Paper Work at PCP

I have a piece in a group show called Paper Work which opens at Pallas Contemporary Projects on Thursday 3rd December. Here is a quote from the press release:

Paper Work explores the primacy of paper as a fundamental medium, a celebration at the core of the transformative essence of artistic production, and of the possibilities inherent in the simplest medium, intrinsic as it is to the facilitation of expansive contemporary artistic concepts.

The artists in the show are:

John Beattie / Mark Beatty / Anna Boyle / Gemma Browne / Niall de Buitlear / Karl Burke / Clare Cashman / Aoife Cassidy / Fiona Chambers / Garry Coyle / Mark Cullen / Anita Delaney / Vanessa Donoso López  / Brian Fay / Alicia Frankovich / Mark Garry / David Godbold / Helen Horgan / Wendy Judge  / Atsushi Kaga / Vera Klute / Nevan Lahart / Áine Macken, / Alice Maher / Bea McMahon / Clive Murphy / Christophe Neumann / Isobel Nolan / Magnhild Opdol / Sarah O’Brien / Garrett Phelan / Ruth Proctor / Linda Quinlan / Gerard Shanahan / Sonia Shiel / Ivan Twohig / Lee Welch

The exhibition continues until 19th December.


Images of Installation at the National Library

These images are of the latest installment of my ongoing Found Bookmark Project which is currently on show at the National Library on Kildare Street in Dublin. The piece (which involves a collection of objects found in libarary books over the Summer) was made for Preponderance of The Small, "an off-site project which forms part of The Douglas Hyde Gallery's ongoing Gallery 3 initiative, featuring works by twenty-one younger artists working in Ireland."

Dawning of an Aspect

My work is featured in a group exhbition at the Green on Red Gallery, Dublin which opens on Wednesday 8th July. The show is titled Dawning of an Aspect and also features the work of Damien Flood, Laura Lancaster and Sonia Shiel.

Green On Red Gallery presents Dawning of An Aspect, an exhibition of four artists whose work offers an exploration of our capacity for perception through painting and sculpture. ‘Dawning of an aspect’ is taken from both Wittgenstein’s and Wollheim’s philosophical writings on the fundamental distinction between our perception and plain seeing. While the writings on this subject are based on painting, in this exhibition it is also applied to sculptural objects that reveal themselves through the act of looking. This twofold nature of our perception involves both the surface and subject simultaneously.

Wittgenstein's aim was to dissolve the paradoxical appearance of aspect-dawning: when looking at a picture-object we can come to see it differently, although we also see that the picture-object itself remains unchanged. Wollheim’s writings view the expressiveness of depiction through psychoanalytic concept of projection in which we come to see a piece of the external world as corresponding to an inward state of mind which he referred to as the internal spectator.  The experience of seeing resemblances within the pictorial representation is an essential aspect of this idea.     More info here

Histories Matter

Exhibitions at the Wexford Arts Centre:

Histories Matter Debra Bowden & Niall de Buitlear


Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh

16th February – 14th March 2009

Exhibitions open on Wednesday 18th February at 6.00pm Opened by Patrick T. Murphy, Director – Royal Hibernian Academy

All are welcome to attend.

Gallery Talk

Tuesday 17th February, 1-2pm

Art historian Karla Sanchez in conversation with artists Debra Bowden and Niall de Buitléar


Bookish at Lewis Glucksman Open

The exhibition "Bookish: When Books Become Art" at the Lewis Glucksman Gallery at UCC in Cork opened last night. My favourite piece in the show is John Latham's film which shows every page of the Enclyopedia Brittanica at high speed. The text has a strange, rythmic pulsing quality that appears animated and images flash up intermittently.

I also particularly enjoyed the sculpture by Jonathan Callan which is similar to the one pictured below:


My own contribution to the show consists of three wooden tables with objects that were found between the pages of books in the UCC library. The work also includes a video which presents a letter written in 1979 and a song by Joan Baez the handwritten lyrics to which I found in a book.

Letter from 1979 Found in Library Book

Below are some excerpts from a letter I found in a library book at UCC while working on The Found Bookmark Project for a group show at the Lewis Glucksman gallery.  The letter is dated 1979 and a note has been added by another student which is dated 1983.

2 mount pleasant, gardiners hill, Cork

3rd December 1979

Dear Mr Quigg,

I am prompted to write this letter because, once more, the encyclopaedia of philosophy has been vandalized. This encyclopaedia as, no doubt, you are aware, is housed in the reference library and is constantly in use by staff and students. Not only has volume 7 been missing for some years, but today I also noticed and reported that a huge portion of volume 4 has also been cut out by some "wanton". Because I have constantly reported the fact that vloume 7 is missing to no avail, I have now little confidence that the missing portions of volume 4 will be replaced in the immediate future, which is why I have decided to write to you...

...As it now stands it is notoriously easy not only to rob books and journals but also to steal other people's belongings from the library. It would seem ro me to be totally unfair, and somewhat naive to expect students to leave bags and coats outside the library area, or in the case of the reference where they are not in the owner's view, where there is no one to attend to thse belongings. Many people, including myself, have had our possesions taken from these areas. In the case of the science library that area for coats and bags is inadaquate and one's coat is often knocked off and trampled upon...

...I trust that my complaints and suggestions will not go unheeded,

yours sincerely,

Anne O' Neill (M.A, Student)

April 1983

This Anne O'Neill person sure knows how to complain!

Jimmy Lynch (1st year student)

Exhibition Roundup (Berlin) - May

I've been on a five week Residency at Ard Bia Berlin since the second of May. So my monthly exhibition round-up is of exhibitions in Berlin not Dublin for a change.


There were two exhibitions at Ard Bia while I've been here. The first was by the Icelandic Love Corporartion who are pictured above. The centrepiece of the exhibition was a video wearing a tent/dress pours tea with her feet.

The second was by The Centre of Attention and involved the attendees at the opening acting out scenes from a film called "Darling". The unedited material recorded at the opening formed the main part of the exhibition. The Centre of Attention are creating a low budget cover version of this film with a changing cast of amateurs. Other scenes from the film have been previously been shot in Glasgow and Stockholm. I had my reservations about the project having heard the basic premise in advance but the experience was interesting and enjoyable.

I was generally dissapointed by the quality of work on display in most of the private galleries I visited. I saw an Olafar Elliason show that was little more than a series of slickly assembled optical tricks and numerous others show ranging from inoffensive and forgettable to the truly awful. One exception was the Galerie Max Hetzler which showed an impressive exhibition of Mona Hatoum's works in their temporary space in Wedding. The gallery is a large, gritty, industrial space that thankfully has not been given a coat of white paint. There was a range of Hatoum's work on display including large scuptures, photograph, works on paper and a large installation pictured below.

She also showed a work called "Hanging Garden" at the Daad Gallery.


I saw a number of interesting photography shows in Berlin. The four nominees for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2008 were showing at C/O Berlin. I enjoyed the work of  Esko Männikkö (pictured below) and Jacob Holdt though I'm unsure of suitability of the Holt's work to the context of an art exhibition. Holdt travelled America as a hobo in the 70s meeting, befriending and photographing some of America's poorest people. Holdt does not consider himself an artist and shows contempt for the art world and the display of his images in museums (though he does obviously allow it). He seeks to expose the injustice and he believes racism inherent in modern America and gives lectures on the topic accompanied by his images. His website  features his images accompanied by personal anacdotes, letters to his friends and family and quotations. I missed this contexualisation when I saw the images at C/O (there is a board with thumbnails and some text but only in German).


Also at C/O was Magnum photographer Alec Soth's exhibition Paris/Minnistota. The Soth was commisioned by the French "Fashion Magazine” to photograph fashion shows in Paris. Soth was happy with with the quality of the photos he took in Paris but not with their "conceptual vacuousness".  So he expanded the series back home in Minnesota using amateur models or placing designer products in landscapes. However for me this fails to make the work less vacuous. The photos of landscapes become like a "Where's Wally" game of trying to spot the tie or the shoe or the handbag.

More interesting was Soth's exhibtion Dog Days, Bogota at the Galerie Wohnmaschine with runs concurrently with the C/O show. The photos in this body of work (one of which is pictured below) were taken in Columbia during the two months it took for the adoption of Soth's Columbian daughter to be finalised.


Across the road from the Galerie Wohnmaschine at the Pool Gallery there was another interesting photography show - New American Fables by Amy Stein (see picture below)


There was some great work on show at the Hamburger Bahnhof. There are four large paintings and sculptures by Anselm Kiefer (pictured below), numerous works by Beuys, photos, objects and the film from Mathew Barney's Cremaster 1, sculptures by Anish Kapoor and lots more.


They were also showing a retrospective of Wolfgang Tillman's work. I'm not a big fan of his work and found the exhibition a bit disjointed. The title of a previous show by the artist read "if one thing matters then everything matters" which seems to sum up his pluralist attitude to the medium of photography. However I would have prefered to see a more cohesive, selective body of work. The installation is a jumble of images some framed, some just tacked on the wall. There are abstract images beside more traditional photographic images with no aparent relationship between the two. The exhibiton did feature some interesting individual works. The piece I most enjoyed a very simple video which just shows peas boiling in a pan but makes for surprisingly compelling viewing.

The big show in Berlin at the moment is the Berlin Biennial which I thought was very poor. It was full of bland, boring, international art mostly from relatively little known artists. I went to three of the venues in one day and it was quite a slog to get through so much nondescript art lacking in excitement, creativity or personality. There are over 50 artists participating in the Biennial and I  liked only 5 of the artists' work. 

However I won't focus too much on the negative and will just write a little about the work I did enjoy which was located at the KW Institute in Mitte and the Skulpturenpark Berlin_Zentrum in Kreuzberg. 

Susan Hiller's piece at the Neue National Galerie did not appeal to me much but her sound piece What Every Gardener Knows was my favourite piece in the Biennial.   The work is a compostion of various tones derived from Gregor Mendel's laws of genetic. The composition is played every 15 minutes and the speakers are located under a pile of rocks and rubble on which the audience can sit or stand while the sounds reverberate around them (picture below).


Also at the Sculpture park was Lars Lamann's funny and disturbing documentary about a woman in love with the Berlin Wall which I have already written about here.

Zhao Ling's City Scene presents us with a series of small events from oridinary life in Bejiing. A man falls of his bike and is helped by to his feet by another man, two men filmed from a rooftop argue and threaten each other with improvised weapons, an Alstation comically attempts to have sex with a much small dog at the site of the future Olympic village while numerous cyclists stop to observe.

Kohei Yoshiyuki's series of Black and White photograhs titled Park is on view at KW. The photos show Japanese people in the seventies having sex or watching others have sex at night in a park. The photos are voyeuristic but not pornographic. Two examples are pictured below



Finally, I enjoyed the Polish artist Ania Molska's two projected videos at KW (pictured below). The videos are projected side by side. The first features a group of men erecting a scaffold-like sculpture in a muddy field in Poland. The second shows an upside-down squash court into which numerous balls are fired from some source off camera. The workmen talk throughout the process of constructing the sculpture. One of the workmen tells another not to curse so much as he is wearing a microphone and "that bitch can hear everything we say". Once the sculpture is erected it serves as a platform to present the men to us. They arrange themselves on it and introduce themselves. The piece is effectively a portrait of these men.   

 The scaffold-sculpture is also presented at the sculpture park. This is superfluous in my opinion as the structure itself has little appeal outside of the context of the video.


A Woman in Love with the Berlin Wall

Today I visited the Skulpturenpark Berlin_Zentrum in which is one of the venues for the Berlin Biennal. I have not been at all impressed by the Biennal though I enjoyed two pieces at the sculpture park - a sound piece by Susan Hiller and a video by Lars Laumann  about a Swedish woman who is in love with the Berlin Wall and claims to be married to "him". Here they are pictured together.


At first I found Laumann's film a little funny. The subject of the film who refers to herself as Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer says things like "This is my husband...his job was to divide East and West Berlin. He's retired now." However as the film progressed I found my self feeling more and more uneasy and disturbed by what I heard.

I felt a mixture of pity and anger towards this woman. Pity because she has convinced herself that the Berlin Wall loves her and has closed herself to the possibility of being in a real, mutually loving relationship. This delusional relationship with the wall is perhaps motivated by fear of rejection or the trauma caused by a childhood rejection - a person can tell you they don't love you but a wall cannot.

The only other person in Mrs.  Berliner-Mauer's life who is featured in the video is an American woman who she has met through the internet. This other woman is also in love with the wall. As you can imagine this caused some friction. They were able to justify their love for the same object as Ms. Berliner-Mauer fell in love with the complete wall in the 60s whereas the American woman fell in love with the wall post-unification. I imagine these woman are very good at justifying the illogical to themselves.

I felt angry when she spoke of the Berlin Wall entirely disconnected from its political and ideological function. She says she is "not interested in politics". She spoke of the distruction of the wall as a tragedy and showed complete disregard for the impact her  "husband" had on other people's lives.  I was also angered by the fact that she is deluding herself and missing out on an important part of life. Though in retrospect it seems unfair to be angry with someone who clearly has a mental illness.

She seems to be and claims to be happy with her situation. Maybe she is and maybe I should not criticise her for that. She says in the video that she is not hurting anyone with her love of the wall. This is hard to argue with though she may be harming herself with her delusions.

Her website can be found at http://berlinermauer.se/

Exhibition Roundup - March and April

 I never did a post about exhibitions in March so I'm doing one now that features a selection of exhibitions which took place during March and April.

willie_doherty.jpg   Willie Doherty, The Visitor,  2008

Willie Doherty is showing a new video work at the Douglas Hyde Gallery. Also at DHG is a exhibition by Paul Mosse featuring various materials he has compiled for the publication Leaves and Papers I-VI. The project involves six artists who were "asked to write about and illustrate, as openly as possible, their personal interests and values". The exhibitions run from 18 April - 27 May.   Breaking Ground presented Art in the Life World (not sure what other world there is but there you go) in an old swimming pool in Ballymun from 28 February - 12 April 2008. It was an interesting site for an exhibition with work shown in the (empty) pool itself and in the changing rooms and showers. The show was a bit hit and miss but included some really good work. Of particular interest was Jesse Jones video of a marching band performing in the pool and Stephen Gunning's Black and white video showing the legs and shadows of marchers in a parade.

Gillian Lawlor, Untitled, Oil on Canvas, Size 70cm x 80cm

Gillian Lawlor at the Cross Gallery.

Nina Canell, Beam Hang,  house-beam, neon, cable, foam, 3000V

Nina Canell, Slight Heat of the Eyelid at Mothertankstation 27 February - 5th April 2008


Voyager, Michael Boran was at the Kevin kavanagh Gallery from 03 March 2008 - 29 March 2008


Dororthy Cross Scape @ the Hugh Lane, 07 March 2008 to 12 May 2008  An exhibition of mostly old work by Dorothy Cross which also featured two new bronze pieces. Pictured is a fox glove with fingers making up a number of the flowers as well as a group of small birds.


Residency and Exhibition News

I will be travelling to Berlin in a few weeks to take up a 5 week residency at Ard Bia Berlin. I  have also been invited to participate in a group show at the Lewis Glucksman Gallery in Cork this summer. 

My show at the Red Stables opened last night with an "in conversation" type discussion with Alan Phelan. The show runs until Sunday and I'll be out at the gallery at lunch time on Sunday when the Visit Studios bus arrives. Then I'll be rushing back into town to be in my studio (at Pallas Studios on Foley Street) for the remainder of Visit.


Events in April


Selected work from my first solo show at the Lab will be touring to the Red Stables in Raheny for a week. I'll also be including some pieces of work that were not in the Lab show.  

To launch the show I will be discussing my work with Alan Phelan at the Red Stables at half 6 on Monday 14th March - all are welcome to attend.

The exhibition coincides with Visit Open Studios weekend. The Red Stables is one of the venues participating in Visit on Sunday 20th April. There will be a wine reception at the gallery at lunchtime on the Sunday during Visit.

My studio at Pallas Studios on Foley Street (up the road from the Lab) will also be open to the public on Sunday 20th April.