conceptual art

Thesaurus Word Loops Booklet

This is a new version of a booklet first produced in 2006. The booklet has been redesigned and some changes made to the content.

Each of these word loops takes a pair of words with opposite meanings as its starting point. A thesaurus was used to find a synonym for one of these words and then to find a synonym for that synonym and so on. Each new word suggested by thesaurus involves a slight slippage of meaning. These slippages accumulate resulting in a complete inversion of the original meaning. This process is repeated using the second word from the pair until the loop has been completed.

If you would like to receive a complimentary copy please send me your address: niall(at)

Momo and Francis Alys

Above is a video by a graffiti artist named Momo about writing a  tag the width of  Manhattan by dripping paint from a can attached to the back of his bike. The tag was done in2006 but went unnoticed for several years and has recently been featured in this piece in the NY Times.

The video below is called The Leak and was made by Francis Alys in Paris in 2006. This video and others by Francis Alys are available to view or download and share under a creative commons license from his website

"These videos can be downloaded and shared with others as long as the authorship is credited and there is a link back to the website of the author. These videos cannot be altered in any way or used for commercial purpose."

Video Slideshow of Found Bookmark Project

A series of objects collected from between the pages of books in public libraries in Dublin during the summer of 2009. Each object is captioned by the title of the book in which it was found. This video was produced as a part of an installation at the National Library in Dublin as a part of the offsite exhibition Preponderance of The Small organised by the Douglas Hyde Gallery. More info at

The Found Bookmark Project from Niall de Buitlear on Vimeo.

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."

Michael Asher and Willem Besselink

About a year ago I wrote a post about a Michael Asher installation at the Santa Monica Museum of Modern Art. For the installation Asher reconstructed, as open frameworks, all of the temporary walls that had been constructed for the museum 44 previous exhibitions (picutred above).

I noted at the time that it reminded me of an old idea I had discarded invloving mapping all of the artworks that had been exhibited in an exhbition space. A Dutch artist named Willem Besselink has just seen the post and lef t a comment to say that in 2007 at a gallery called Moire in Utrecht he had done something very similar. His project involved constructing framewoks outlining the space occupied by all of the artworks exhibited in a gallery during the previous year. The video below documents the construction and dismantling of the piece. The different colours relate to the different exhibitions. 

Jorge Machi

Jorge Macchi is an Argentinean artist who makes work in a range of different media. The piece below is a disco ball in an empty room with holes crudely punched in the walls, floor, and ceiling to allow the reflected light to escape. It was featured in The experience of art, curated by Maria de Corral for the 2005 Venice Biennale.

More at


You see I am here after all

The title of this post was taken from a postcard found by the American artist Zoe Leonard. It is also the title of Leonard's exhibition at Dia Beacon which comprises approximately 4000 postcards of Niagara Falls, dating from the early 1900s to the 1950s that the artist collected in flea markets and online auctions.

En masse, they reflect decades of changing technologies during which the motif of the Falls, shot from a few standard vantage points, was revisioned: hand-colored, over-painted, cropped, or otherwise manipulated in accordance with changing notions of truth and taste.

More info here

Spy Box

I was listening to a podcast about the Altermodern exhibition at Tate Britain and the curator mentioned a piece by Walead Beshty  which involved shipping laminated glass cubes which were cracked in transit. It reminded me of a piece which I saw a couple of years ago which I find more interesting. The piece is by British artist Tim Knowles which is described in his own words below:

A digital camera inside a parcel looks out through a small hole and captures images of its journey through the postal system.  The Spy Box was sent from my studio to the gallery taking an image every 10 seconds recording a total of 6994 images these were then edited together to create an animated slideshow.

Below is a short clip from his website which is found here.

Events with Unknown Outcome

Stills from Sofia Hultén's video Events with Unknown Outcome.

Some info on the work taken from the artist's website is below:

I placed various objects (beer crates, a blanket, ball and plastic bag) in the park surrounding the last border watchtower still standing since the GDR in Berlin. I secretly videotaped whatever happened to the objects from the vantage point of the tower. 

More work by this artist can be found on her website

Fabiola - Francis Alys

I read about Francis Alys' Fabiola project quite a while ago but never posted it at the time. Here is some info:

Commissioned by Dia and installed at the Hispanic Society’s Beaux-Arts facility in Manhattan, Fabiola comprises almost three hundred portraits of the Christian Saint Fabiola, all of them copies of a lost original. The paintings will be installed in the Society’s mahogany-paneled North Building Galleries from September 20, 2007, through April 6, 2008. Alÿs’s collection will be seen within the context of the Hispanic Society’s unique collection of Iberian and Latin American art, engaging a dialogue between these historical and contemporary collections.

more info here

I have decided I'm going to try and do at least one blog post per day for all long as I can manage - today would be day 2.


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)