everyone who works at Cló, all of the artists and workshop participants, as well as our funders, Udaras na Gaeltachta and the Department of Tourism, Sport and Culture, the result of which is that by this summer (June, 2011) we will be able to open our new building and clear our debts – in time for the Cló International summer school. Fotini Kariotaki (Greece) Inge Dunnebier (Germany), lead this years school under the auspices of Samkura (see below) along with Donegal artists, Aoife McGarigle, John Doohan and Heidi Nyguen In terms of my own experience of living and working as an artist in the region, looking back over 12 years, I have had an incredibly positive experience of living and working in Co. Donegal, since migrating to Gortahork from Belfast with Oona Hyland in 1998 (1) . Both of us have managed through thick and thin to combine making Art with and step by step development of the company we founded in 1999 to the point where it is now a fully fledged and independent arts organisation within a national and international context. Clo projects have included Tearmann – which was a 4 year artists carreer development programme which lead to a Diploma in Arts Practise from the Acadamh, the gaelic language mediated annex of NUIG (Unversity College Galway) which is based on the former Industrial estate in Gweedore. (Parc Gno). A total of 36 artists participated in the programme, who now compose a core group of artists who use the workshop on a regular basis.

VAI web site for details. Booking and payment facilities will be available online.

Cló studios and living archive buildings.

Another key project is Ur (meaning ‘fresh’ or ‘new’, refering also to the ancient city in central Asia), in which 14 artists from the Gaeltacht were invited to make new work, which was shown eventually at the Irish Cultural Centre in Paris. (2006) This project is being developed as a key element of Samkura which Clo initiated recently with the support of the EACEA. Other projects we initiated and which we are trying to keep in place are scholarships for artists to attend the workshop or to travel abroad to artist in residence facilities in Georgia (Tbilisi) and Portugal (Benfeita). These include Malartu (with scotland), Trasnu (Georgia) and The Madghie Hughie Eoghan Scholarship. Clo is happiest working in a network and we have links with organisations that include An Chrannog, the Irish language cultural centre in Gweedore, The Frankie Kennedy winter school and the Templebar Trust, Dublin, all of which encourage inter-disciplinary activities, linking contemporary and traditional music with visual and performance art. From this year Clo are working in partnership with An Culturlann, Tomas O Fiach, the Irish language cultural centre on the Falls road in Belfast, which, like Clo, is completing work to a new building and arts centre. This link is particularly significamt as it reconnects us with our starting point and at a crucial point in our development. Samkura is a trans-European art and culture exchange. Samkura (Gaelic, shamróg, Greek, Trifili, Portuguese, Trevo, Armenian, Siri-siri,) is the name for a small earth covering plant, which has a leaf, composed of a stem and three interconnected leaflets. The name in its Georgian language form suggests the image of ìthree ears connected together.î Samkura visualises a cultural constellation of Gaelic, Greek and Portuguese represented by the three leaves or ëearsí, whose stem is represented by Georgia and Armenia. Samkura uses contemporary art as a language of cross-cultural communication. The project is realised through a residential artists exchange programme, a trans-national Forum, workshops, an Exhibition and publication. The project coordinator Cló (Ireland) works with the Junta de Freguesia, Benfieta (Portugal) to provide the support structure for the making of art works in rural and environmentally unique landscapes in Ireland and Portugal. In addition Cló also collaborations with The State Museum of Contemporary Art Thessalonika to support the professional development of SAMKURA through sponsoring an international forum in Armenia and Georgia that will provide the framework for the exhibition, documentation and publication of the project. Ian Joyce Note (1) Ian Joyce founded Cló Ceardlann na gCnoc Teoranta with Oona Hyland in 1999 and directed the project until recently. He is now lead artist of Samkura, a trans-european co-operation project supported by the EACEA with partners in Greece, Portugal, Armenia and Georgia. His latest publication “A t-Am Marfach ina Mairimid” Arlen House illustrates a new colllection of poems by Cathal O’Searcaigh. His video work for Stray Birds, (150th anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore) with Gabriel Rosenstock, Derek Ball, Doiminic Mac Giolla Bhride and Cathal O’Searcaigh will be premiered at the Letterkenny Arts Centre on the 14 May.

Visual Artists Ireland operates a wide range of professional development and education events throughout the year including workshops, peer discussion groups and seminars. 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. We are open and interested in responding to artists groups and other visual art organisations interested in partnering on provision of this programme. contact: Monica Flynn, Education Officer Visual Artists Ireland. 37 Nth, Great George’s St, Dublin 1 T: 01 872 2296 E: Twitter: VisArtsIreland

The Visual Artists’ News Sheet

May – June 2011



Approaching Critical Mass Jason Oakley takes a virtual walk through ONE of the main exhibition spaces for ‘Dublin Contemporary 2011: Terrible Beauty—Art, Crisis, Change & The Office of Non-Compliance’, with the curators Jota Castro and Christian Viveros-Fauné JO: In terms of the fit-out of the spaces, do you have an architect appointed; and have they had any particular ideas, thoughts, and responses to the sites? CVF / JC: Gordon Ryan is our architect. He’s a remarkably bright and perceptive young architect with whom we have a very natural rapport. Our general response to the site is to want to preserve a significant amount of its character and past, which really is quite rich and amazing. Rather than giving the space a more institutional turn—by which we mean, cladding its often gorgeous imperfections within the trappings of a conventional museum building (perfect floors, walls and spot lighting)—what we’re looking to do is to make the space totally exhibition ready, while holding onto its uniqueness. There are white cubes from here to Timbuktu, but not so many spaces like Earlsfort Terrace. Like the Grey Partridge, Earlsfort Terrace should be a protected species. JO: So there is an emphasis on ‘found space’ and presenting the works in quite evocative contexts, that are unmistakably of Dublin, rather than trying to create neutral and generic white cube spaces? CVF / JC: Yes, it would be correct to say that—in some very important instances. It’s equally important to note that there are significant individual works that will of course require more build out. Where that is the case, we certainly wouldn’t expect the art to suffer because of some curatorial blind spot of ours. JO: In terms of the office of non-compliance – was the former academic / education use of the Earlsfort building especially interesting to you?

Earlsfort Terrace – interior view of DC2011 'Critical Mass' venue.

Jason Oakley: Let’s start with a brief overview of the main venues … Christian Viveros-Fauné & Jota Castro: The main venue or venues for Dublin Contemporary 2011 will be sited at Earlsfort Terrace, across the street from our present offices and next to the National Concert Hall. There is a complex of buildings there where we will locate the largest part of the exhibition—this is, of course, in addition to the collaborations we are working on with important public galleries, like the Douglas Hyde and the RHA, and also the public realm projects we’re installing throughout the city. Earlsfort Terrace comprises a complex of buildings we have been referring to as the critical mass site. Leaving aside the socio-dynamic implications of the term—which are incidental—this so-called critical mass site essentially allows us to present a large-scale international exhibition in the middle of Dublin. It turns out that— from the perspective of available space—Dublin has long been biennial ready, even if it didn’t know it. JO: What are the main things that interested you about this space? I’m thinking of the context of it being a space with a former use and identity that lay dormant, un-developed and untouched by the boom years. CVF / JC: One of the great things about what we’ve been calling the critical mass site—namely the former UCD Medical School, the Annex and associated buildings—is that this space or complex of spaces is both totally central and somehow unknown to the vast majority of folks in Dublin. It’s at once directly under everyone’s nose and largely unfamiliar, though there’s a history there that connects the building not only to UCD, but also to an architectural school that was there previously. Also, Earlsfort Terrace is where one of the ROSC shows happened—ROSC ’80. This fact also provides a history for us to tap into

in terms of the space’s importance to the development of Irish Contemporary Art. Lastly, these buildings allow us to engage Dublin from the vantage point of large-scale spaces that we can put our own stamp or character on, and that are not standard issue, conventional white cubes. JO: How much of interest or significant is the legacy of ROSC for you? CVF / JC: This is of great importance to us. ROSC had a great deal of influence on Irish contemporary art—we’re constantly hearing about how important those shows were to people. We certainly want Dublin Contemporary 2011 to be talked about in a similar way in the near future. Aside from putting on a good show, part of our mission is to possibly put on an entertaining, influential show that will hopefully deepen and expand artistic horizons here in Dublin. JO: Have you matched artists – or types of work, to specific spaces within the venues yet? CVF / JC: We’re working on that and certainly expect to be further articulating and detailing the space in terms of specific works and projects. We want to encourage complementariness as much as confrontation among artworks, especially as the architecture of the space in question essentially allows for a series of mini-solo exhibitions scattered throughout three of the building’s floors. JO: How many artists will the venues house? CVF / JC: As many as 70. One thing I can tell you is that we are not suffering from a shortage of space.

CVF / JC: Sure. It’s really hard not to be literally inspired by the place. When Jota and I saw the lecture halls -with their old-time auditorium structure and graffiti carved into the wooden desks—we of course knew that one of them would have to be turned into the Office of NonCompliance. We’re really looking forward to spending a lot of time there. JO: In terms of access to the show, what are the opening hours going to be; and will there be late night openings? CVF / JC: Dublin Contemporary 2011 will be open seven days a week. Each week on selected days, the exhibition will be open late to give visitors a chance to soak up the exhibition and experience after hours programming, which we are presently developing JO: What are your plans for signage and branding of the various sites and venues – subtle and viral; or bold and unmissable? CVF / JC: Honestly, the general tenor of what we’re doing runs far more to the bold than to the subtle. In terms of specifics for graphics and signage, it is going to be simple, effective design that will be neither shy nor obnoxious. JO: Do you envisage Dublin Contemporary to be experienced primarily by walking the city – or using other transport means? CVF / JC: The vast majority of the exhibition will be walkable. We are totally cognisant of the fact that Dublin is very much a walking-city and we want to underscore that special experience. In effect, visitors will be able to see most of Dublin Contemporary 2011 without having to travel great distances, which is great. Additionally, as part of our education programme, there will be a series of specially designed walks and tours throughout the various venues that will emphasize the rich history of the city. Lastly, I should mention that we are also looking to develop a bespoke travel ticket with our transportation partners. This would provide the visitor with even more added value and also make seeing the show much easier still for the public.


The Visual Artists’ News Sheet

May – June 2011


Good from Bad

numerous exhibitions and are part of the annual Culture Night events.

Ciara Peters profiles the aims and achievements OF creative limerick

artists included visual artist John Beattie and Nevan Lehart. The artists

The most recent event added to the programme was a series of artist talks in association with the Limerick School of Art and Design. The are invited to give a talk in Faber Studios and then give tutorials in LSAD the next day. This encourages critical thinking. Raggle Taggle Consortium (4) on Henry Street has also progressed in the same vein as Faber Studios. RTC is both a studio and gallery, and acts as a forum for artists and recent graduates. Since 2009 it has merged from a studio to a project space. Because resources are finite, the spaces are fluid as opposed to being exclusive to members. Projects take precedence over general ongoing work so artists with pressing deadlines will be given priority. However, the space is available again once the project is finished. RTC has hosted a multitude of events. RTC’s first community event was as part of 'C: Inside', where the public and artists took part in a 24-hour drawing marathon. In March they hosted a very successful photography exhibition in conjunction with the Youth Advocate Programme Ireland. Last year they curated and hung an exhibition of third-year’s painting from LSAD, this year they will curate the print

Wickham Street Studios

department’s third-year exhibition. This type of versatility is what keeps studios and galleries like RTC fresh and innovative. And the turnaround of project space helps to inspire other artists in the studio. “You get to see and respond to other people’s ideas. You spur each other on which keeps the creative juices flowing,” noted Alan Crowley of Raggle Taggle Consortium. The most recent additions to the Creative Limerick initiative are Like Studios and Jean Ryan’s gallery, both situated on Thomas Street (5). Jean Ryan an artist, art teacher and writer. He was given the Thomas Street space by Creative Limerick in 2011. The gallery has a glass facade and is on a busy street junction which draws attention to the vibrant art work -which is a far cry from the look of the vacant building before it was given to the artist. For Ryan “Creative Limerick is a positive way to deal with these difficult times,” Faber Studios

It is two years since Creative Limerick launched its ‘Connect to the Grid’ initiative in Limerick to fill vacant shop spaces in the city centre while creating spaces for artists. The questions now are, how successful has it been since it was launched; what are its pressing developments; and has it deviated from its original aim since it was established? Limerick has a reputation for being a creative hub and, of late, artists are beginning to amalgamate into artist-led groups and studios – the most recent of these being Jean Ryan Hakizimana’s gallery and Like Studios. Although Limerick has very successful commercial galleries in the city such as the Limerick City Gallery of Art and the Belltable Arts Centre there was a need for studio based, artist-led groups. At the start, Creative Limerick had four studio spaces and some window displays. The city now boasts eight studio spaces, window displays and a constant array of exhibitions around the city, which leads to positive press for all involved. However, before this initiative was employed, Limerick artists took it in to their own hands to fulfil the demand for such spaces and galleries. It was clear that there was a need for this market in Limerick, and artists were already being self sufficient by setting up their own studios, such as Contact Studios and Limerick Printmakers. However, it is costly to set up a self-sufficient studio and gallery. And with so many unoccupied buildings in the city due to the current economic climate, could they not be put to good use by graduates? This is where the beauty of Creative Limerick comes in. Creative Limerick was established to address a challenge that had been inflicted by the economic downfall – that of vacant buildings. As Maria Croke, Project Manager with Creative Limerick puts it: “This initiative was set up to get us thinking creatively about how we could use our creative capital, graduates and professionals in order to help us tackle the issue of vacancy in the city centre. The initiative is constantly evolving and both the creative artists and landlords are informing this evolution through their input and involvement, this is very welcome as it shows that the scheme is engaging all participants. Creative Limerick attracts people to the city by providing active occupation of vacant units thereby engaging the public in a wide range of artistic endeavour that perhaps they may not have had the opportunity to engage with previously” (1). The space can be used to establish a start up business for artists, to showcase their work or to use the space as a workshop. Initially, artists were only offered a two-month stint in the space when Creative Limerick was set up, however eight studio and gallery spaces are now thriving in the city. This was an unseen development in the initiative, but a welcome one at that.

Like Studios is a working partnership between Steve Maher and

Occupy Space

The first group to be offered a space in 2009 was Wickham Street

Michael O’Brien who are both Graduate BAs in Sculpture and Combined

Studios. Director at Wickham Street Studios Ramon Kassam had finished his MA in Dublin and had returned to Limerick where he put

Media from Limerick School of Art and Design. A soon to be graduate of LSAD Shane Harrington has already secured a position in Like

an ad in VAI for artists to share a house as a studio space. This artist

Studios commencing this May. Like Studios intends to function as a

collective became known as Wickham Street Studios.

studio but wants to make it more open to the public, and are currently

They were offered the gallery space now known as Occupy Space(2)

deciding on a loose programme for the coming months. Commenting

on Thomas Street in 2009. It was initially set up by the 12 members of

on the support of the Creative Limerick Initiative, Maher comments, “It

Wickham Street Studios and ran by them until May of last year. It has

has given me the place to hone my skills as an artist and a professional.

since branched out into an entity of its own. They received a grant from

I have made some great connections through it,” and furthermore “a

Limerick City Council in 2010 and a grant from the Arts Council of

surprising amount of people have been able to make headway for

Ireland in 2011 – due to its increasing success. It is the only space as

themselves through this process and there is the potential for what has

part of Creative Limerick to receive a grant.

been created to be self sustaining,”

Occupy Space, which comprises two vast galleries and a work area

The project has taken on new dimensions since its foundation

has blossomed since it was set up two years ago. It has hosted over 25

two years ago. The most recent development with Creative Limerick

diverse projects and exhibitions from emerging and established artists

has been the introduction of pop up shows. These rotating exhibitions

– both national and international. It hosts seminars, artist talks, and the

take place in vacant buildings around the city. An example of this

'Videogram Limerick' night, as well as live performances and film

recently happened in Ormston House in a vacant building on Patrick

screenings. The glass front to the two gallery spaces faces out on to

Street in Limerick in a launch of an exhibition called ‘Cracked’ by third

Thomas Street, which provokes curiosity from passers-by and from

and fourth year ceramic students from LSAD. It is hoped that these pop

people who would not usually enter a gallery. In this aspect, it is

up shows will be fully incorporated into the scheme. Although

reaching out to a wider audience. Occupy Space now runs an online

Creative Limerick was an initiative born out of the need to fill vacant

publication called Occupy Paper which runs in conjunction with the

spaces due to the recession, it is helping to make the best of a bad


situation while creating a platform for artists.

going about contemporary art that wasn’t here in Limerick before: it

Interested graduates can apply to Creative Limerick through Project Manager Maria Croke at Limerick City Council (6). Applicants can email or can contact Maria

gets a debate going about contemporary art; what it should be and

Croke directly on 061 407325 or via email on

what it can be. That’s something that was missing here in Limerick, but

All quotes were sourced from conversations with: Maria Croke of

I think that it has filled that void,”.

Creative Limerick; Emmet Kierans of Occupy Space; Clive Moloney

According to Emmet Kierans of Occupy Space there is a certain advantage to being part of an artist lead group. “It gets a conversation

Clive Moloney of Faber Studios on Catherine Street also feels that Creative Limerick has helped artists by responding to the demand

and Maire Connole of Faber Studios; Alan Crowley of Raggle Taggle

for space – “I suppose we all would have left if we didn’t have the



Consortium; Stephen Maher of Like Studios and Jean Ryan of Jean Ryan Ciara Peters

studios”. The space is more necessary when it is object based, as it is in Faber Studios. This helps to keep an artist based in Limerick as opposed to moving further a field to find work. Faber Studios was set up in 2009 and acts as a studio and gallery which promotes and facilitates sculpture. As Moloney explains “Faber Studios acts as a platform for critical analysis for contemporary art practice”. There has been a turnaround of members since its inception, with five current members. Maire Connole and two new graduates from Limerick School of Art and Design- Aaran Lawless and Brian O’ Shea have since joined the artist lead group. Faber Studios have hosted

Notes (1) All quotes from conversations with the author. (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

The Visual Artists’ News Sheet


May – June 2011

Art in public

Detail showing the reproduction of Harry Clarke's The Last Hour of the Night 1922

Sean Lynch 'Me Jewel & Darlin' installation view, O'Connell Street, Dublin

Everyday Friction Sean Lynch discusses his project 'Me Jewel & Darlin’ I lived in Dublin in 2008, while I was participating in part IMMA’s artist residency programme. I had never really had the opportunity to be involved with the art scene there, and I had a great time working in the city over seven months. During the course of my residency I decided it would be interesting to explore some histories about the city and make an artwork that would reflect this process. The resulting project, entitled Views of Dublin, was exhibited at the Gallery of Photography later that year and was based upon a series of inter-related events in the city in 1965. John Le Carre’s cold war thriller The Spy Who Came in from the Cold was produced as a film in that year, and a replica of the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie was constructed in Smithfield Market as part of the film’s set. Actor Richard Burton and his wife Elizabeth Taylor stayed at the Gresham Hotel for ten weeks, attracting much attention. Recollections of these events are today still heard around the city, and the Wall replica is often recalled as an unusual oddity of Dublin architecture. My research focused on the aftermath of the Wall’s removal. After the production of the film, Bart Cummins, a local scrap dealer, purchased the set in its entirety. He re-erected a watchtower in front of his yard in Inchicore and appeared on national television as the man with the best-known replica of the Wall. He gradually sold it off in sections. Some of the material was recycled to rebuild Saint Christopher’s School, the first Travellers’ school in Ireland. Situated in Cherry Orchard at the western edge of Dublin, the school was organised and run independently of the Department of Education by civil rights activist Grattan Puxon. The artwork I produced considered the prevailing politics and economics of Dublin of the time – via this transformation from film set to makeshift school; along with the day-to-day realities of the Traveller community agitating for civil rights in 1960s Ireland. A sixteen page publication was produced and freely distributed, a public talk with Puxon occurred, and a gallery presentation featured a collection of images cut out of newspapers of that time and enlarged as digital prints, framed as documentary residue of these events. The process of unearthing, assembling and distributing all this information became an important journey for my practice – specifically in how to understand the complexities of urbanity and Dublin in particular. The artwork’s reception led to an invitation from Dublin City Council to make a public artwork for the city in late 2008. Following this invitation, I worked closely with Ruairi O Cuiv, the city’s public art officer, to see what might be possible within what was a completely open brief. Potential ideas were developed, assessed and shelved over a two-year period. There was no deadline for the production of the piece, and every time I visited the city, I’d do another bit of research and fieldwork, and add my findings to what I had already found. I attempted to set a broad remit for myself to produce a piece that continued my interests into the materiality of the city, which, by

its very nature, is a very extensive and multi-layered topic. One of my favourite haunts in Dublin is the Irish Architectural Archive on Merrion Square. One day, when looking through a publication from 1922 called Dublin of the Future – a proposal for the redevelopment of the city – I came across a reproduction of a drawing by Harry Clarke. Entitled The Last Hour of the Night, Clarke’s biographer Nicola Gordon Bowe best describes it: "The Last Hour of the Night is one of the stranger expressions of his imagination. A bald, emaciated creature swathed in translucent strands of hair-like drapery stoops commandingly in the centre of the picture, cloven toes emerging from stubbly shins, and spindly hands extended on either side. On the left is a montage of Dublin’s finest buildings, all casualties of the Troubles – the Four Courts, above it the Custom House and, on, top, the General Post Office, all encased in flames. On the right of the figure a row of Dublin Georgian town houses stands, fallen into the decay typical of the twentieth-century state of so many of these once proud dwellings. Beneath the houses two policeman watch as children play on the street and weary-looking figures pass by. Above, in the top right hand corner a blazing star in the jet-black sky perhaps heralds some new hope for the city". Impressed, I made a photocopy of the page and it stayed on my desk in Banff, Canada for several months during a residency there in 2009. It began to act as a visual apparition of the flux and disorder of the past and potential futures of Dublin, an allegory for an urban form that is disorganised but recognisable, shifting and uncertain. A plan was gradually formulated: a display case located in the centre of O’Connell Street, that could exist as a place for documents such as Clarke’s drawing to be presented. Such a device would make reference to the many monuments that are present on the street, but instead of commemorating a famous person, time or deed, it would consider more incidental moments and objects through an exhibition programme onsite. It would soak up these minor histories and, very subjectively, breathe them back out again. The title for the project, Me Jewel & Darlin,’ a kind of affectionate slang used in the city, was adopted from Eamonn McThomais’ book of the same name. I enjoyed thinking about the dichotomy of documents as monuments, and monuments as documents, a notion that Foucault talks about in The Archaeology of Knowledge (1), and began plans in summer 2010 to enact a realisation of these ideas. The case was fabricated by metalworker Neil McKenzie, who I’ve worked very closely with on a previous project about the DeLorean car company in Belfast. Together, we decided to make the case from the same grade of stainless steel used in the Spire nearby. Neil worked with assistance from Bushy Park Ironworks in Tallaght. Ruairi O Cuiv sought permissions, permits, insurances and electricity for the case. Structural engineers were consulted. A website was planned, that would disseminate some of the research material relevant to the exhibition

programme. Following a conversation with Isobel Harbison, a curator living in London, I co-ordinated the appearance of The Last Hour of the Night on O’Connell Street to coincide with the opening on January 27 of ‘The Geneva Window,’ the exhibition she had curated for The Lab based on Clarke’s work of the same name. Since the original pen and ink drawing of The Last Hour of the Night is today lost, a version was reproduced to the same size as the original, framed and placed within the display case. A lighting system illuminates the print each evening from dusk. In its siting, the print is intended to make direct reference to its immediate locale. For example, in the bottom left corner of Clarke’s work, he rendered the GPO in flames. In its position on O’Connell Street, one can see this image, while in the shadow of the GPO itself. There is no label or explanatory text inside the case; instead I wanted Clarke’s work to exist as part of the city, without having to justify its presence in the form of an authoritarian museological approach. As many people will remember, the location of Me Jewel and Darlin’ on O’Connell Street is where Eamon O’Doherty’s Anna Livia sculpture was placed. Very soon after its appearance there in 1988, it was christened with the nickname ‘The Floozie in the Jacuzzi.’ The sculpture was removed in 2000 after Dublin City Council decided that its upkeep was too labour-intensive: removing cigarette butts and bus tickets from its fountain, while having to watch soap powder being added to its waters to see it bubble. In placing another artwork there 11 years later, I became aware of the day-to-day usage of my work, and how people might interact with it in what would be perceived as a negative manner. As ever with public commissions, concerns of vandalism are present. Yet, public space is not about consensus, but contestation: complete resolution of an artwork is always challenged by everyday friction and usage. With these considerations in mind, I composed an essay that appears on the project’s website that details public reaction to a series of monuments and artworks in Dublin from 1862 onwards. Much of this research was completed by looking through the newspaper archives at the National Library and at the National Irish Visual Arts Library at NCAD, and features information on the Crampton Memorial, Marta Minujin’s James Joyce Tower, and Richard Serra’s Sean’s Spiral, amongst others. In early April, documentation of a performance by Danny McCarthy on O’Connell Bridge in 1982 involving a hundred whiskey bottles floating in the River Liffey appeared inside the case, and more displays are planned over the case’s lifetime, with further contextual information, interviews and essays to be posted on the website www. Sean Lynch Note (1) Michel Foucault. The Archaeology of Knowledge. First published in 1969, English edition 1972 Routledge. Now available as a ‘Routledge Classic.’


The Visual Artists’ News Sheet

May – June 2011

introducing: critique

Phillip Napier Ballad Number I, 1991/92. Courtesy of the artist/ Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast

Phillip Napier Visual Amenity I (Terror), 2010. and Visual Amenity II (Erebus), 2011. Courtesy the artist / OBG

Phillip Napier Captain Francis Crozier – One Exhibit Museum, 2009. Photo: Courtesy of the artist/ Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast

Critical Critique Later this year the VAN will launch a new reviews section; By way of introduction, we present the winning entry of the OBG / VAI critical writing competition. Alissa Kleist is the winner of the 2011 Ormeau Baths Gallery and Visual Artists Ireland Critical Writing Competition 2011. The OBG / VAI Critical Writing Compitition invited writers to submit reviews of Phillip Napier's exhibition 'Expecting the Terror' at the Ormeau Baths Gallery. The competition was devised to encourage, support and promote critical discussion on the visual arts. In addition to publication in this edition of The VAN, Kleist has been awarded a £300 prize by the Ormeau Baths Gallery. The development of discourse and criticism is an ongoing concern of Visual Artists Ireland, the OBG / VAI compitition was ran as part of our professional development programme. Future VAI projects in this field, include a writing compitition devised in partnership with Dublin City Council Arts Office, details of which can be found in the notice on page 2. In addition, starting with our September / October edition of the Visual Artists News Sheet, we will begin running a regular review section, entitled CRITIQUE., which will comprise of six reviews, published in each edition of the VAN – adding up to 36 reviews annually. The reviews will be commissioned to reflect upon and critique a diversity contemporary Irish visual arts practice.

Philip Napier Expecting the Terror Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast 4 February – 19 March 2011 The first things I notice upon entering the Ormeau Baths Gallery to see the exhibition ‘Expecting the Terror’ by Northern Irish artist Philip Napier, are an overpowering smell of cheap washing-up liquid and an authentic-looking bicycle rickshaw – which is carrying a freezer; on top which is perched a model sailing ship, with masts and rigging; with a dead polar bear in the driver’s seat. It’s an intriguing set of propositions. A text on the rickshaw declares, in a funfair font, that this is the “Captain Francis Crozier one exhibit museum”. Maybe it is an invitation. But I’m hesitant to come too close. The fluorescent lines on the floor around the piece push me in a different direction. In the universal language of symbols, these markings would usually mean danger, do not enter; stay out; forbidden territory. Maybe they act as a particular warning against the bear, which comes alive from time to time, sprayed with artificial snow (hence the smell). Every day between 1pm and 2pm someone climbs into its hide and cycles around the gallery on that rickshaw – something that is at once terrible and hilarious.

On the back wall of the gallery looms a large-format photographic image of a huge container ship – the Maersk Derince. Unlike, HMS Terror, an 18th century vessel commanded by Captain Crozier and famous for its doomed attempt to explore the North West Passage (one of the key reference points of Napier’s show) – this ship won’t get marooned in any ice. Besides the advances in navigational and ship building technology opening up the seas, global warming is diminishing what was once an impassable ice tundra. Pointedly, the image shows Maersk Derince illuminated by the setting sun. A set of car taillights attached to the image, seem perplexing at first. But glowing beautifully, and irresistibly, they serve to underline a sense of a farewell to Western supremacy on the seas. Napier is interested in shifts of power in the past, present and future. In the here and now, power is moving east, everything will soon be made in China –all the containers on the high seas, their contents and indeed the cargo ships carrying them. And artworks too – Napier has fabricated two scaled up model forklift trucks from Chinese plywood – entitled Visual Amenity 1 (Terror) 2010 and Visual Amenity 2 (Rebus) 2011 – and installed in them in the upstairs space at OBG. Crudely constructed, these giants still have sawdust lingering in the edges of their plywood surfaces. In terms of form and shape they represent the real thing; at the same time they are utterly useless, valueless. This is pivotal in Napier’s work, the way we look at things, the heavily pre-established value system ingrained in us through living in a consumerist ‘capitalist-realist’ society. Napier has riddled the show with symbols; visual amenities, ‘things’, a language we can all understand; a vernacular of consumption – because we are all consumers. The exhibition is filled to the brim both metaphorically and physically. Indeed, it seems that perhaps the gallery space is too small to hold all this meaning. Napier admits it was “a bloody difficult space” (1) to work in as an artist. In places the show feels a little crowded, the dual monitors of a work called Sovereign (1995) pressed up against a screen, competing for space with the bear on a rickshaw and the wall-length container ship photograph. Yet there exists a fascinating dialogue between the pieces, which constantly changes. By the time you reach the top galleries you already begin to reconsider the meaning of what you’ve just seen in the ones below. Deciphering all this meaning is not easy. The latter is important; that we do some of the work ourselves. As Napier states, it’s not about the ‘I’ve got it now!’ moment”. (2) ‘Expecting The Terror’ also enigmatically re-introduces Ballad I and Ballad II, two works by Napier made some 20 years ago midTroubles. Before we enter the gallery housing these works, we get a glimpse of the polished dark enamel of a classic British 1980’s executive saloon car, to be more precise, a Jaguar Sovereign 4.2 – which is parked in the middle of the room. Ballad 1 and Ballad 2 both utilise accordions, and the room is filled with the strange laboured breathing

of one these instruments, which has been mechanically automated. In view of the nautical nature of the work downstairs, this space feels like being on a container ship mid-ocean – as creaking sighs and a melancholy whine of the wind fill the gallery. The accordion in Ballad 1 is attached to an image of a smiling Bobby Sands, a populist image plucked straight from a newspaper. Constructed out of wooden nails, you can only make out his likeness from afar, but there is a small plaque to help you out. An electrical cable runs from the battery of the sleek car to the accordion attached to Ballad I. Is it an English machine powering or offering a laboured life-support mechanism for ongoing revolutionary resistance? Although made during a time of a ‘legacy of terror’, Ballad I and Ballad II are re-contextualised in this exhibition in today’s (arguably) post-conflict situation. Turning around from Ballad I you can see the silent Ballad II, a motionless accordion affixed, with the image of Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Marxist theorist, renowned for his theory of cultural hegemony – that the ruling classes maintain and fortify their position through cultural as much as economic and social power. Originally inspired by Napier’s time spent at the English School in Rome in 1991, Ballad II’s depiction of Gramsci and its analogy with the other works in the show is so loaded, and meshes so hermetically with the issues Napier has raised in this exhibition, that unfolding those layers of meaning could fill up a whole publication, let alone this review. Napier places great emphasis on his position as an educator, in a literal and artistic sense – he is head of Sculpture at the National College of Arts and Design in Dublin; and in his practice he sees the artists role as that of an enabler. Napier feels this is a rich, interesting, fertile time for an artist attempting to re-enable culture. After all, if we are all part of this capitalist-realist culture, and consumption is a language we are all familiar with, perhaps the role of the artist is to find ways to create culture out of consumption? The video installation Sovereign recounts the loss of identity and culture that took place when Irish towns and villages were re-named under British rule. Their original Gaelic names were replaced with crude phonetic English translations. This eradicated the original meanings, which were imbued with a sense of geographical or historical significance. Napier feels that “we had been dislocated from our own landscape”(3). Sovereign thus illustrates the powerful effect of re-investing meaning in culture, and overall it is with an awareness of this power that Napier has created and curated the works in his show. He states, “I am not interested in static meaning”(4) In ‘Expecting the Terror’ he seems to play effortlessly with our perception of value. The works in can either be read as individual allegories or as adding up to a grand narrative addressing (at the very least) globalisation, consumption, international trade, emigration and ecology. This is an exhibition loaded with layers; that is political in every sense of the word; both a treat and a trial – and better still, it is bloody hard work. Alissa Kleist Notes 1. In conversation with Director of IMMA Declan McGonagle, Ormeau Baths Gallery, 10th of February 2011 2. Ibid. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid

The Visual Artists’ News Sheet

May – June 2011



Collaborative Installation of 'Give and Take' at Lost Coast Culture Machine, Fort Bragg, Northern California. February 2011. Photo: Tonya McMullan

Gifting Shock

TOnya McMullAn discusses her PROJECt ‘GIVE AND TAKE’ that featured a collaborative process involVing 10 artists from Scotland, Northern Ireland and the USA

Just over a year ago in Barcelona, I spent two weeks with the California based artist Anne Beck (1), when our residencies in the city overlapped. Anne’s practice has frequently involved book-making and mail art projects. She had recently moved to Fort Bragg, a small town 50 miles north of San Francisco and spoke idealistically of setting up a contemporary gallery. A few months after leaving Barcelona I received a surprise email asking for proposals for exhibitions, from the Lost Coast Culture Machine (2) an artist-run culture space, papermaking facility and shop in Fort Bragg, Northern California, focusing on interdisciplinary and sustainable creative practice. I thought of Anne immediately; but also another contact of mine, Paulina Sandberg (3) an artist based in Edinburgh, Scotland with whom I had set up Echo (4) an artist-led initiative. I moved from Edinburgh to Belfast in 2009, and Paulina and myself set up Echo in 2007. Echo has realised a number of projects locally and internationally exhibiting in hotel bedrooms, office blocks along with art galleries engaging in open and participatory work. Since I had re-located to Belfast Paulina and I chatted and idly brainstormed remotely through internet and postal services – sending one another suggestions of films to watch, opportunities and artists to look up. It seemed for me a logical progression to develop a project with these two friends the far side of the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea. I approached Anne and Paulina with the idea of rounding up five artists – forcefully marrying pairs of artist and providing a framework for artists to swap instructions and make new work based on these correspondences. The project was titled ‘Give and Take’ was supported through the Arts Council for Northern Ireland Travel Award. Given the reciprocal nature of the project myself Anne and Paulina agreed it should come full circle landing back in Belfast. PSsquared accepted our proposal to host ‘Give and Take: Part II’. In discussions with Paulina we agreed which artists could be involved by drawing from our recent experiences – Paulina selecting Alexa Hare, Edinburgh based and a co director of the Embassy Gallery (5) in Edinburgh. I approached Acitore Artizone, an artist familiar with collaborative practice; who in 2006 had begun researching emergent

models and theory surrounding public authoring within collaborative practices. The other artist involved was Belfast based Michael Hart – who was also familiar with collaboration, and comes from a printmaking background. In 2010 I worked with Michael on the ‘Printwin’ project organised by The Belfast Print Workshop (6), which matched printmakers with other artists unfamiliar with print in an attempt to introduce the medium to a new audience. Anne coordinated the California side of things approaching Andrew Venell (7), Christine Kesler (8), Dietmar Krumrey (9) and Presley Martin (10) with the idea, a brief discussion amongst the artists led to the matchmaking. Andrew is a multimedia artist whose work incorporates new media, collage, video, interactive narrative, sculpture and performance to highlight the absurdities and anxieties of as he describes – our heavily mediated life. Christine uses paint, drawing collage and found materials – for ‘Give and Take’ at PSsquared, Christine asked for street debris to be posted to her for re-purposing. Dietmar’s practice encompasses mixed media looking at language communication and personal articulation. Presley uses found materials; and his work, mostly sculpture-based has an underlying obsessive and meticulous quality. ‘Give and Take’ in some respects was a gift exchange. Walter Benjamin, in the chapter entitled Fancy Goods in his 1928 publication One-Way Street remarked that “Gifts must affect the receiver to the point of shock.”(11). And indeed when the ten ‘Give and Take’ artists swapped sets of gifted directions given to them by a complete stranger on the other side of the world; the hope was that these would shake and shock us all out of our holding patterns and translate into a fresh approach to art making. On the 8 June 2010 the pairs of artists were introduced virtually and a deadline of 19 July 2010 12 noon GMT was set for the swap, the deadline was in place to ensure artists did not give instructions influenced by those they received. From there artists went ahead and followed the instructions for the next seven months – some seemed to get an easy ride – Presley and Michael for example both offered one another the same task – to go for a walk. A couple of artists choose to ignore completely some of the tasks – I asked Christine Kesler to consider the “weaknesses in her vicinity”

– to which she replied ‘too dark’ and continued on to the next option. Alexa instructed Dietmar to make a mix tape – something he admitted he had never done in his life before. He then went onto constructing a life size figure wrapped completely in the brown tape from five cassette tapes respectively entitled Sessions Presents Summertime Gold/ Mike + The Mechanics/ Praise and Worship: The Highest Place/ Jimmy Ponder; Down Here On the Ground / Yes; Fragile/ Third World/ Hold On to Love; Keith Jarrett. Organ, Hymns, Spheres. This work perfectly complimented the fascination Alexa has in her own practice of music paraphernalia and fetishisation. The results were mixed. Some artists admitted they were totally uninspired by their given instructions – and found it painful to find a common ground for exploration. Others drew great inspiration from the task – and some (including myself) seemed to follow the instructions they set rather than those they received. These realisations only became evident at the artists talks when visitors asked questions about the process. In the middle of the project, we all found it difficult to articulate what was going on and hard to imagine how the show would turn out visually. In hindsight each artists interpretation, deviation and discipline showed how each individuals approach differed and allowed another layer to be revealed in the project. The collaborative installation process and resulting show, became a rich and engaging experience in itself – with unforeseen twists and turns occurring at the last minute. With so many artists involved; and the scale of their work being large, we set about arranging the exhibition to make the best use of the height of the ceiling and in between spaces. This strategy of arrangement was required to respond to Andrews instruction for Paulina, her resulting work – had to face East at the time of exhibition. With so many constraints and considerations to take on board – aside from our attempt to make the show work visually – we had a daunting task before us. Ultimately we found a compromise, a word key to the entire project. Personally, in my view one of the most rewarding exchanges was between Acitore and Anne who each took a generous approach. They set about developing the project and eventually installing the work together when they met for the first time at the LCCM. Anne’s mission was to create an ‘Interactive Location Based Mobile Game Challenge’ for the public. The project is ongoing and comprises of a virtual application about re-imaging the local community and environment. Anne used the public exhibition as a data gathering exercise – allowing visitors to suggest what content they would like to see in the game. The Fort Bragg local authority has since expressed their interest in supporting the project. Acitore received a huge wall chart mind map via post from Anne – hundreds of words and statements connected to one another. Acitore choose a single speech bubble from the mind map “animal human hybrid” – and created a wall-based chart again engaging with visitors to contribute to the chart by drawing their own hybrid animals and attempting to make sense of the statement. Each of their projects shared a sense of being part of a larger work and a surveying procedure that asked the audience to evaluate their ownership and creative potential. ‘The Give and Take’ project is continuing, drawing on the fertile exchanges set up between the participating artists and the public. We all have resolved to regroup in Belfast and have decided on a course of action for ‘Give and Take: Part II” at PSsquared Belfast. Each artist will work individually (none expressing strong desire to repeat the laboured exchanges of Part I) taking the concept of give and take and using one of the strengths of the Lost Coast Culture Machine show – the interactive element. Artists will give something to the gallery and invite visitors to take, Presley will send daily texts into the galleries scrolling display unit, we will host a transatlantic word association game setting up a Skype link with Lost Coast Culture Machine Breeding another element into the project which I hope will gain momentum and develop further. Many of the artists involved were not familiar with collaborative or participatory practices and so this way of working was a venture into new territories. The artists were paired together with a purposeful push to create frictions between their methodologies, practice and personalities. Overall ‘Give and Take’ was by its very design a controlled experiment – exploring how individuals respond to an enforced task and exhibiting how a conglomerate of ideas/inputs can creatively addresses the role of influence/authorship. Tonya McMullan (12) Notes 1. Anne Beck 2. Lost Coast Culture Machine 3. Paulina Sandberg 4. Echo 5. Embassy Gallery 6. Belfast Print Workshop 7. Andrew Venell 8. Christine Kesler 9. Dietmar Krumrey 10. Presley Martin 11. Walter Benjamin In One-Way Street and Other Writings (1978). Fancy Goods, One-Way Street (1928) 12. Tonya McMullan


The Visual Artists' News Sheet

May – June 2011

Art in public

Artur Zmjewski Two Monuments (2009) Video Still

Artur Zmjewski Two Monuments (2009) Video Still

Unabashedly Instrumental Jason Oakley reports on – The ethics of collaboration within socially engaged arts practice – A SEMINAR devised by The Fire Station Artists’ Studios, Dublin and hosted by The National College of Art and Design (11 March 2011). Aesthetics, ethics, participation, collaboration, authorship and power dynamics – whenever art with political aims or some kind of social or community remit is being discussed, this heady brew of concepts is brought to the boil. The most frequent outcome is a simmering divergence of opinions around these ideas; along with anxious hand-wringing about what should, could and can be done, to address the ‘problem’ of highly educated professional artists trying to speak for the disenfranchised and underprivileged groups who are usually the subjects of such projects. What can also percolate is a sense of shame and guilt about how the supposedly ‘empowered’ art world is inconsequential in the face of actual social problems. And so, despite frequently claiming the contrary, contemporary art often has to resign itself to its autonomy – cut off from, ignored and often derided by society at large. This messy and curdled situation was addressed by a seminar on the work of the Polish artist Artur Zmijewski entitled The ethics of collaboration within socially engaged arts practice. The event took place on Friday 11 March and was devised by The Fire Station Artists’ Studios, Dublin and was hosted by NCAD. In 2008 The Fire Station Artists’ Studios commissioned Zmijewski to develop a project in Dublin; and the result was a video work entitled Two Monuments (2009). At the end of last year, this work and another Zmijewski piece, the 20 screen video work Democracies (2009) were shown at the RHA (19 Nov – 22 Dec 2010). Artur Zmijewski’s work stages and records what are often ethically troubling scenarios. He describes his model of working as a ‘social studio’ process, whereby social situations supply the materials and content for the fabrication of his works. The results often make for uncomfortable viewing. His video work 80064 (2004) documented the artist persuading an elderly Auschwitz survivor to have their now faded concentration camp tattoo restored. While the sardonically titled Democracies (2008) presents footage of a head spinning variety of demonstrations, counter demonstrations and other forms of political activism, representing every ideological hue – including a protest against the Israeli occupation in the West bank, a Loyalist parade in Belfast, a re-enactment of the Warsaw Uprising, the funeral of an extreme right wing leader in Austria, and a crowd of German and Turkish football fans. The event at NCAD took the form of a panel discussion and a screening of Two Monuments. The panellists were Dave Beech (UK writer / artist), Dr Aine O’Brien (Director of the Forum on Migration & Communications FOMACS) and Jesse Jones (artist). The chair was Liz Burns (Development Manager, Fire Station Artists’ Studios) who set the basic co-ordinates of the discussion, citing Claire Bishop’s 2006 Artforum article The Social Turn: Collaboration and its Discontents as identifying how contemporary art practices, are increasingly judged in terms of how 'ethical' or participatory they are; rather than by thier aesthetic qualities - be they formal or conceptual. Liz Burns explained how Zmijewski’s practice sought to side step a lot of the conventional baggage associated with ethics and notions of participation in socially engaged practice. Burns pointed to the influence of Professor Grzegorz Kowalski, under whom the artist had studied at Warsaw Art Academy (1990 – 1995). Kowalski’s classes stressed a non-judgemental curiosity, akin to the impartial scientific

detachment of anthropology, rather than working from a position of having a supposedly ‘ethical’ agenda, based on attempting to right wrongs and so on. Burns drew particular attention to Zmijewski’s essay/manifesto The Applied Social Arts (1), in which the artist calls on art to abandon its self-depreciating acceptance of its ‘autonomous’ position; and instead actively pursue a role alongside other reality shapers such as science, politics and even organised religion. Zmijewski outlines in the text, that in order to achieve this goal, art practices should be re-configured as types of algorithms. That is, rationally planned procedures devised and carried out – just as they are in mathematics, computing and other related scientific disciplines – in order to achieve specific goals. This might provoke a sharp intake of breath in some readers. Yes, indeed, Zmijewski’s work suggests that art should become more instrumentalised; and endeavour to be very clear about its modes of operation. It’s only by doing so, Zmijewski argues, that society’s categorisation of the artist – as he puts it as “… an idiot savant of sorts; someone with interesting and important things to say, but no idea how these things came to them or what use to put them to” – can be resisted and countered (2). Unabashed instrumentalism is very apparent in Two Monuments. Zmijewski’s starting point for this work was a specific invitation in 2008 from the Fire Station to address the changing nature of PolishIrish relations and the labour market. At this time the previously booming Irish economy was beginning its decline; and immigrant workforces, from Poland and other Eastern European countries, were feeling the impact. Zmijewski set about contriving a ‘social studio’ situation, whereby these issues – and indeed tensions – could be encouraged to arise. Over a series of visits to Dublin in 2008 and 2009 Zmijewski invited Polish and Irish unemployed men and women to take part in a series of workshops, where they were given the perhaps slightly cynical brief to working together to construct their own workers’ monuments. Two Monuments comprises edited documentation of this fraught process; and shows unemployed Irish and Polish men making one sculpture, while unemployed Irish and Polish women make another. As Liz Burns wrote of the project “while both groups complete their tasks, and make sculpture promoting equality and co-operation between their respective countries, the meta-language within the film suggests a certain inability to communicate and articulate” (3). As a filmmaker herself, Dr Aine O’Brien declared an interest in exploring the complexities and contradictions of social documentary methods, but expressed doubts about how affective Zmijewski’s works were in this regard. O’Brien’s presentation posed some pointed questions. What was to be gained by the separation of aesthetics and ethics in this discussion? Why the defensiveness about the authorship and crafting of these works by the artist? O’Brien saw Two Monuments as a missed opportunity for both unpacking the power relationships between Zmijewski and the Irish and Polish workers; as well as an exploration of the artist’s methodology and motives. In her view, the levels of participation in the work were low; and O’Brien wondered if the participants had any involvement in the editing of the film. In her view the work lacked a real sense of anthropological engagement. However, speculating that the artist

would no doubt enjoy and appreciate the seminar as a ‘social studio’ situation in itself, O’Brien did acknowledge the provocative nature of this work, along with Zmijewski’s eloquence about his practice in his writings. Of course, participation and collaboration shouldn’t necessarily be regarded as somehow virtuous or desirable in themselves, they represented a wide spectrum of possible levels of coercion. David Beech typified the art world’s current obsession with socially engaged work; as an unthinking entreaty for “better, deeper, stronger and more”; seemingly ignorant of the fact that monstrous events require participation and collaboration as much as virtuous ones. Beech wryly noted that totalitarian states are far more ‘participatory’, than liberal democracies. Echoing Zmijewski’s concern about ethics clouding objectivity, Beech argued for a shift from a concern about the rights of the individual; to a more collective ethics of emancipation. As he put it, the liberal notion of the sovereignty of the individual, often did so at the expense of the first person plural. Jesse Jones saw the emphasis placed on the viewer as co-author of meanings in Zmijewski’s work as crucial. Jones saw both the artist and viewer as complicit as both producers and transgressors of ethics. Jones stressed how his work deliberately undercuts any expectations of arriving at a catharsis or resolution. For Jones, Zmijewski’s frustration of this process raised productive problems for the spectator, making us consider and account to our ethical understanding about what might be the fairness or truth of what was being represented. As the commissioner of Two Monuments Liz Burns was able to provide further background information on the project. She explained that the participants were paid for their time; and encouraged to treat their role in the project as a job. As well as this it was made clear to the participants that they would have no role in editing the final work. O’Brien found it problematic that the participants were paid – and wondered exactly what their job description was? Jones and Beech were in agreement that at the very least this offered a critique to the prevailing ethos of ‘soft-capitalism’ whereby so much labour goes unrecognised and un-rewarded, in a culture of increasing volunteerism. Beech conceded that it was possible to look at Two Monuments, and say that Zmijewski had failed to address huge social inequalities. However, his view was that ultimately the power imbalances and ethical dilemmas in the film should be seen as simply reflecting those that exist in the world. Jones likewise argued that Two Monuments was a fiction, a construction; and whatever was lacking in the ethics of the film could only be fixed in lived experience. This seminar offered a thorough exploration of the ethics of Zmijewski’s processes. But what of the aesthetics? Zmijewski’s videos have a deliberately ‘anti-aesthetic’ look – they employ pretty standard, journalistic, utilitarian TV news camera work and editing techniques; attention is focused on content, not form. This stance in itself might have been interesting to explore, particularly with two filmmakers on the panel – Jesse Jones and Dr Aine O’Brien. For example, Jones’ work, while equally as ideologically engaged as Zmijewski’s, utilises a well crafted cinematic approach, employing professional production crews, soundtracks, costumes, locations, casts of actors and other performers etc. It might have been fascinating to compare such a differing – yet nonetheless political – approach with Zmijewski’s work. Nonetheless, a strong conclusion to the discussion could be drawn from David Beech’s declaration that ultimately, the issue of authorship in Zmijewski’s social studio model of practice, was something of a red herring. As Beech put it “culling authors changes nothing, saying everyone is an author changes everything”. In his essay Uncompensated Trauma: On Art, Technique and Division in the publication produced by the Fire Station to accompany Two Monuments, Beech observed that “… there is a rift in the social relations of the work. And it is not a failing. What is clear in Artur Zmijewski’s work is that the universality of the spectator has dissolved, its hegemony dissipated in a world – and an art world – characterised by dissensus, conflict, antagonism and trauma.” (4) In short, any of the issues we might have as viewers with Zmijewski’s practice – be they aesthetic or ethical – can ultimately be read as an urgent call for an end to passive spectatorship, and a shift to real action and engagement in the complexities of the world. Jason Oakley Notes 1. This text first published in 2007 in the left-wing Polish journal Kyytka Polityczna, is reproduced in an English translation the publication of the same name, produced by the Fire Station Artists’ Studios to accompany Zmijewski’s Two Monuments project. 2 From The Applied Social Arts, re-published in English in The Applied Social Arts: Artur Zmijewski. Fire Station Artists’ Studios 2010. The publication can be purchased through projects/publications 3. Liz Burns Introduction. The Applied Social Arts: Artur Zmijewski. Fire Station Artists’ Studios 2010. 4. Dave Beech Uncompensated Trauma: On Art, Technique and Division. The Applied Social Arts: Artur Zmijewski. Fire Station Artists’ Studios 2010.

The Visual Artists' News Sheet


May – June 2011


Sarah Browne Lebensreform in Leitrim. Installation view at 'Commons'

Fiona Woods Is this Common Installation view 'Commons'

Lost in Leitrim Joanne Laws reports on The Leitrim Sculpture Centre exhibition entitled ‘Commons’ They hang the man and flog the woman That steal the goose from off the common, But let the greater villain loose That steals the common from the goose. English folk poem, circa 1764 (1) I have been reading a lot lately about the terms common, commons and commonage. In general usage, these terms refer to resources or spaces, which are collectively owned or shared. Historically the ‘commons’ is synonymous with debates about land ownership – public vs private. The political thinkers Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri (2) have given the term more of a philosophical currency and resonance – the preface of their 2004 text Multitudes: War and Democracy in the age of the Empire, (New York: Penguin Press, 2004) is entitled Life in Common. Here in Ireland, the economic boom divided common lands for private consumption – post-bust many are now considering new ways to re-engage with what we have in ‘common’ – both what connects us to the land and to each other. Between 1 – 25 February 2011 the Leitrim Sculpture Centre presented the exhibition ‘Commons’, which consisted of posters, projected images and texts, displayed in, or otherwise visible from the window spaces of the venue. The show was the culmination of the work of a group of artist-researchers brought together in the LSC – Sarah Browne, Bryonie Reid and Fiona Woods, who had previously worked in association with PS2, Belfast (3), and Rhyzom – a collaborative research network funded by the European Commission (4). PS Squared’s Rhyzom project had comprised an ethnographic exploration of land, culture and place, addressing thematic content such as conflict and contested spaces; cultural production in small border towns; and the concept of ‘rural’ as more than just a counter-part for the urban. ‘Commons’ was an exhibition designed to be experienced from the outside; looking in. As such, ‘Commons’ also invited viewers to reflect upon the context of Manorhamilton’s streetscape – dated, yet somehow resilient – located in the centre of a farming community, amidst small family run businesses. The window became a display space for public information, whilst providing a conceptual threshold between the bustling exterior, and the spacious, white interior – vacant, apart from a structure displaying copies of Sarah Browne’s publication Lebensreform in Leitrim. As darkness fell, the images projected onto the window become luminous, attracting curiosity from drivers and pedestrians as they passed. For ‘Commons’ Fiona Woods presented work from her ongoing Common? Project – which was developed as part of her research during another Rhyzom project – Collection of Minds #1 (5). Employing a kind of mock DIY, zine aesthetic, she produced a series of posters depicting animal / human hybrid figures and signage posing questions such as “Is this common?” Conceptually the works occupy a similar territory to that of the work of Dermot Seymour or Janet Mullarney – Woods’ animals act as metaphors for the human condition, bearing witness to our current Irish predicament. Goats and frogs become symbols of consumption and evolution, promoting a reflection on human excess, and the ecological mismanagement of natural resources. In the window of the Leitrim Sculpture centre, Woods projected photographic documentation of her posters being placed in various locations around the world, from Doonbeg, Co. Clare, to Stockholm, Paris to Japan – the text on each poster was translated into the appropriate language. The window setting echoed Woods’ commitment to creating an interface in her work “between the lifeworld and the institutional site of art” (6). Some of the international poster distribution documented in her LSC windows project, was facilitated by members of the Rhyzom network, for example, Ece Sariyuz put up posters for Woods in her native

Turkey (7). As Rhyzom have stated one of their key aims is to create platforms for “all contributors … to disseminate small amounts of material from other contributors in their own locality”(8). In many ways, Wood’s globalised approach to distribution, of course stresses the local and the everyday. Getting her work fly-posted across the world, allows her work to address the passer-by, posing the question ‘do we have this in common?’ in the broadest of geographical and social senses. Bryonie Reid’s work Inclined to Wander (Part 2), consisted of snippets of projected texts, drawn from written accounts of a number of walks through rural sites, on Coillte owned lands, in north Leitrim. Reid’s contribution to the Rhyzom project was informed by her work as a cultural geographer. Inclined to Wander explored the concept of rural psychogeography (9), and in a wider ethnographic sense, considered how identity is formed via cultural association with imaginings of place. Reid’s work brought to mind the Situationalist ‘dérive’, which Guy Debord defined as “a drift; a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances” (10). Written in a prose, which is vivid and quite poetic, Reid’s narration oscillated between physical description and internal dialogue. She described and named an array of plant life, outlining a botanical landscape that can only be Irish. Her account of one walk concluded with a description of her finding an empty hazelnut shell, with no trace of a hazel tree. In Celtic mythology, Hazel was traditionally the plant of knowledge, its nuts representing all wisdom, enclosed within a protective shell. Reid’s journey through the landscape, down forestry roads which lead to ruined houses, provoked her to think of the Irish cottage as an enduring symbol of ‘Irishness’. Historically, the political promotion of nationalism placed emphasis on the ‘family’ in defining the Irish nation as rural, self-sufficient, moral and wholesome. In observing the way the Coillte plantations have impinged upon the domestic, Reid considered the shift in political priorities and economic power relations, which have impacted so dramatically on the cultural landscape of this terrain. This process, she imagined was “akin to the state swallowing itself ”. Sarah Browne’s work for ‘Commons’ comprised of an installation of copies of her book Lebensreform in Leitrim. The publication was the result of a body of research developed during a residency in Leitrim Sculpture Centre in 2009. Lebensreform was a historical German life reform movement, which promoted a ‘back-to-nature’ lifestyle. Browne’s publication made tentative links between this historical movement, and the influx of migrants to the Northwest of Ireland, with emphasis on escapist ideologies. Lebensreform in Leitrim compiled assorted narratives, personal accounts, poetry and transcripted conversations, which consider the impact and legacy of migrants to the Leitrim area – specifically those people seeking an alternative lifestyle. Leitrim, it seems, became “more like an idea than a place” – a sentiment echoed by novelist DBC Pierre (aka Peter Finlay) when he describes Leitrim as “your own personal Tibet, but with more lakes and craic, and no oppression”. The book describes how those who settled brought with them skills and an ethos for self-sufficiency; many of the personal stories articulated in the book indicate an initial curiosity, and a gradual integration of this knowledge and lifestyle into the existing communities. Ulrich Kocher’s insightful contribution Immigrants: Entrepreneurs of the Future offers an illuminating account of the ‘informal labour’ that immigrants bring to a particular area. While architect Dominic Stevens attests to the fact that “the whole eco-thing has been really important to Leitrim”. Michael Harding’s pages in the book – Modern Moment – chronicle the impact of the migrant population in shaping a new identity for Leitrim, as “an artistic province. A rural bohemia”. Harding also noted how, in light of now defunct development mania that swept the country, Leitrim’s eclectic inhabitants became “the window dressing for speculators”.

Bryonie Reid Inclined to Wander (Part 2) Installation view 'Commons'

Amidst the textual content, Browne’s book presented a range of fascinating visual material, including existing historical images, as well as the artist’s own photographs, that document shifting approaches to architecture and land usage. For example, images of ghost estates were juxtaposed with unconventional self-build housing projects. Underpinning all the imagery is a persistent reference to collective action, resonating in images of buildings which were once hubs of communal recreation, and also evident in land art projects, as well as in the act of protest. A subversive humour also runs through Lebensreform in Leitrim. Illustrations from a 1930’s German Encyclopaedia provide the classification of the accoutrements associated with alternative lifestyles, such as dogs and beards; while the index clusters together topics such as “Caravan, Cheese, Chernobyl, Cinemobile, Cloud appreciation society”. The findings and offerings of these three artists could be regarded as a form of ‘commonage’ in itself, devised from individual practicebased projects as well as the networked processes facilitated by Rhyzom. According to Hardt and Negri’s ideas in Multitudes, ‘common’ is less about the ownership of material goods; the term’s meaning broadens out to include entities such as intellectual commonage, soft knowledge production, and all kinds of localised co-operative structures. As they put it, “the common we share, in fact, is not so much discovered as it is produced” (11). With this notion mind, I asked Browne, Reid and Woods about their thoughts on the role of the ‘artist-researcher’. Sarah Browne’s response considered the perceived hierarchies of knowledge, which especially emerge out of discourse surrounding artsbased inter-disciplinary research. As she put it, “I’m quite ambivalent about the notion of the ‘artist researcher’ as it implies that; a) not all artists are researchers (in my opinion whether you’re making paintings or explicit ‘research projects’ there is a serious and rigorous investigation underway); b) the artist researcher produces a ‘special’ kind of knowledge that is subject to a ‘special’ kind of analysis. Whether that is true or not, I’m never thoroughly convinced by disciplinary arguments. I think they often create unhelpful, competitive kinds of divisions that aren’t reconcilable with the position of genuine attempts at interdisciplinarity.” Bryonie Reid stressed the idea that mutual exchange which occurs when a “tentative, experimental bridge is formed between theory and practice”. Reid felt that such theoretical research could strengthen the visual and “bring intellectual rigour” to the artist’s conceptual framework. Secondly, Reid stressed the importance of enabling the circulation of theoretical research to non-academic audiences via the creative process. As a good concluding note, Fiona Woods considered knowledge production as something quite political, effectively tying up ‘commons’ related issues. Woods stated that “... anyone who has looked at the knowledge economy can see that it is a contemporary form of ‘enclosure’, a way of creating new forms of ‘property’ from which to extract profit. My artistic practice is research in the sense that it is a form of open-ended inquiry, where failure rather than success is the likely, and perhaps more desirable, outcome, where failure, rather than success, is seen as a node for the emergence of possible change.” Joanne Laws Notes 1. Cited in Reclaiming the Commons, David Bollier, Boston Review, 2003 2. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri Multitudes: War and Democracy in the age of the Empire, (New York: Penguin Press, 2004), see preface – Life in Common, pp 6-18 3. PS²= Paragon Studios / project space, is an artist collective and studio space in Belfast. There is a core group of members, as well as associate members who work with the group on specific projects. 4. Trans-Local-Art: Cultural practices within and across provides an overview of framework of the Rhyzom research network. 5. Collection of Minds #1 took place May 2009-October 2010. 6. 7. Previous sites of engagement include bike shelters in Galway during the Tulca festival (6th – 21st November 2010). 8. 9. Psychogeography was a concept developed by the Lettrist International movement, which explored the idea of urbanwandering, defined by Guy Debord (1931 – 1994) in 1955 10. Situationist theorist Guy Debord defined the dérive as “a mode of experimental behaviour linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances.” 11. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, p15. Multitudes: War and Democracy in the age of the Empire, (New York: Penguin Press, 2004)


The Visual Artists’ News Sheet

May – June 2011


Golden Thread Gallery booth, SCOPE New York 2011. Photo: Rebecca Gilbert

Manhattan Microscope Ben Crothers and Rebecca Gilbert (1) Discuss their curation of Golden Thread GallerY’S showing at the 2011 edition of SCOPE art fair in New YORK (2 – 6 MARCH 2011) Over the past 18 months, Golden Thread Gallery has benefited from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Creative Industries Fund, through which the gallery has facilitated the professional development of a select group of artists. During this time, Golden Thread has participated in art fairs including London Art Fair and SCOPE New York. The opportunity for the venue to exhibit at the 2011 SCOPE NY (2 – 6 March 2011), the gallery’s second consecutive showing at the event, marked the completion of the Creative Industries project. We (Ben Crothers and Rebecca Gilbert) got the chance to curate the gallery’s participation at SCOPE NY as part of our internships at Golden Thread, which are designed to be mutually beneficial and are tailored to each individual. Our interests lay in curation and artist representation, which incorporates an element of sales activity. After our involvement with the Golden Threads representation at the London Art Fair (2010 and 2011) and SCOPE NY (2010), we were given the 2011 SCOPE fair as an opportunity to implement the skills we had developed during our time working with the gallery. It was the first opportunity for us to curate, organise, install and work at an art fair without other members of gallery staff. Golden Thread’s participation at SCOPE was funded through both the original fund and money generated throughout the project as a result of the sale of artworks. SCOPE’s support also made the project achievable. After seeing Golden Thread’s exhibit at London Art Fair in January, SCOPE’s Director – Mollie White – was extremely keen to have the gallery participate once again and offered discounted rates. Golden Thread also received generous ACNI support for our project in the form of the use of Arts Council apartment in Queens. Due to the high cost of accommodation in New York, our trip would otherwise have been financially unviable. Our adventure began on a Monday, as we nervously checked-in two rather large suitcases, and one ski bag. Curiously, the woman checking us onto our New York flight asked us if we were going there skiing – last time we checked there were no snowy mountains in downtown Manhattan! Instead, our ski bag housed artworks for display at SCOPE, the largest and most global art fair in the world, at which Golden Thread Gallery would be exhibiting. In selecting artists to bring to SCOPE this year, we looked to two of the gallery’s most exciting emerging artists, Sara Greavu and Allan Hughes. The gallery has worked closely with Allan and Sara for the last 18 months as part of the Creative Industries professional development scheme with four other emerging talents – Lisa Byrne, Victoria J. Dean, Phil Hession and Keith Winter – whose work was exhibited by Golden Thread at SCOPE NY 2010. With both artists recently receiving PhDs from the University of Ulster, Allan and Sara’s practices are hugely different both aesthetically and thematically, but are also strikingly complementary, making them the ideal candidates for our two-person showcase. Allan Hughes is currently based at Orchid Studios, Belfast, and is the recent recipient of an ACNI Major Artist Award. His video installation work explores the production of remediated histories through the deconstruction of post-production processes, and his works usually proceed from research into the sites, documents and apparatus of recorded and remediated histories. His installations have touched on many subjects including Jane Fonda’s Radio Hanoi Broadcasts, the decommissioned British Army listening post at Black Mountain in Belfast, the recording of Patty Hearst’s S.L.A. Communiqués and the erased portions of Richard Nixon’s Watergate Tapes. 2010 saw Allan’s work included in Rencontres Internationales at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Matt Roberts Gallery in London, and KYU in Taiwan, and we hoped for SCOPE to begin another successful year for his practice.

Building on Sara Greavu’s extremely successful showing at London Art Fair in January 2011, we selected her video work Hybrid Halloween to bring with us to New York, accompanied by a related series of photographic prints which continues the video’s narrative. Sara was born in Bluffton, Ohio, but moved to Northern Ireland in 1991 to study Peace and Conflict Studies, before completing her MFA and PhD at the University of Ulster. Sara is a founder of VOID, the artist-led contemporary art space in Derry, and themes explored in her practice include the carnival and the carnivalesque, alternative or aberrant temporality, poly-vocality and hybrid or bricolage art forms. After exhibiting Hybrid Halloween in a well-received solo show in Golden Thread Gallery’s Project Space last September, we felt it was time to expose an international audience to Sara’s fascinating practice. So after a few questionable in-flight meals, and some severe turbulence (both of which do not mix!), we arrived at Newark Airport ready to truly begin our adventure. Newark is certainly no New York, but the Manhattan skyline visible from the airport made us all the more impatient as we waited in the long customs queue. Eventually we collected our luggage, retrieved our ski bag and set off to locate the shuttle bus to Grand Central Station. The first evening was to be spent at a hotel, as our accommodation in Queens wasn’t available for our first night. The hotel was luxurious, so much so that we couldn’t resist enquiring the cost of rooms for the remainder of the week. Fully booked, which is probably for the best, as it would have exceeded both our budgets! With Times Square only a matter of blocks away we ventured there for a good meal and some classic photo opportunities. We have both been to New York before, but the city that never sleeps doesn’t ever seem to lose its appeal, with the bright lights of Time Square as dazzling as always. 2011 marked SCOPE New York’s s first year in its new West Side location, swapping a large pavilion at the Lincoln Centre for an expansive disused warehouse at Pier 40, temporarily renovated to house booths for over sixty art galleries from around the world. Tuesday was our only day to install at SCOPE, so we headed there early in the morning to begin. We arrived in the midst of much construction work (the ‘entrance’ was currently a loading bay a good 6ft from ground level), and it seemed quite unlikely that everything would be in place and ready for the public by the following afternoon. Alexis Hubshman, the president of SCOPE, introduced himself and the rest of the team before we set to work with our pins, bulldog clips, and nails at the ready. Our choice of works resulted in a relatively straightforward installation – apart from the sporadic power cuts, which were resolved quickly and often! – we left on Tuesday evening very pleased with our booth and looking forward to what we hoped would be a very successful week. Now that everything was installed at our booth, we embarked on the next adventure of the day; locating the Arts Council apartment. After a short taxi ride to Queens (and not-so-short taxi journey around several one way streets), we - and our relieved cab driver – found the apartment. After hearing mixed reviews about it we were full of apprehension and nerves as we unlocked the door. It didn’t quite possess the luxury of the previous evening’s accommodation, but it certainly wasn’t as bad as some of the stories we heard before leaving. We picked up some cleaning supplies en route, just in case, and gave the apartment a quick clean before retiring for the night in anticipation of SCOPE’s opening on Wednesday. After being stuck in traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge for quite some time, we arrived at SCOPE in time for a last minute clean up, and to switch on our video works before the mid-afternoon opening. It still seemed unlikely that the rest of the fair would be ready, but it was clear everyone was rushing about with the intent of making sure it was

complete. The VIPs poured in from 3pm, and it was fascinating (and in some cases, ‘interesting’) to experience the New York art crowd. We received an extremely positive response from the audience, all of whom seemed keen to know more about Golden Thread Gallery and the artists’ works. The works we chose to exhibit were unframed; a carefully considered decision which allowed for the works to be transported easily as luggage, rather than being shipped in advance. Again, cost was a factor here, as we were working with a limited budget, but fortunately Allan’s works were still unframed when we selected them, and Sara made a new set of unmounted prints for us to take. For the video works, we sourced video monitors and DVD players through a New York rental company prior to travel, which were delivered directly to our booth at SCOPE. We brought all tools with us, as we were unsure of how convenient it would be to purchase them whilst in New York. And in terms of insurance, Golden Thread holds a museum insurance policy, which covers works nail to nail, including the overseas transportation of artworks. With a successful first day complete, we grabbed a quick bite to eat before heading east to The Blind Barber. The SCOPE team had organised an evening for exhibitors and VIPs to unwind after the opening at this barbershop come bar, and it was a great opportunity for us to meet the other exhibitors and people involved in the New York art scene. Unlike London Art Fair, at which Golden Thread Gallery has exhibited successfully for the last five years, SCOPE had a very ‘projects’ style atmosphere, with a variety of performances and intriguing installations, one of which was a large walk-in fridge from which you were able to take beverages throughout the day. The same gallery exhibited another interactive work, an extremely tiny bar which people were squeezing into for free pints of beer. The official opening party was held on Thursday evening at Angel Orensanz, a disused (and New York’s oldest) synagogue, at which VIPs and exhibitors were again able to socialise. With entertainment from Gang Gang Dance and a variety of dancers performing gymnastics whilst hanging above the crowd, the evening provided another great opportunity to meet and interact with the New York art scene, and broaden our network on an international level. The remainder of the week played out smoothly, with the fair opening from noon to 8pm each day. The crowd was steady for the duration of the fair, becoming particularly busy at the weekend. Allan Hughes’s Jane+Fonda, a series of 13 drawings derived from web-sourced thumbnails of Jane Fonda, proved particularly popular, and a selection of the drawings found new homes with collectors in New York and California. Rather than both of us spending full days at SCOPE, we alternated our time at the booth so that we could take advantage of New York’s most exciting week for lovers of contemporary art. We visited three of the city’s other main art fairs - The Armory Show, VOLTA NY, and Independent - in addition to Manhattan musts the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim. It was certainly a great time to be in the city! The week seemed to fly past, and before long we were taking down the works, which we had hung just a few days earlier. The fair was a great success for Golden Thread Gallery, and as we arranged collection for the works sold during the week, we repacked our trusty ski bag with the remainder of the works to be taken back to Belfast. Everyone was hard at work dismantling, boxing, and wrapping at every booth, but we managed to get everything organised quickly, which allowed us a wellearned break to enjoy our final night in Manhattan. With everything packed and ready for travelling home, we took some time the following day for some last minute shopping before making our way to Grand Central to begin our journey home. After a couple of days to recover from what had been an exhausting yet thoroughly enjoyable trip, we were both back in the gallery following up with the various contacts we met at the fair - press, curators and collectors from around the world. It really was fantastic to see such a positive reaction to the gallery and the works of Allan and Sara, and the opportunity to profile Golden Thread Gallery and all of the artists whom it represents on an international level was an amazing and unforgettable experience for us both. Let’s hope that Golden Thread Gallery has the same opportunity again next year, and that other galleries from the region are encouraged to follow suit. Ben Crothers & Rebecca Gilbert Note 1. Ben Crothers and Rebecca Gilbert are interns at Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast. Rebecca Gilbert began at the gallery in January 2009 before moving to Edinburgh to complete her Masters degree in Contemporary Art Theory, after which she returned to Belfast to resume her internship. Ben Crothers joined the team in September 2009 after completing his MA in Art History and Film Theory at the University of Essex. The two have worked alongside one another on a variety of projects during their time at the gallery, the most recent being SCOPE New York. This art fair provided the opportunity for both interns to organise and implement a project on an international scale, through which they have been able to expand their network and develop their careers in the Arts.

The Visual Artists' News Sheet

May – June 2011

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hands-on and participate in

Affordable spaces at Jamestown



notes here before emailing

applicants accepted)

making IMOCA function. This

Several studio spaces are

Bernard: 086 1506650

expressions of interest and


allows internship candidates to


samples of their written work to

+353(0)1 222 7843

participate in all aspects of

Jamestown studios Inchicore,


Thursday 12 May 2011 at 12

Jason Oakley, editor of the Visual

running a non-governmental

Dublin 8. The rent of these

Artist’s studio space available in


Artists News Sheet. Closing date

Workshop Tutors



purpose built artist’s studios

Bridge Street Studios, Dundalk,

I am looking for one sculptor,

have been averaged out at E20

Co.Louth. The space is in an old 4

Picture Works

Friday 6 May 2011

one print maker, and one painter

administrative, clerical, accounting & legal duties
; Grant

per week for two people sharing

story, stone grain store. We have

This is the 3rd year of the Picture



and sponsorship research and

(E160 pm) this rate includes

central heating, 16cubic ft

Works annual art competition.


experience a distinct advantage,)


private and secure parking,

electric kiln, a slab roller,

to design and run two consecutive

promotions and Public Relations;



Saturday morning practical (2 x

Contextual art-field research,

communal kitchen, communal









The competition is open to all








€50 per week.Internet available.

enterprises and artists already in

available in Galway city centre.








and is free to enter. 1st prize is a

AC Touring Scheme

cheque for E500 as well as a City



2.5 hour) workshops each in



social area and 16GB broadband

gallery space, class/workshop

Card campaign worth over

implementation of its Touring

Dublin 2, from September. Total

; Artist liaising and

connection. In the interest of

E9,000 and and i-Site campaign

Policy, the Arts Council is further

of 5 hours work per tutor. Fee 250

; Project management


space and very reasonable rent. The studios have 24 hour access,

worth over E16,000.

developing a scheme to support

euro. Please send workshop

and execution
; Technical and

atmosphere in the studios, it is


City Cards are the free postcards

the touring and dissemination of

outline for the 5 hours, samples

trade skills

hoped that the artists would


you see in cafes and bars across

work in a broad range of

of your work, CV and cover letter

Internships can be designed

utilise the space for 30 hours per

exhibitions. Short term lease

Ireland. We have 300 racks and


around a specific set of practices

Following on from the 2010

or duties for a specified duration,

week or more. 86 Jamestown Road, Inchicore, Dublin 8


the winner will get 50,000

to: Email

postcards of their winning image

scheme, which offered c. E1m in

or attached to a specific project



printed and distributed across

support of tours taking place

for which that the intern will act


Ireland. i-Sites are A1 poster sites

throughout 2011, the initiative is

Internship at Cake

as an assistant project coordinator


Telephone 042 9351217 / 087 7464730

in pub across Ireland and we

now being extended. Each year,

Cake Contemporary Arts is

from start to finish.


have 1000 of them. The prize will





provide great exposure to the

applications will be received on

number of upcoming internships.

086 3961524


winning artist.

two deadlines falling in April/

This will provide experience in



Second prize will be chosen from

May and October. Building on



a shortlist of 11 runners-up. The

the audience focused approach

administration, including clerical

images will be put online and the

that characterises the Touring


public will vote for their

Policy, the expanded scheme is

promotions and public relations,

favourite. The winner will also

designed to support genuine

receive a City Card campaign of 50,000 postcards as well as an







following accounting,



fields; marketing,





facilities We







Exhibition Space, Kilkenny STUDIOS/SPACES Studios / spaces

Seeking Dublin Studio

Meubles Cafe, located at Meubles

Seeking a studio space from early


artist liaising and technical


May onwards, for at least a year.

exhibition space for durations of

collaboration between those

support and exhibition and

Engage Art Studios has put out

Dublin city centre, preferably

up to 3 months for visual artists

who produce work and wish to

programme management. Cake


Dublin 2, 4, 6, or 8. Willing to

(all media considered) to display

i-Site campaign of their winning

tour and the presenting venue or

is dedicated to providing a

Membership applications.

share. Maximum rent per month

their work. Our cafe is extremely


local promoter.

platform and open forum for

Engage Art Studios is an artist-

is E200. Broadband preferable

popular locally, while we draw a

Only one entry per person is permitted.

The deadline for Round 1 of the

contemporary artists. It supports

run studio space in Galway city

but not essential. Flexible on

customer base from around the

2011 Medium Term Planning

professional artists practicing in

centre. Founded in 2004, Engage

country who require high quality


strand of the scheme, primarily

the area of Visual Arts, Film, Live

21 June 2011, 12 noon.

intended to contribute towards

Art, New Media Art and Literature

supports contemporary artists in a professional environment.

studio size. Email

Interested artists should contact


the costs of tours planned to be

through a variety of initiatives,

Engage provides an atmosphere

on the road during the period

including a year round exhibition


August 2011 – June 2012, is


inspiration and opportunity for












furniture and interiors.

Sally Aughney or Emily Miller for more information.

The Visual Artists’ News Sheet


May – June 2011

opportunities Telephone

festival. There is no fee to propose


056 7722034

a project for the festival, however


will produce DVD catalogue

through its doors.




work must be critical and

The Blackbird Gallery invites

Via Firenze, Bray

Winners and finalists are

provided by 1 copy) and will

two emerging artists each year to


Calling all artists working in any


published in the Aesthetica

ensure the security during

participate in its annual Arts

and all materials, media, styles,



Creative Works Annual.

exhibition period. Participants

Festival show. This year Valerie

genres, themes and concepts to


for first call: 5 May 2011 Contact

of each category receive £500

will take care on transportation

Walshe owner and curator of the

submit proposals for our 2011


of the pieces both sides.

gallery has decided to make an



Deepa and Trenton

Entry to the Creative

The results of the jury will be

open submission to all Irish

Submissions are welcome from



Works Competition is £10.

announced on 15 July 2011

based artists. The artists chosen

entry fee allows the submission

(answer will be sent to you by

will be exhibited alongside some

new and emerging artists as well as established artists. There will


of 2 images, 2 poems or 2 short

e-mail). The selected artworks

of the very best artists in the

be a non-returnable submission

c o o r d i n a t o r s @


will have to be sent to the Textile


fee of E10 per submission. If

More guidelines on

Guild office by 15 August 2011.

If you are an emerging artist and

selected to exhibit there will be a

submit can be found online at


charge of E50 per week, this fee

would like to apply please send a CV, artist’s statement
and a selection of images to info@

the catalogue and invitations.

We take 20% commission on


work sold during the exhibition.

The gallery is located in a well

Enniskerry Opportunity



craftspersons to share studio/ workshop/exhibition space over








how to




existing gallery in the picturesque

Print Biennale 2011

village of Enniskerry. Light filled

The 2011 Print Awards is an open


space with belfast sink ideal for

submission prize for British and


running small painting/craft

international printmakers which

21 August 2011

based workshops. Would also

encourages a broad spectrum of

suit collective or group of artists

artists to gain exposure and

Kaunas Textile Biennial

Calling all artists – Creative

looking for exhibition space.

exhibit with other leading artists


festival proposals wanted for

Market Place Arts


in their field. The 2011 Print

Period: 15 September – 4

Body & Soul.

Submissions are invited from

Street in Bray. Email

086 6500757 Web

Awards is the centrepiece of the

December 2011 (official opening

The art and creativity flourishing

artists for exhibitions for the


will be held during Biennial

within Body & Soul grows from

venue’s gallery and its foyer walls




strength to strength each year.

with dates available from January

DSNT Music & Arts

The 2011 Print Awards are open

Textile Artists’ Guild, gallery

We invite you to create in a way


DSNT Music & Arts Festival, 16


to all artists whose work



that encourages people to look,

should consist of: artist’s CV,

July 2011 – Call for artists

encounters print. Works in any



listen, explore and interact. It’s

exhibition proposal [max 200

DSNT Music & Arts Festival


medium will be considered and

time to pour our dreams and

words], samples of work on CD


The 2011 Aesthetica Creative

is not restricted to 2 or 3

Dissemination: through all channels of biennial promotion,

aspirations into exciting projects,

[max 10 images], details regarding

Festival) are looking for visual &

Works Competition is now open

dimensional works.

pages in common biennial

to both inspire and be inspired.

medium, size and technical

performance artists to participate

for entries. Aesthetica Magazine

A panel of eminent artists,

catalogue and separate DVD

Be they big or small, simple or

requirements, current contact

and create work at our festival,



printmakers and curators will

Lab: During exhibition

complex, cosmic or comical,

details, SAE for return of

we have a limited enough budget

photographers, writers and poets

select approximately 40 artists to

period several workshops will be

organic or electronic – we look

materials. Submissions for solo

but I’m very keen to hear peoples’

to submit their work into the

exhibit across major venues in


forward to your proposals with



ideas and suggestions and will be

Creative Works Competition.



bated breath, as do the people

welcomed. All submissions will

very flexible in trying to facilitate

Now in its fourth year, the

Exhibitions of the selected works

The biennial partner – The

who spend their weekend in awe

be assessed by a selection panel.

anything that will fit well with

competition is dedicated to

will be shown at the Hatton

Textile Artists’ Guild – is

of your work!

Details of the Market Place

the festival.

celebrating and championing

Gallery, Laing Art Gallery and



Last years proposals included

Gallery (including floorplan) can

The line-up for this festival will




participation at the project

giant kaleidoscopes, hanging

be downloaded from www.

be a lot more diverse than the

disciplines and welcomes entries

September to 19 November

Experiments with Light: Art Lab.

moss pods, a stunning Goddess

last time and it would great to

from poets and writers as well as


The brand new Kaunas arena’

sculpture, beautiful gardens,



expand the creative/visual aspect

artists working in any medium,

Artists are asked to submit a

media centre will become the

creative willow fencing, a giant

McEneaney, The Market Place

to reflect a wide spectrum of

including sculpture, textiles,

current CV, Artist’s statement

place for international exhibition

elk complete with his own

Gallery, Market Street, Armagh

different visual/performances

photography, ceramics, paint,

and a maximum of 10 images.

which exhibits will be installed

knitted jumper, video and sound

BT61 7BW.

through out the day. One of the

digital art and more.

Entry fee is GBP25 or E30.

in the darkness and lightened by

installations, a surreal house of

ideas is to set up a wall of visual

The Competition has three


black light bulbs which spotlight

lost toys, a 100 metre long

Telephone 028 3752 1820


6 June 2011 Email

luminescent details of the art




pieces and thus enrich the

suspended in the tree tops, giant

j i l l . m c e n e a n e y @

showing different video pieces,









Photography, Poetry and Fiction.
Winners and finalists are






IRELAND ireland Body & Soul Kaunas











will go towards PR, marketing,

established jewellers on the Main








pieces in one of the areas with television



w w w. p a r k e r h a r r i s . c o . u k /

aesthetic experiences of the

lanterns and more. So, whatever

through out the day, this is just

published in the Aesthetica


visitors by mystical effects and

your idea; whether it be hanging,

Closing Date

one of the suggestions though

Creative Works Annual.


unexpected approaches. Since

Friday 17 June 2011

we are keen on hearing any other

of each category receive £500


2006 several editions of Black

planted or floating we would like to hear from you.
Please apply


+44 (0)1372 462 190 Contact

Light exhibition, organised by

online using the application

Belfast Photo Festival

trying to make them happen.

Entry to the Creative

the Textile Artists’ Guild, were

process in the Get Involved

We are now accepting entries for

Another thing we’re considering

Works Competition is £10.

Parker Harris

held in Lithuania, Germany,

section of our website.

the Belfast Photo Festival’s 2011

is doing an hour of short films,

entry fee allows the submission


Poland, Belarus, Czech Republic,


Open Submission Exhibition.

playing in the Mandela hall itself.

of 2 images, 2 poems or 2 short

and all of them became known

Body & Soul Festival, Ballinlough

The submission theme is left

All these are just suggestions




ideas and very open minded in

as most visited exhibitions of the

Castle, Co. Westmeath

open and being keen to support

though and we would be keen on




all disciplines of photographic

people doing installations and

31 August 2011

The 2011 Aesthetica Creative

Conditions for participation:

Telephone 0851476244

practice, we encourage entries

will try to facilitate these as


Works Competition is now open

Proposed artworks (wall or space


from professionals, students and

much as possible and as much as

for entries. Aesthetica Magazine

pieces, objects, etc) should be


the venue will let us.





made using luminescent treads,


Alongside opportunities to gain

The festival itself will take place

photographers, writers and poets

materials or dyes, which reflect

significant exposure in both

in the Students Union in Queens

Not A Gateway

to submit their work into the

the black lighting.

Belfast and Derry City, many of

with a current total of 5 areas,

This Is Not A Gateway is an

Creative Works Competition.

Please send the proposals to

Blackbird Gallery

those selected to exhibit will be

with different music in each

independent organisation that

Now in its fourth year, the

Textile Artists’ Guild team by 1

Call for submissions for the

awarded a published book of

room covering what we hope to

brings together critically engaged

competition is dedicated to


Kilkenny Arts Festival 2011

their work, courtesy of the photo

be a complete spectrum of music.

individuals interested in ideas

celebrating and championing

show at the Blackbird Gallery.

book company Blurb. Entry fee

We’re working on an acoustic

related to cities, including visual


Download the application form


for submissions: £7 per body of

area out in the smoking area as



disciplines and welcomes entries


considered one of the best

work (2 – 6 images)

well but we’re still to get the go

submissions for its 4th annual

from poets and writers as well as

The organizer will provide

galleries in the country having

For full details and terms &

ahead for this so at this point we

festival (23 – 25 September 2011,

artists working in any medium,

equipment and technical help

had the very best of Irish and

conditions, visit the festival

have 5 spaces to work with.

London). Proposals are welcome

including sculpture, textiles,



international artists such as


We’re keen on trying to expose

from anybody whose point of

photography, ceramics, paint,





Dorthy Cross, Louis Le Brocquy,

people to a wide variety of

reference is ‘the city’. There is no

digital art and more.






different creative disciplines as

fee to propose a project for the

The Competition has three

Lithuanian and European media,

1 June 2011

we think that it’s good for people



















O’Donoghue for example pass

The Visual Artists' News Sheet

May – June 2011


opportunities that wouldn’t be your average

Anniversary of the Crafts Council

two days at Dublin Castle and

and student initiatives.


Landscape Images

gallery attendee to experience a

of Ireland and will be celebrated

the Crafts Council of Ireland are

Fee: E150 Earlybird: E110 –

Ciara Timlin

Trevor Geoghegan Landscape


through a diverse range of

honoured that President Mary

(available only before 31 May




dynamic events to showcase the

McAleese Patron for Year of Craft


01 6612558


If anyone has any ideas or

very best of craft made on the

2011, has confirmed that she will




suggestions and would like to get

island of Ireland.

address conference delegates.

21 – 23 May 2011, 10am

involved creatively or just help

We would like to invite all craft




– 4pm.

out Email

workers both living and working

immediately from the European

A drawing and painting course

General Assembly of the World

Hustings Belfast

in Co Clare or from Co Clare to take part in this exhibition. The

Crafts Council, also being held in


Courses at Cló, Donegal

Newtownbarry House working


exhibition will be independently

Dublin Castle on the day before

Tuesday 19 April 2011,

Cló Ceardlann in Letterkenny

from the landscape in various

curated. All craft forms will be

(8 June 2011).

9:30am – 12:00pm
The Baby

have a range of courses available

media. The course aims to study




Grand, Grand Opera House,

over the coming months. For full


Block T

The initial submission should




details on courses, including

picturesque to the fundamental

Block T are launching their

include an artist’s statement

renowned potter and author of

Audiences NI, Arts & Business

prices, and to book a place, see

shape and format ot the land

gallery space this April and are

about the proposed work, and 2

‘The Hare With Amber Eyes’ and

and Voluntary Arts Ireland are

contact details below.

itself. The Group will be brought

currently seeking submissions

high res. Images of work to be

Leonardo Bonanni, who teaches

hosting a hustings event to

to a new location each day to

from individual artists or groups

selected. This is open to emerging

the ‘Future Craft’ programme at

provide the culture, arts and

16 & 20 April 2011 – Etching Club Open Days
9 & 10 July 2011

for their 2011 Spring/Summer

and established craft/applied art artists. In anticipation of a large

MIT, and is a world leader in

creative industries sector with

- Photo-Etching with Aoife Mc

sites. The practice of information

sustainable design of products

the opportunity to question MLA

11 – 15 July 2011 –

gathering via the sketchbook,

Successful proposals will be invited to rent the space. The

number of entries a short-listing



candidates from across the

Children’s Summer School with

notebook, camera and memory,

of entries will apply. If you



political spectrum on the subject

John Doohan
16 & 17 July 2011

for use in the studio at a later

rent of the space is subsidised by

require return of images please


- Stone Lithography with Aoife

date will be explored. All students

Block T in order to keep the space

submit S.A.E.

exhibitions of work across

of their manifestos. Chair: Marie-Louise Muir

Mc Garrigle
23 & 24 July 2011 –

will be taught to work in a logical

as affordable as possible. Those

Closing date

Dublin by Irish and European

Speaker: Declan McGonagle

Landscape Painting with Heidi

manner, taking the work step by

who are interested are asked to

6 May 2011

makers and will include a range

The event is open to organisations

1 – 5 August 2011 –

step, keeping control of their

send in a full, detailed proposal,


of cultural activities for visiting

and individuals involved in

Children’s Art Workshop with

ideas until a painting has been

bio and statement, along with

Sinead Cahill, Glór, Causeway

delegates. Early Bird Rate: E30



Fotini Kariotaki
5 – 7 August

brought to a conclusion. The use

images or video of work,

(First 40 people). Standard Rate: E60
Register online here.

industries in Northern Ireland

2011 – Photo Workshop with

of studios both in drawing and in

preferred date and exhibition

Link, Ennis, Co. Clare Email

and will provide the sector with

Ingo Dunnebier
5 – 7 August

painting will be explained. The

length. Submissions should be








sent to Grace or Ben Email Please write ’Submissions Spring/ Summer 2011 in the subject box.


/ lectures






chains. will










study from various motifs and


2011 – In and Outdoor Art with

aim of the course will be for

Fotini Kariotaki
13 & 14 August

students to both learn from the

PARADOX the Fine Art European

represent them and get the

2011 - Art with Fotini Kariotaki

landscape and enjoy it for its

Forum is pleased to announce

chance to hear them set out why


own sake and to complete a

the third Biennial Conference
‘Outside In – The

they deserve to be voted in.


number of finished works.


Cost: €225 with lunch

+353 (0) 74 91 62800





Permeable Art School’
9 & 10 Health & Illness

September 2011

Barry McElduff (Sinn Fein),


053 93 76383/ 087 1227846

The National Centre for Arts and

Hosted by CIT Crawford College

Stephen Farry (Alliance) and


Mark Finlay (UUP)

Health are hosting a major


international conference, to be

Keynote Speaker: Lewis

If you have a question you would

invites submissions from artists

held on 15 & 16 June 2011 at the

Biggs, Director of the Liverpool

like to put to the panel please

HUWS Masterclass




forward it to us in advance. We

‘Works, Intent and Purpose’ with



candidates who are seeking to

Dunamaise Arts Centre



European Forum

The Dunamaise Arts Centre its


of 3 days on location at




Confirmed to attend the event so far are:
Declan O’Loan (SDLP),











exhibition, ‘Level’, running 17

conference, entitled Narratives

‘Outside In – The Permeable Art

aim to ensure as many popular

Bethan Huws (UK)
20 & 21 May

MA Art in Public

June – 30 July 2011. Artists

of Health and Illness across the

School’ aims to explore whether

questions as possible are included

2011 Firestation Artists Studios,

The MA Art in Public has evolved

working in all mediums are

Lifespan is among the celebratory

the contemporary Art School

in the Chair’s briefing. If your


from current complex concerns

invited to submit work for



remains an institution that

question is not covered, there

“Piss off I’m a fountain!” (Word

for the role of art / artists in a

selection by guest curator

Tercentenary Celebrations of the

reaches out and influences the

will also be a period for open

2003) an abusive notice board

changing society. Whilst the MA

Bernadette Madden. Applications,

Trinity College Dublin Medical

cultural landscape that surrounds

questions at the end of the

proclaims in white plastic letters

focuses on a wide set of contexts,

including artist’s CV, CD with

School and is sponsored by the

it and the effectiveness of the

session. Follow #artshustingsni

on a black background. Are these

it is based in and responds to

image(s) and hardcopy images of

Meath Foundation.

reciprocity by which society

for news and updates.

offensive words, words of an

Belfast, where engaged art

proposed work (& a stamped



infiltrates and influences the Art

To book your place at the event

offended ornament that may

practices have been developed in

addressed envelope if return of

conference will celebrate the

School. The conference will be

have been mistaken as a urinal?

various “contested spaces” for

materials is required) should be

vitality of the arts and health

organised around 4 discussion

or register your questions please contact

Or are they an angry reaction of a

many years.

posted to the address below.

programme at AMNCH and

Spaces are limited and will be

readymade that has not been

The programme seeks to develop


beyond, as well as featuring

strands. Discipline Discussion Groups

allocated on a first come, first

identified correctly? These texts

testing modes of working that

Level Open Submission, The

experts on medical humanities

The Art School Gallery: the role

served basis.

are typical of Bethan Huws’s


Dunamaise Arts Centre, Church

and arts therapies. One of the

of the college run gallery.


questioning in her polysemantic

interventionist or collaborative

Street, Portlaoise, Co Laois

highlights of the conference is


language pictures.Huws takes

in intention and structure.


the first public performance of

graduation, what is the art


the approach of an ethnologist

Throughout the programme

5pm, Friday 6 May 2011

Ian Wilson’s new work, which he

school’s responsibility and role


tracing the origin and identity of

students will work with formal /

Telephone 353 (0)57 8663355

composed as part of an Arts

in enabling their graduates to

02890 436480

the readymade. Over the past 20

informal external partners and

Council funded residency in the

develop a sustainable cultural

years she has worked with

be expected to develop self


stroke service at AMNCH.

environment? What’s the benefit

watercolour, drawings, wall

initiated, innovative practice



texts, installation, sculpture and

based approaches.


of staying in the city where you studied?
3. Does Fine Art need a


film to comment on her own

The programme is run over 3

personal memories and cultural

semesters – a period of 18 months





courses / Training /WORKSHOPS / workshops

Facelift?: If Fine Art is no longer



Craft Conference

at the centre of Art Education

RHA Master Classes

identity. Bethan Huws lives and

including a summer break.

Co Clare Craft Workers

The Crafts Council of Ireland

what is it like to be at the

RHA Master Classes – last


Glór and Clare Arts Office

hosts the Year of Craft 2011



remaining spaces
Last spaces

works in Paris and Berlin. Course fee: E90 (lunch included)

together are celebrating the Year


remaining on our upcoming


of Craft with an exhibition of

Conscious: Re-shaping global

educational consequent response?
4. Art School as Broker:

master classes.
Brian Bourke


Clare Craft to take place at Glór

futures in the innovation age”,

The Art School facilitating

HRHA, 3 – 6 May 2011.


Ongoing (The next round of

during the month of July 2011.

taking place in Dublin Castle on

commissions. Case studies/best

media master class working from

01 8069010

applicants will be interviewed in

The Crafts Council of Ireland

9 June 2011.

practice exploring links and

life. Cost E375.


April 2011)

and Craft Northern Ireland have

The conference will address



Stephen McKenna PPRHA, 16 –

designated 2011 as Year of Craft

issues, opportunities and themes

albeit in kind, live projects, slack

18 May 2011.
Still-life painting

as the year marks the 40th

of common concern over the

spaces and pop-ups, internships

master class. Cost E300.







The Visual Artists' News Sheet

May – June 2011

opportunities /

RDS Taylor Art Award €5,000

providing a transdisciplinary


/ awards Bursaries

James White Award for Drawing

platform for the presentation of

RDS Printmaking Award

research and practice in areas


R.C. Lewis-Crosby Award

such as acoustic ecology, sensory

MA Arts & Heritage


Applications are open for the






& at




BREAKING OPPS ... The Future – Open Call

Institute of Technology. This is a

RDS Crafts Competition

for Painting €3,000
Freyer Award


one-year programme run over




musicology, technology studies

three semesters. Closing date

Competition have announced

Exhibition at Cavanacor Gallery

and philosophy. The journal

the call for entries for this year’s


seeks to balance its content

Seacourt Print Workshop

Fold; which will explore the

10 June 2011

competition. The competition is

17 June 2011


Seacourt Print Workshop seeks

theme of ‘The Future’.




accounts of creative practice, and



Submissions can be visual

competitions in Europe that

Ms Sarah Ross

an active engagement with

knowledge and understanding of

documentation of artworks,


brings an international panel of


current research topics in audio



written responses, drawings,

judges to Ireland to adjudicate a


printmaking and at least 2 years

photography or digital images.

20 category competition. It




Successful submissions will be

For Abstracts 15 May 2011 for

experience, for a 12-week Artist

included in the next edition of













Submissions are sought from RESIDENCIES residencies

final year and postgraduate art students for the next issue of The

artist toxic


Oil Painting Workshops,

boasts a prize fund of E28,400

Telephone +353 (0) 1 240 7255

Revival of the Sligo School of

and is open to all craft workers


Full Paper Submissions 20

Residency which can commence

The Fold alongside invited artists



August 2011

by agreement from July 2011.



Artist fee of GBP3000 paid in

The Fold is an occasional Email

instalments. This residency is

publication that gathers artists

funded by North Down Borough

together on the ‘space of the


page’ to consider a particular






Classes in Drawing & Painting. A


Plein Air Painting workshop in

apprentices. It is also open to


and Arts Council Touring

oil & acrylic painting techniques

Irish craft workers based abroad.


with artist Neal Greig. Located in

Entrants can also enter the RDS

implementation of its Touring

the scenic surroundings of Coney

Student Art Awards should they

Policy, the Arts Council is further

Island in Sligo Bay. Learn new

meet the terms and conditions of

developing a scheme to support

Artist in the Community

information available from:

The publication will be circulated

drawing and painting techniques

the touring and dissemination of

Managed by Create, the national


this autumn as part of an

from a professional artist Neal

the Awards. Entry fee:
 €15 per entry

work in a broad range of


w w w. s e a c o u r t - n i . o r g . u k /

exhibition / event that will take

Greig (Max 6).

(Maximum of three entries per


collaborative arts.

place in Dun Laoghaire.

Workshop Dates:

category. An entry is defined as

Following on from the 2010

Twice yearly, the Arts Council


April 29 – 2 May Drawing & Painting Workshop
3 Days

one piece of work or a matching set.)
 E10 students and apprentices

scheme, which offered c. E1m in

offers grants to enable artists and

CD (images should be no smaller

support of tours taking place

communities of place/or interest


than 5-6mb in file size or larger


(Written evidence of status is

throughout 2011, the initiative is

to work collaboratively on arts

+44 (0) 28 91460595

and saved as 300 dpi CMYK

May 27 – 30 Drawing & Painting

required by 16 May.)

now being extended. Each year,

projects. The scheme covers all



3 Days (residential)




art forms –architecture, circus,

4pm, 20 May 2011

Written submissions should be

June 3 – 6 Drawing & Painting

stage one: 16 May 2011 at 5pm /

applications will be received on

street art and spectacle, dance,

3 Days (residential)

stage two: 23 & 24 June

two deadlines falling in April/

film, literature (Irish and English

ARTErra Portugal

as Microsoft word files

Sept 2 – 5 Drawing & Painting

May and October. Building on

language), music, opera, theatre,

ARTErra is a hosting place for

A hard copy of each entry (eg.

3 Days (residential)

Telephone +353 (0)1 240 7255

the audience focused approach

visual arts and traditional arts.

artistic creation projects. Here

thumbnails of images, prints out



that characterises the Touring

The projects can take place in a

you find a inspirer and quiet

of text) with captions, artist

Neal Greig

Policy, the expanded scheme is

diverse range of social and

place, with a comfortable house,

names and contact details) needs



designed to support genuine

community contexts eg arts and

work places suitable for distinct

to be included with entry.

087 620 7967/ 087 6421482/

Ms Sarah Ross, Arts, RDS

collaboration between those

health; arts in prisons; arts and



Entries should be sent to the

003534788788 Email


who produce work and wish to

older people; arts and cultural

personalized attendance for each

address below and include name

tour and the presenting venue or



email address and telephone

Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 Email

local promoter.



If you are seeking a place to


The deadline for Round 1 of the

Development, is open to artists

develop your artistic project,

number. Closing date

2011 Medium Term Planning

who wish to research and

please contact us. We are

Thurs 30 June 30th

RDS Student Art Awards

strand of the scheme, primarily

develop a project in a community




The 2011 RDS Student Art

intended to contribute towards


applications until September

The Fold, C/O The Blackchurch

The National College of Art and

Awards prize fund of E16,100 is

the costs of tours planned to be

Maximum time frame is 3


Studio Temple Bar Dublin 2

Design provides an extensive

comprised of the awards and

on the road during the period

months. The maximum amount

The application process is quite


range of part-time courses

prizes listed below. Each award

August 2011 – June 2012, is

awarded in Phase One is €1,000.

including non-credit and award

has specific terms and conditions

5:30pm, Thursday 5 May 2011.



simple, if you send the following information:
- Brief description

















Submissions should be sent on

up to 500 words max and saved





which must be complied with.

The deadline for Round 2 of the

Development/Mentoring is open

of the project to be undertaken at


Entries to the RDS Student Art

2011 Medium Term Planning

to artists who wish to develop a

ARTERRA (including title (if

The 2011 Summer Course

Awards will be judged by a panel

strand of the scheme, primarily

community based project and

applicable), objectives, needs and

brochure is now available to

formed by an RDS nominated

intended to contribute towards

who have identified an artist

expectations for the residence,

view and download from the

judge; a National Gallery of

the costs of tours planned to be

mentor they want to work with


college website. Short summer

Ireland nominated judge and a

on the road during the period


courses being offered for 2011


July – December 2012, will occur


include: Portfolio Preparation,

nominated judge.

Painting Practice, Drawing / Painting / Looking, Colour







availability to informal presentations);
- Curriculum

in October 2011 (exact date to be

maximum award is €1500,which

Vitae and portfolio;
- Ideal dates

Entries to the RDS Student Art


includes €500 fee payable to the

and residence time duration;

Awards must adhere to the entry

For additional information on


Logistic needs (number of

Theory Workshop, Drawing and

requirements outlined in the


Phase Two, Project Realisation, is

bedrooms, number of residents,



terms and conditions of the


open to communities of interest


Introduction to Watercolour,

competition. Please note that the

Application forms and guidelines

or place (or their representative

requirements (need for tools and/

Etching and Dry Point Technique,

deadline for entry is 17 June.

will be available shortly.

organisations), for a project of

or technical material/equipment,

Photography, Printed Textiles,

Entrants can submit up to two

between 6 weeks and 5 months

resources, etc).

Jewellery and Stone Setting,

entries in the RDS Student Art

Interference Online


Jewellery Casting, Stained Glass

Awards and if eligible entrants

Interference has launched a call

with a maximum award of €5000, and/or a project of

and Ceramics.

can also be submitted to the RDS

for papers for its second issue, A

between 6 months and 9 months


Places are assigned on a first

National Crafts Competition.

Sonic Geography: Rethinking

with a maximum award of / arterra-

come first served basis.

Entrants should ensure that all

Auditory Spatial Practice, to go



details are accurate on the online

online in Winter 2011.

Deadlines Email

24 June 2011

application form and that the

Interference is a biannual online

5pm Monday 14 March 2011 and


online payment of the E10 entry

journal in association with the (CEAD link)

fee is processed. Collection and

Graduate School of Creative Arts

5pm Monday 27 June Contact

drop-off of entries will be

and Media (Gradcam). It is an

Katherine Atkinson

outlined on the website in the

open access forum on the role of


coming weeks.

sound in cultural practices,










issue of theme.


WATCH OUT! We strongly advise readers to verify all details to their own satisfaction before forwarding art work, slides or monies etc.


15 May 2011

Don’t forget Do look at the advertisments in this VAN, also check our web site & subscribe to our e-bulletin for further opportunities.

The Visual Artists' News Sheet

May – June 2011



Ongoing & Roundabout Ailbhe ni Bhriain tells the story-so-far of her career as a professional visual artist.

the latter doesn’t always signal the beginning of a successful career sometimes a practice does not survive this level of scrutiny at such an early point. For me, many of the opportunities were slow-burners, but there’s no denying I gained a lot from the high profile of the student shows. PhD... Post-MA, I continued to make and reflect on my work, and began, after a time and almost despite myself, to formulate this understanding into a PhD topic. I was wary of going the PhD route; I have seen PhD students theorise their practice of all its magic and strangeness, and feel that art in this context too often winds up as the tool to illustrate rather than generate thinking. But in Kingston University, where I began my PhD in 2005, there was an understanding of art-making as an inherently critical process, and a sense of art’s ability to operate independently as a research form. There were great people behind this – Louis Nixon, Katy McLeod, Elizabeth Price; and an approach, which was rigorous and loose, confident and curious. I was funded by the University for my full three years, and thus had an extended period of concentrating solely on my work. I stayed in London originally in order to be at the centre of allthings-artistic, but at some point realised that every professional opportunity was arriving into my life via email I figured it was time to go to cheaper, more survival-friendly places and moved first to Glasgow and later to Cork, where I completed my PhD in 2008. Determined not to lose my practice to academia, I exhibited a lot during this period; this external activity formed an important part of my research, and a solo exhibition on The Butler Gallery eventually became part of my final PhD submission.

Ailbhe ni Bhriain Great Good Places (Video Still). Courtesy Domobaal, London

Ailbhe ni Bhriain Great Good Places (Video Still). Courtesy Domobaal, London

Ailbhe ni Bhriain Great Good Places (Video Still). Courtesy Domobaal, London

I recall reading an article (somewhere) in which John Baldessari said (to someone) that approximately one percent of art school graduates go on making work after college – and of that percent only one percent make a living from their work. I am sure his calculations were about as formal as my referencing of them, but, applied to my own (committed, talented) year groups through college, the figures still manage an around-about-rightness. Of Baldessari’s percentiles, I belong to the former: I do not make a living from my work. I work chiefly in video and video is tricky. A benefit of this uncommercial niche is not having to store unsold bubble-wrapped works under beds and in other people’s garages. You could also say it gives the luxury of being a purist, removing the pressure to shape work towards a buying audience. The downsides are obvious enough: lack of money; need to do other things to get money to make work; lack of time to make work because of doing other things to get money to make work etc. But for the majority of artists (aforementioned 99%) this is nothing new. I state it just to signal that, for me, career development means simply supporting the continued production of work, and is an ongoing and often roundabout process. My professional development, according to my official profile, appears pretty straightforward: a neat series of steps from BA to MA to PhD, to part time lecturing to full time lecturing, interspersed with exhibitions which, if attended, would make a nice tour of Europe. This neatness is of course misleading – the numerous jobs in restaurants, bars, primary schools, secondary schools, grammar schools, golf clubs, community groups, special need centres, graphic design centres, clothes shops, prints shops etc, all having been erased. While I will focus here on the major stepping stones, it’s worth remembering this alternative CV as an important part of the picture.

push to produce my first body of independent work.) My second exhibition was a group show in Paris, organised through the Blackchurch Print Studio in Temple bar. Alas, there was rain in France, there was a leak in the roof, and another body of work failed to make it home. (The positive: insurance money, which helped fund my MA in the Royal College of Art.) My movements between 2001 – 2002 went something like: CorkDublin-New York-Dublin-Donegal-Dordogne-Dublin-Belfast-GalwayLondon. This hopscotching was grounded by a few key things. I joined the Blackchurch Print Studio, an amazing resource that in my case provided access to an identity as an artist as much as to practical facilities. I also took part in a mentoring programme with Nigel Rolfe through the Cork Film Centre. This provided enough intellectual fodder and practical help to really engage me in video practice. The move to video felt a natural progression from my earlier print based installations, but it was primarily a practical decision: video provided an economic way of working, both in terms of space and finances, and for a two year period the camcorder functioned as tool, sketchbook and studio in my practice. My application for MA study was an almost purely video-based portfolio.

BA and aftermath ... I studied Fine Art Print in the Crawford College of Art & Design from 1996 to 2000. I loved the course, loved the college and emerged, aged 21, terrified that I might never make work again. My first exhibition post BA was a group show, which took place in Athenry. There were some prominent artists involved and the show was due to travel to London, Paris, New York. It didn’t even make it to the end of its Athenry run, the curator turning out to be a curator / gambler; my work disappeared, alongside all notions of being launched. (The positive: the

MA... My first foray into postgraduate study was an MPhil in text and image studies in Trinity College in 2001. I was genuinely interested in the course, but became alarmed at a world in which making had no place, and left one month into the first semester. I began an MA in the Royal College of Art the following September. Choosing to study in the UK was financially difficult, but the model of the RCA appealed to me – a solely postgraduate and solely art and design college, with a genuinely international student profile. It is also a two year course and operates a pass-fail system in studio assessment; this time and freedom from percentage-tags, to my mind, allows for the risk-taking intrinsic to good art. I loved the RCA, though possibly my main education came from untimetabled activities - a creative writing workshop, evening film screenings, an alarming amount of time spent in the college bar. The college offers a high level of exposure for students: for some, the final MA show will still pass almost unnoticed, while for others it will act as a catapult into intense critical attention. It’s worth remembering that

Exhibiting... A common piece of advice to artists is to choose exhibitions carefully, yet in my experience it’s also good to stay open. Some great opportunities emerge from humble sources – for me, an exhibition in the Reina Sofia Museum arose from a small independently organised event in Madrid (I got an email from an architecture student and took a chance). In general I put a lot of work into applications and have found open submission exhibitions a great way to get work out there. Again, I think keeping a broad remit is good – my video work has featured in drawing, print and painting exhibitions and, if anything, most rejections have come from the media quarter. Being curated in unexpected ways can reveal whole new possibilities in your work. A benefit of video is that multiple copies of the same piece can be shipped cheaply and shown simultaneously, but there can also be a lack of control over how a piece is shown. I am now very specific about installation requirements, and where possible will supply the equipment myself. The Cork Film Centre has played a huge role in my professional development, providing equipment to make, test and exhibit work. My experience of exhibiting has been very varied: sometimes I am flown to openings; sometimes I don’t get sent an invite. Sometimes I receive a fee for each screening of a work; sometimes the equipment I send is not returned. Since 2007 I have been represented by domobaal, a London based gallery, and so have happily been able to share or hand over a lot of this professional negotiation. Now... At the moment I am working towards a solo exhibition at domobaal later this year; I also have a full time job and a 10 month old baby, so the work happens at lunchtimes, nap-times and at odd hours of the morning. But it does happen. I received an Arts Council Bursary last summer and so have a budget for the very first time; budgets are extraordinary things and I am excited about the new video pieces. My studio is in my home and this is how I’ve operated, by choice, for years. I am very disciplined, vigilant even, about making work - probably that post-BA fear of never making work again still lurks. Building a career around making art is a pretty awkward proposition. ‘Professionalism’ is increasingly taught in undergraduate art education, which I think is worthy but problematic – with artist’s statements and applications preceding artwork in cart before horse / does: what-it-says-on-the-tin manner. (When it works, art should surely surprise its maker.) Still, I’m not sure I can suggest better survival techniques. My own experience boils down to: keep making work; take every opportunity to exhibit seriously; pay attention to the ‘Wrong Way Turn Back’ signals, however flaky it makes you appear; and keep making work. Ailbhe ni Bhriain


The Visual Artists’ News Sheet

May – June 2011

VAI regional contacts

Regional Perspectives

melting pot comes something anew, the stirrings of a lobby group for

Reports from Visual Artists Ireland's Regional Contacts

when put in the same pot as performing arts – but there is also the

Whether prompted by these uncertain times or not, into this the visual arts sector. There is no doubt that the visual arts can suffer possibility of learning from other organisations and forums. And it is

details via the site, giving your studio location then this will come up

exactly this kind of idea, that has been conceived and initiated by

on the app. Not only that but you can input a website link, an email

Pauline Hadaway of Belfast Exposed and Peter Richards of the Golden

contact and Google map directions to find you all into your account (3) .

Thread Gallery – which aims to bringing together interested parties to

I often find myself working with organisations, or companies in an

Potentially, this tool could be a fantastic resource to visiting

platform for advocacy, a place for collaboration and the exchange of

advisory role. This is partly because the visual arts need a spokesperson

curators who would like to find out more about artistic production in

ideas. The interest groups represented at the meetings so far have been

to alert big business, chambers of commerce and local authorities, and

a particular area of the country. Or artists who have just moved to a

fairly wide, which suggests that the forum might tend towards

so on; about needs and provisions for the cultural industries. Certainly

particular city or urban space, the potentially of this tool is enormous.

developing ideas around strategic issues and it may well develop into

my role as Western Contact for VAI has its advantages, in that I can

If you do not have an iPhone, you can also access and create an account

a very effective voice.

pool on people’s direct experiences, concerns and frustrations in order

on the website which houses all the data for the app, so you too are not

to inform organisations of gaps in provision, or advice policy

dependent on having to purchase a 3G device in order to benefit from

development. One of many complaints and concerns I hear quite

having your data about your business, service, or skill included on the

regularly from my peers is the inability to connect to or find out


West of Ireland Aideen Barry

The Connect 'App' for Artists

The issue of spam or false data may also be a concern but the app

practitioners up and down the country. So when I was asked by

is being tailored to eliminate any unorthodox entries due to its tight

Gaynor Seville (Mayo County Council Public Art Officer) to come on

regulation. The app will also include unusual resource links too, such

board with Mayo County Council’s ‘Landmark’ public art programme,

an architect firms, engineers, and fabricators, especially organisations

to help co-ordinate the education and outreach element of the

that have worked and have a reputation of working with artists. And

programme, I wanted to make good use of this opportunity to tackle

finally, this tool may be used by cross-cultural practitioners such as

the disenfranchisement of the arts community in the North West. Thus the ‘Connect’ programme was born. This programme will

musicians, theatre and literary artist as a means of sharing information on resources (4).

complement ‘Landmark’ which takes place in the Lough Lannagh

Aideen Barry

village area of Castlebar, in October 2011. Connect will encompass a ‘Landmark’ programme. But it will also reach resident artists of the North West with certain professional practice projects such as a workshop on ‘Panel Judging for Public Art Commissions’. For this particular workshop, 30 fictional proposals have been created for a hypothetical public art commission; participants of the programme are invited to adjudicate the proposals, using the criteria set out by the commissioners. This is a unique programme for artists and cultural practitioners alike to see the very workings of a judging panel and to see for themselves how decisions on proposals are arrived upon. Often the process is viewed from the outside in somewhat a cynical manner – “they always pick the same person / work / medium”. The opportunity to demystify this process could be enormously beneficial to both artist and organisation alike. This workshop will be run in May 2011 and possibly again later on in the year (1). A unique tool that we are also devising for ‘Connect’ is the Connect App. This is going to be a ‘Golden Pages meets Facebook’ app designed for the visual arts, to support the needs and knowledge

Notes 1. For further information on the Panel Judging for Public Art Commissions Workshop, check out the Mayo County Council Arts Office Website or please email or myself 2. You will be able to download the app from the iTunes website, it is also hoped that future models will be made available for android phones. 3. For data protection issues, you do not have to include all your data into the app; you can just have a link to your site for example. 4. Information on the launch of the app will be made available to Visual Artists Ireland’s e-bulletin, and through Mayo Council Council Arts Officer over the next coming months. For further information please email me

Antrim & Beyond Laura Graham

A Ground Swell of Opinion If social networking hasn’t already proved its worth in most galleries attendance figures, it has certainly proved its effectiveness in helping change political minds and allowing the public’s voice to be heard in the recent Fair Deal for the Arts Campaign run by the Arts Council in the UK. On the back of this and the increased budget announced by

sharing of artists in Ireland. The App is scheduled to go live at the end

ACNI Chairman Rosemary Kelly mid March, there have been audible

of the summer and will offer artists the opportunity to download to their iPhones (2).

sighs of relief breathed by arts organisations in Belfast. The campaign

The role of the app is to connect artists and practitioners to each

the general public. The response was strong, cohesive and positive and

other and to specific resources. For example: if you are an artist who

was set up in response to threatened cuts and to garner reaction from gave resounding support to the arts.

lives in north Leitrim and you need to find a fabricator in Cork City,

An interesting and enlightening comment reported on the ACNI

the app will be able to hone in your search results to find these

website and attributed to Minister Wilson speaks volumes of a rather

resources for you. The interesting thing about this new tool is that it

simplistic, yet possibly true, view of many people’s perceptions of

utilises user generated data. The whole application is dependent on

visual art, “Many people think of the arts as simply a picture hanging

users uploading their data to a website, which in turn will disseminate

on a wall, but it involves a lot of employment potential – especially

the alerts, to you iPhone or third generation device. The app will also

tourist potential – in Northern Ireland”. There is little doubt that art

have the unique ability to alert local artists to local talks and events

serves a far greater purpose than just that, but for whatever reason,

organised by City and County Councils, artist led spaces, arts centres

there has been a reprieve and it is to be welcomed.

etc – all through their existing RSS Feeds.

Laura Graham

Northwest Damien Duffy

information on services available to visual artists and cultural

series of talks, presentations and tours by participating artists of the

discuss the potential benefits of setting up a gallery forum as a

Although some may think of visual art in such a limited manner,

A lot of people may be concerned that this app will only be for

there is evidence of growing appreciation of contemporary art and

iPhone users, but the main aim of this new tool is to acknowledge that

increased sophistication of audiences returning time and again to

we receive date and information in new ways and in new structures.

publicly funded galleries. But it is a chicken and an egg situation – the

Over the next five years we will all more than likely be receiving

general public can’t show their interest unless there are actual

information via various iPhone-like devices; and it is hoped that this

challenging art events to attend – and that needs good funding.

new proposed tool or resource will capitalise on these knowledge-

Thankfully, the increased awareness of the importance of the

sharing systems. It has also to be acknowledged that the device is

visual arts sector and the negative effect likely to be wrought in the

aimed at supporting connections between artists and organisation

future by possible budget cuts is being capitalized on. This ground

that may be spread out through real distance but not through digital

swell of opinion – that visual arts are important and should be

distance. One of my key hopes for such at tool is that it could be used

encouraged despite the severe economic downturn – may allow for a

by groups of people based in rural spaces to connect to each other and

paradigm shift in thinking in the long run.

to enable them to communicate with each other in a much freer way,

The Arts Council has given fair warning of a slightly bleaker

narrowing the distance that very often inhibit conversation or critical

future. As Rosemary Kelly said “we don’t underestimate the scale of the

discourse on their practice and possibly creating firm connections,

challenges ahead for the sector, as the money available will drop in the

groups and collective.

following years and there remains a pressing need for arts organisation’s

Hypothetically a visitor to a particular area could download the

to look for further efficiencies”. So the better than expected arts budget

app to their phone and put in a search for “artists studios based in

this year is probably the calm before the storm and the warnings are

Cavan” into the search engine. If you as a user have entered your

ringing loud and clear.

Spectacle vs. Art As the summer begins the dynamics and machinations of what will make of Derry / Londonderry a City of Culture have begun to germinate. An air of urgency has taken hold as organisations work to meet a very short deadline for funds as a 10 million investment is announced for the city. A portion of this funding is given over to project funding for the development of cultural community infrastructure, relating to venues, which are used for cultural events or cultural purposes. 1.5 million of this is allocated to the provision of a new ’demountable’ venue that will host the Brit awards and other such large-scale public audience events. The spend of 1.5 million on a ‘demountable venue’ that is essentially a temporary structure has raised eyebrows in the arts community. Especially when none of this 10 million was allocated to capital projects in the city. Against this much vaunted investment, the issue of actual programming is now bearing down. And organisations that have offered ideas in the bid document appear to be somewhat in the dark regarding their participation in these headlining events. Concerns have been expressed –in terms of planning this programming, which needs to be addressed immediately in terms of logistics. Within the economic model there is recognition of the need to provide spectacles that will serve as an attractors to draw the public into the region and bring about the economic benefits from increased visitor numbers. However there is the perceived separation between what serves as spectacle and what serves as art that is critically engaged. Various public consultations have taken place to date; and these have been seen as having only played lip service to issues among those who are actively engaged in the arts as a whole (1). Against this backdrop of a threatened instrumentalisation of ‘culture’ that is inherent to delivery of ‘city of culture’ type events, the Context Gallery are initiating a public conversation that will focus on how this inflects upon the field of contemporary art. With guest speakers Annie Fletcher (Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven), Wayne Baerwaldt (Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Calgary), Colin Darke (Independent artist, Belfast) this event aims to begin serious engagement with how artists and artist-led organisations might deploy strategies in practice and curation that engage critically with the instrumentalisation of art, and its further commodification as a tool in economic planning. A similar form of scrutiny is also applicable to the Biennale type events that are now a global phenomena – which is a pertinent issue as Manifesta may potentially reside in the North in 2014, shared across the region between Belfast and Derry. Biennales are seen as instruments for economic and social change, providing a landmark event that links otherwise peripheral sites to the centrality of the international Art market and the transnational ideas economy. Perhaps this opening conversation might begin a series of discussions and a process of reflexivity and strategy that serves to scrutinize the econometric modelling of art as ‘culture’ as a central theme in 2013 and beyond. The Department of Culture Media and Sport now refers to museums and art centres as “centres for social change”. Given the current economic climate and public reception of unjust cuts in all areas, those centres just might actually realise the government’s ‘own goal’ and realise a genuine process of social change. Damien Duffy Note (1) In respect to the emphasis placed by visiting expertise in forming partnerships and links in the City of Culture stakes, they might note that Baghdad will also be a Capital of Culture in 2013 as a part of the initiative with UNESCO and the Arab League.

The Visual Artists' News Sheet

May – June 2011



In & Out of Place Paul Murnaghan introduces Place, a new contemporary art venue in Gorey, Co. Wexford

Magnhild Opdøl. 'Mobius Circle,' Brass and taxidermy bird. Installation view. Place, Gorey.

‘When I have given you all that I can’. Installation view. Place, Gorey.

'Savoir Faire 212', The Good Hatchery. Installation view. Place, Gorey.

When walking down the high street of Gorey in County Wexford, you can visit numerous 2Euro shops that have proliferated as a result of our current economic status. Each of these shops exhibits photography, sculpture – even kinetic forms, usually situated towards the back of the space. Generally, framed works are in a sort of salon hang, depicting religious or cultural iconography. There are foreign indigenous art forms and glittering backlit waterfalls. Their main intent is to generate income. People like them. They may be ironic or kitsch, but coupled with the sale of countless household goods, these mass-produced artworks help to keep these spaces open and financially viable. Something that many Irish arts spaces are finding extremely difficult to do. Just around the corner on John Street is another shop, called ‘Place’. The aesthetic is a sort of funky-retro-chic, it sells women’s fashion and accessories, alongside curiosities, books, art magazines, shoes and artists’ sidelines (the stuff that artists generate alongside their practice). It is a much smaller space than the 2Euro shop, but then its turnover is not as high. Part of the problem is directly linked to the use of potentially profitable space as a contemporary art gallery / project space / studio. This activity brings in no revenue. In fact it seriously detracts from profits by adding artist’s fees, transport, accommodation and printing to the overall general costs. So why is it there? The answer is directly linked to the venues artistic director Juliana Walters, who lives just outside of Gorey and who has had a previous career in fashion. Walters has combined her knowledge of fashion buying and aesthetic with her art practice, in an attempt to create a symbiotic structure that supports contemporary art practice in the region; and offers an experimental gallery model that exists as an artwork in itself. Over the past 20 months Place has functioned as a studio, a project space and as a contemporary art gallery. At one stage the entire shop was uprooted and fully reconstructed at Wexford Arts Centre. ‘Symbiote’ (12 Feb – 13 March 2010) was an interactive and operational installation running in parallel with the vacated shop space in Gorey, which reverted to being a working studio. It was an attempt at questioning the current climate and pressure placed on the arts by commercial demands. ‘Symbiote’ also went some way towards articulating the form that Place has taken with a sort of Russian doll principal: shop inside of art, inside of shop, inside of art. Place can be seen as an artwork, in a similar way to Martha Rosler’s ‘Monumental Garage Sale’(1)event held at the Project, Dublin in 2004. As with Rosler, Walters fills the role of vendor, woman and mother selling items personally researched (often from young designers in Paris markets), and occasionally bargaining and chatting with visitors.

Ideas of commodification, value, labour and the position of the artist within the economic process are considered but the difference here is that, Place is not a temporary installation. Place is a functioning device that supports the artist’s practice, it is born out of necessity and its commercial activities fully support its exhibition programme. I still have a large 1970s swan lamp that I diligently haggled from Martha Rosler. When I got it home, it took me a long time to get it working properly as it required some very specific parts. It still makes an oddly pleasing humming sound. Suffice to say, that a melding of financial exchange and art practice may not always result in a perfectly working unit but it may allow a new model, with different attributes, to evolve. Place describes itself on website as “a direct response to the lack of visual art spaces in North Wexford and while considering the current economic climate and its rural context, Place has devised an experimental model fusing both contemporary art practice with selfsustaining strategies. It aims to generate an income through the commercial vehicle of a separate ‘shop’ space to aid the noncommercial development of an ongoing exploration of ideas, modes and projects. Its intention is to support contemporary art in Gorey and to provide a space to promote and nurture the evolution of new practices”. At this point I should declare an interest, as I have been involved in Place from its inception; and I have programmed and curated its exhibitions to date. I met Walters whilst taking an MA in Visual Culture, in Dublin in 2005 – 2006. This particular MA was strongly orientated towards interdisciplinary dialogue. It included a mix of writers, curators and art practitioners that were passionate about ideas surrounding the use of space and modes of exhibition. At the time, Nicolous Bourriaud’s relational aesthetics and / or Marc Augé’s writing on non-places (2) informed much of our discussion. In 2007, I invited Walters to be part of the exhibition, ‘Synesthesia Sat’ (3) which led to further discussion around rural isolation, modes of exhibition and the difficulty of supporting a contemporary art practice. Much of this dialogue fed into the construction of the Place model. Though Gorey may not seem like a vibrant art hub, it is far from bereft of art history or establishments. A recent conversation with Eamonn Carter (former Head of the Gorey Arts School) informed me of a rich past of avant-garde exhibitions during the 1970s. There is Cow House Studios in nearby Enniscorthy and a little further on, The Wexford Arts Centre. The Gorey School recently partnered with the NCAD to offer a Masters in Fine Art. So Place slots well into this small – but expanding – network. Places attempts to engage with the local population without diluting conceptual content or forms of exhibition. The ‘shop’ format

allows a regular audience; and during the summer months this is greatly expanded. Realistically, the majority of visitors are not there to see art and are in some ways, ‘tricked’ into the experience. This may or may not add to the suspicion with which some people view contemporary art practice. Even the least ‘art savvy’ are no longer surprised by art outside of a gallery context – but there is a fine line to be walked here. Exhibitions at Place have varied between the modes of inclusive / interactive; and the ‘you may find it helpful to read the text’. An early exhibition, ‘When I have given you all that I can,’ (15 Oct –15 Nov 2009) invited all comers to curate the space by browsing and projecting selections from an immense back catalogue of art films, video works and recorded talks. These works could be viewed both inside and outside of the shop. The exhibition utilised Ubuweb’s ‘Deleuzian’ model of thinking – by being an active part of their rhizomatically (4) expanding project. On the surface, this approach contrasted with the very first exhibition, which made it known that works may require some engagement on behalf of the audience. ‘There must be Something Inside’ (1 – 29 July 2009), was a very minimalist, conceptual piece, which seemed to convey to most of the audience that the gallery was in fact empty. The opening night took the traditional form of a wine reception and short speeches from local dignitaries but in general the reaction was one of mystification, amusement, apathy, anger and casual vandalisation of the artwork. Few people read the text displayed on the gallery wall or the essay by Dr Tim Brennan dispersed around the space, fittingly entitled, A small polemic (5). Over the course of the exhibition there was a subtle, but interesting, reaction. Some audience members came back to find out ‘what was really going on’, there was the return of an apologetic ‘vandal’ who had been so incensed that he felt it his duty to destroy the work. People both outside and inside of the local arts community actively questioned the reasoning and validity of the exhibition. I find this reaction more common outside of major cities. Individuals will confront a curator or artist as to the thinking behind an exhibition. It can be both exhilarating and frustrating – but it is a truly engaged dialogue. Place is seeking a difficult, integrated autonomy within a not-altogether-suitable environment. If we purport to ask questions through the position and form of exhibition, it is only right that we get answers and further questions not in accord with our personal incentives. With the first two exhibitions, it was necessary to blur my position as artist / curator whilst attempting to find a curatorial position and a supportable mechanisms. Later works such as ‘Savoir Faire 212’ by The Good Hatchery (12 Feb – 13 March 2010) or ‘Duino’ by Ella Burke (15 Oct – 13 Nov 2010), comprised of singular installations employing solid forms and ethereal substance such as air and steam. These works used a particular language to articulate their diverse thinking in relation to ideas of necessity, mortality and the storage and distribution of energy. Mortality dovetails well with the current work on show from Magnhild Opdøl (18 Feb 2011 onwards), which crosses several disciplines, including drawing, taxidermy, sculpture, video and installation. Opdøl’s beautifully obsessive renderings of dead animals and faux-cartoon birds are in fact the first drawings exhibited at Place. They help construct a dialogue between the more recognizable forms of art and other less ‘traditional’ methods. There are several ideas on the agenda for 2011, including a proposed collaboration with the Gorey Arts School. We will be working to develop projects integrated within local activities and not necessarily sited at Place. We are hoping to take advantage of vacant spaces, as was done with the nighttime projections for Opdøl’s exhibition, ‘Mobius Circle’. The possibility of expanding Place has also been muted but how this can be achieved whilst still retaining core ideals such as reasonable artist’s fees and self-sufficiency has yet to be defined. We may need to consult with the 2Euro folk. Paul Murnaghan is an artist and curator Notes 1. The ‘Monumental Garage Sale’ was a multimedia installation and performance by Martha Rosler held in the Art Gallery of the University of California, San Diego in 1973. Elements of the work were reinstituted by the artist at The Project Arts Centre in 2004. 2. Non-places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity by Marc Auge. Verso, London & New York, 1995. 3. ‘Synesthesia Sat’ took place in August of 2007 at Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival. The project consisted of a group of nineteen Irish and International artists dispersed throughout the historical buildings of Birr. 4 UbuWeb (www. is a web-based educational resource for avant-garde material available on the internet, founded in 1996 by poet Kenneth Goldsmith. Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari use the term “rhizome” and “rhizomatic” to describe theory and research that allows for multiple, nonhierarchical entry and exit points in data representation and interpretation. 5 Dr Tim Brennan was Artistic Director at Arthouse in Temple Bar, Dublin when (the pre-Turner Prize winner) Martin Creed’s work was first shown in Ireland in 2000. ‘There must be something inside’, plagiarized or replicated one of Creed’s works.

The Visual Artists’ News Sheet

May – June 2011



Buzz Phrases & Brainstorms Sara Baume reports on ‘MOOT VII: INNO-VISION – Art, Creativity, Education and Innovation’ an event held at The Butler Gallery, KilkeNny on 4 February. At one point during the afternoon’s opening PowerPoint presentation, Finbarr Bradley fleetingly quoted Joyce. Beneath the subheading ‘Culture-Based Creativity’ and as an endorsement to his central argument, Bradley had bulleted-pointed ‘James Joyce - two thinks at a time’. The afternoon in question was Friday February 4 and Bradley’s presentation was as part of ‘MOOT VII: ‘INNO-VISION’ - Art, Creativity, Education and Innovation’ – a seminar jointly organised by Niamh Finn of Kilkenny County Council’s Arts Office in collaboration with Jean Tormey of the Butler Gallery. Bradley, a former professor in DCU, NUI Maynooth and UCD and co-author of Capitalising on Culture, Competing on Difference was acting as chairman of the proceedings. His central argument was that the time has come for the arts to take a role in rejuvenating the dwindling Irish economy – to break away from old, formulaic and exhausted ways of thinking and of doing things in favour of a more intuitive and experimental approach. He referred to the era that we are living in as an ‘imagination age.’ “People now want meaning in their lives”, he explained, and as a society, it’s time for us to draw on our ‘intangible resources’ in order to find a way forward. I mention the Joyce quote because it made me wonder what one of Ireland’s most historically influential artists would have thought of Bradley‘s PowerPoint presentation – had he somehow been able to travel through time to Butler House on Kilkenny’s Patrick Street, to a 21st century afternoon in spring. I wondered what Joyce would have made of the bullet-pointed subheadings such as ‘Sustainable Competitive Advantage’ and ‘Culture Based Innovation’, of the tabulated assessment of ‘Industrial Mind’ versus ‘Imaginative Mind,’ of the circled and arrowed diagrams denoting things such as meaning, wisdom, transformation, inspiration. I pictured him rolling his eyes behind his signature spectacles and arguing that these things of the soul are not for systemising. And yet, it’s not for Joyce to judge exactly – Joyce who died 70 years ago and left behind a very different Ireland to the one that faces us today. MOOT is an ongoing series of discussion events, the previous six of which have ranged across subjects of cultural interest from architecture to film to environmental sustainability. The Ireland that faces us today, Bradley’s so-called ‘imagination age’, sprung to mind repeatedly throughout the course of the afternoon. Perhaps this had something to do with the event taking place during the frantic campaign for elections to the country’s 31st Dail. Bearing in mind the organisers stated objective to address ‘Ireland’s cultural and economic future’ the timing of MOOT VII was particularly appropriate. The previous six events had all been designed with an eye on the topical and structured in as open and allinclusive a format as possible. The seventh was the first, as the press release tells me, “dealing with how arts, creativity and education link to innovation and the business sector”. Proceedings began with short, snazzy presentations by each of four invited speakers, followed by Q&A, tea-break and then a series of ‘break out sessions’. The second PowerPoint presentation of the afternoon was given by Anna Craft, a professor at the University of Exeter and the Open University and author of Creativity and Education Futures? Craft was speaking from an overseas perspective on the systems of primary and secondary schooling in the UK, but nonetheless most of her points were of equal relevance to this country. Although she proved a stellar opponent for Bradley in the buzz-phrase stakes – with her ‘wise

humanising creativity’ and ‘birth of ideas to action’, her central arguments were essentially the same. Craft believes in the fundamental value of those activities of society – such as art – which are more marginal and less practically functional. She believes it is now more important than ever that the marginal be employed to challenge traditional models of education. Craft is passionate about the benefits of digital technology and frustrated that not enough resources are being made available for it to realise its full potential as a teaching tool. Long gone are the days of my own formative education in rural Ireland, of a single school-computer so clunky and elaborate that it required its own computer-trolley to travel between classrooms. I was intrigued but also a little taken aback by Craft’s praise for online social networks. She put forward the argument that, if used properly, social networking could help to make learning more playful and creatively demanding and that this would empower the otherwise timid or halting child to live vicariously in a virtual space, and as a result, to flourish in the real world. But whatever the method by which it is achieved, it is hard to dispute that creative flare nurtured early in life produces adults who are better equipped to innovate beyond the obvious when economic times get tough, as the second half of the afternoon’s presentations were about to prove. The third invited speaker was Paul Young, CEO and Co-Founder of Cartoon Saloon and Producer of animated feature The Secret of Kells, which was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 2009 Academy Awards. At first he seemed a strange addition to the bunch, but as his presentation unfolded – tracing the humble beginnings of Cartoon Saloon right through to its night at the Oscars – it became apparent that the story was intended as a case study of sorts. When Young first started out it was with no experience whatsoever in the world of business, but instead of being discouraged by this, he discovered ways of working it to his advantage. Young joked that some of his success could probably be attributed to the wearing of an unusual hat, but the wider point was that it is possible to adopt colourful tactics when approaching the grey business sector – that there are ways in which to brand even oneself in order to stand out. As part of his presentation, Young showed artwork from a new feature in development – Song of the Sea – proof that Cartoon Saloon continues to thrive as a creative Irish business while at the same time holding true to its founding principles, to its freedom of imagination. Neil Leyden is another example of someone who started out down a strictly creative career path before being lured into the shiny-shoed and smart-suited world of commercial practice. On his website, he describes himself as a ‘scriptwriter, ideas junkie, reluctant entrepreneur and relentless optimist.’ Early last year, Leyden was crowned winner of 'Your Country Your Call' – a national competition launched by the President as an exercise in potential job creation. He won with his proposal “to create an International Content Services Centre to make Ireland the global gateway for digital content between the US and Europe”. Content, for those like me who did not already know, is the term used to describe pretty much any information that is being distributed online ­– books, games, music, films, magazines, etc. What the success of Leyden’s International Content Services Centre could mean for practising Irish artists of all genres is that their own creative content would be stored

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closer to home and that this would eventually bring about an end to piracy. The MOOT literature tells me that “the initiative is now part of the programme of Government for Ireland and set to begin implementation”. Leyden was speaking from experience when he mentioned that – at a public service level – you do yourself no favours by bringing up the arts. This is because it is considered a ‘handout culture’ and a drain on resources sorely needed elsewhere. Many of his opinions on “the state of the creative industries in Ireland and their over-reliance on state funding” made a lot of discomfiting sense. Bleak as this may seem, Leyden maintains optimism through his belief that this reliance can be overcome by concentrating on ways in which to transform the arts into an industry in itself, by locating and exploiting its money-making aspects. Leyden can certainly talk the talk, but the whole idea of any genre of the arts being approached solely as a business for the purposes of generating revenue sits uncomfortably with my notions of artistic freedom. Such was the structure of the day’s events that sceptics like me were repeatedly given the opportunity to voice their reservations and to make suggestions based on their own personal stories. Following a Q&A session with the whole panel, the audience was broken down into a number of smaller groups for a bout of ‘break out sessions’. Each group was assigned an invited speaker and each topic of discussion was structured around a particular question that the speaker had felt was of pivotal importance to their respective presentation. It wasn’t a format I had ever come across at seminar events before, but it seemed to work well – encouraging shy but sharp individuals to voice their opinions and ideas where otherwise they would have been inclined to keep quiet. After a short period, the entire audience reconvened and MOOT VII was rounded up with a summary of points formulated by each group. In the days following my excursion to Kilkenny, Niamh Finn forwarded me a very thorough questionnaire designed to help MOOT’s organisers to assess their seventh event so as to determine how best to tackle future MOOTs. As I filled it in, because I was finding it difficult to draw fixed conclusions from the day’s discussions, I hoped that it would also be of some help to me in making a start on this article. While I found each presentation individually engaging – peppered with good ideas and with possibilities – it was a whole other challenge to discern concrete solutions through the buzz-phrases and brainstorms. If anything, the organiser’s questionnaire left me chasing even more loose ends. Then, about a week after my attendance at MOOT VII, in the runup to the 25 February General Election, the VAI circulated the results of a different questionnaire – this one given to the main political parties on their policies with regard to the visual arts. All of the responses were identically vague and united by an undercurrent of resignation to the inevitability of the arts being something of a lost cause – a necessary and unavoidable casualty of budget cuts and belt-tightening to come. It painted a picture of some contrast to Bradley’s burgeoning ‘imagination age’ that I had heard described in Kilkenny a week earlier – more a case of, to quote not Joyce but another of our most influential artists, “Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone”. Yet if nothing else, it is to be hoped that the current political climate of renewal will encourage imaginative approaches to marketing the arts sector whilst at the same time maintaining an environment, which facilitates artistic integrity. Sara Baume


The Visual Artists’ News sheet

May – June 2011


Powerpoints & Brass Tacks CURT URT RIEGELNEGG REPORTS ON “WHAT HAT DO YOU Y STAND FOR?” A FORUM FOR INDEPENDENT AND ALTERNATIVE VISUAL ARTS SPACES, HELD AT THE NATIONAL COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN, DUBLIN ON 12 MARCH. staged as a festival in 2004 at Project Arts Centre. Fresh from his own election campaign for Dublin South East, he spoke of “transparency as a fundamental arm of democracy”, and advocated the deliberate creation of a community to support a burgeoning idea. Grace McEvoy of Block T, Dublin, by way of charting progress and productivity, enumerated her space’s expended resources, from litres of paint to belly dancers. Clare Feeley, whose day job is with the Serpentine Gallery, spoke about her work with Ruth E Lyons on the project Mercedes Fire, a weeklong educational road trip for artists (profiled in the March / April 2011 edition Visual Artists’ News Sheet). Being very much ensconced in the established gallery system, Feeley still placed vehement emphasis on the importance of art meeting the public “beyond the pale”. Her attenuated thesis reached its crux with the literary device of an island, as a threshold space for gleaning new understandings via a sort of monastic removal from the common bustle. Sam Keogh displayed the fruits of a short-term, intensive model in the form of his Radical Love project, a three-day, two-night creativecommunal boot camp, meant to promote an almost romantically optimistic agenda of uninhibited exchange. His future ambitions for project, he noted, surpassed the “tidy temporal pocket” and a second, more informed version of Radical Love is in the pipeline. Carl Giffney broke the form slightly when speaking about the Good Hatchery, which he co-founded and directs with Ruth E Lyons. Giffney asserted that the Good Hatchery, an artist-led, pragmatically communal residency and project outpost quartered in a revamped 19th century stone building in east Offaly, responded not to recession but to the “Celtic Tiger”. This belied a greater arc of possible positions that ‘being alternative’ might inhabit. In Giffney’s case is was one declining alignment with, but not necessarily standing in opposition to, the regular gallery and museum circuits. One could extrapolate from Giffney’s point that alternative spaces act as a provisional corollary to the pre-existing arts landscape – without necessarily calling for a march on the citadel. Not that those who did explicitly situate themselves against the more entrenched socio-political current were necessarily lacking in polemical rigor. Fiona Halloran, speaking on behalf of the Provisional University (6), a largely web-based egalitarian proposition, read from a carefully worded prepared statement, using concrete Marxist language in defence of her position. She noted the inherent fallacy in equating public and private interests, and declared her group’s aversion to the “capitalist fantasy of a creative economy”. Succinct and coherent in their manifesto (and a manifesto it was), the representatives of the University would later bring a challenging clarity to the forum. Additional speakers included founders and directors of Ormond Studios, the Joinery, Paper Visual Art, PhotoIreland, Exchange, Monster Truck, and several others. Some synopsized their activity in the art scene thus far, and some, conscious of the presence of fellow sufferers, commiserated about the hardships of building an independent project out of nothing. They’d earned the right, each space or other enterprise having, to some degree, grown into its own. The discussion segment, which had a somewhat lower attendance

than the first half of the forum, began with a brief summary of various contributions delivered thus far. Halsall remarked on the choice of venue, colleges / universities being an anomalous creature in the menagerie of institutional spaces. However, Halsall stressed the value of the lack of ‘ownership’ of the college space, and, by extension, its place as a sort of neutral zone. The bulk of the subsequent conversation was between those with a vested interest in the survival and optimization of alternative projects. Sam Keogh stuck with a now familiar vocabulary, framing questions of a given project’s nature as “resistive or productive” and calling attention to the various understandings of the ‘value’ of spaces. The undergraduate-run Basic Space emphasized simple priorities – like the freedom to take risks. Vaari Claffey, re-asserting that even the most independent projects don’t evolve in a vacuum, iterated the importance of understanding the institutional and pedagogical models that develop around alternative spaces, along well as their relations to the ‘old guard’ institutions. A few acute questions arose – like, in relation to settling in semiabandoned sections of recession hit towns and cities, “whether it was necessarily a good thing to inhabit a ghost town”? When the discourse tapered to address some of these more esoteric questions, the discussion become impressively lucid and, somewhat ironically, rather professional. The assembled participants, after all, represented a considerable experience quotient. That said, curator Kate Strain of the Workhouse Test voiced a mild frustration – which was shared by me, but evidently not all in the room – with what had seemed to become a reflexive language of nebulous subversion. Strain called for a more committed and specific ideological statements. She challenged the afternoon’s participants to explain why exactly were they were so resolutely eschewing commercialism and the greater gallery network? By extension, one could ask what might be the endgame outside of a perfunctory political identification and the pursuit of outsider status for its own sake? Time was called, with theses question hanging unaddressed – but Dr. Halsall offered, due to the many dialogical loose ends and the unwieldy girth of the day’s topic, to continue the conversation through e-mail. Hopefully it can progress, and a clearly robust passion might lead to greater cogency and consensus in the future. Given the degree of potential that Halsall had mentioned, which was palpable in the room, it’s worth keeping an ear to the ground. Curt Riegelnegg Notes 1. The full list of participants: Annette Molloney, Dylan Haskins, Soma, Ormond Studios, Block T, Provisonal University, Clare Feeley,126 Gallery, Occupy Space, TransColonia, The Joinery, The Workhouse Test, Paper Visual Art, The Good Hatchery, Faber Studios, PhotoIreland, Exchange, Radical Love, Basic Space, Monster Truck. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

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Al eRNATIve art spaces arise and proliferate for a number of reasons, AlT in a variety of locations and times. It’s easy to point to budget tightening and capital shortfalls as key factors in artists’ interests in self-organised initiatives. And certainly, a subdued economy tends to motivate creative exploitation of once-untapped resources. Artists concern with intricacies and quirks of funding and realising a project aren’t limited to the lean times though. Dissatisfaction with the existing institutions, or an urgent need capture and nurture a fleeting idea, can be more than enough to get things underway. The 20 independent spaces and projects represented at ‘What Do You Stand For?’ a forum discussion on alternatives to the ordinary art space – held on 12 March at The National College of Art & Design, Dublin – were similar in scope, but diverse in mandate. Dr. Francis Halsall of NCAD introduced the afternoon with a brief outline of the origins and intentions of the seminar. He remarked that the session had been devised largely in response to the emergence of alternative spaces in Ireland, which he characterized as a ‘site of potential’. The event included a series of five-minute presentations from a selection of projects (1); followed by discussion involving all of the participants and audience members. Potential, and its hopeful activation into something collaborative and energetic, did indeed emerge as a major theme in the discussion, alongside a general desire to explore alternative means; but also considerations of unconventional conceptions of the political and social. Following Halsall’s introduction, the microphone was passed to Vaari Claffey, who, as chair of the session, spoke first about her personal experience in the facilitation of experimental spaces like the Return Gallery at the Goethe-Institut (2.), Dublin and the Graceland’s project in Leitrim (3), along with her hopes for the future. After a few words of support and encouragement for alternative ventures, she promptly attended to more weighty and pragmatic issues. After having taken a few moments to sketch out her own bonafides, she focused on the work of individuals she saw as important in terms of recent developments in imaginative modes of curating in Ireland – such as Sarah Pierce (4) and Mark Garry (5). Claffey noted the importance of considering the life-span new spaces and initiatives – a concern that would recur later in the discussion, in the broader sense of considering issues of ‘sustainability’. The presentations which followed, each offer a comprehensive ‘nuts & bolts’ run-through of nationwide art spaces that had been built, bequeathed, and finagled to end up in the hands of artists and curators, mostly young, who felt that they had something new to add. In the course of that line-up, there was a multitude of communicative approaches, including a sort of Abbott-and-Costello routine (that still managed to be quite informative); a vaguely relevant martial-arts metaphor; and, naturally, a lot of slides. The format was painstakingly democratic – with as much time, and no particular ordering paid to firmly established collectives, as to fledgling, remotely located labours-of-love. And everyone was given ample time to say their piece, provided they were efficient. Dylan Haskins spoke about his experiences in promotion of punk music in the Dublin area and subsequent advancement of DIY culture,

The LAB, brought to you by Dublin City Council is pleased to present

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Events at the LAB: Art Criticism Now In conjunction with the launch of the LAB Essays 2008 – 2011, the LAB presents a seminar on art criticism and writing on 26 May 2011. For info and bookings see The LAB, Foley Street, Dublin 1 T: 01 2225455 E:

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