This exhibition title ‘NEITHER HERE NOR THERE’ suggests a world of ‘in-betweens’. Each of the 10 artists selected for this show in their own way, go beyond a binary form of understanding, addressing issues of history, tradition, uncertain spaces, meaning and intimacy. Binary models infuse our thinking at every level in society, as life is constantly split into various dichotomies of rich/poor, traditional/contemporary, animal/human, and so on ad infinitum. This method of categorization seems to be the very foundation of an eschewed world view that produces an entire wasteland of disregarded in-betweens. The artists selected for this exhibition challenge these polarities in new and subtle ways.
David Hedderman’s portraits drawn from life capture the intangible human experience of a shared moment between two people, focusing particularly on male identity, there is a curious position between vulnerability and strength. In contrast the painting of Sophie Iremonger seems highly feminine, creating an ultra glossy modern cave painting of sorts, fusing the artificial flavor of mass-media with animal idolatry and an underlying dark violence.
The work of Eoin Llewellyn is heavily influenced by the history of painting, combining old techniques with images from 1900s to the present day, creating paintings which evocatively linger between past and present. In LifeLoop’s work there is also a regard for history in terms of analogue technology. In the installation ‘Infinite Loop Surveillance’, a direct audio experience of presence is created using two tape loops running on four old reel-to-reel tape machines. Two machines are constantly recording the ambient sound of the space, the other two devices simultaneously play back that recording, delayed, echoed, and then re-recorded. This work is a play on the hypothesis that the tape recordings of spaces may sometimes contain messages from the beyond, known as “Electronic Voice Phenomenon” or “Tonbandstimmen”.
The video piece ‘Stuck in the Avant Garde’ by Maurice Doherty, is a humorous snippet of the artist being stuck in the toilet for 3 hours at an exhibition opening. The footage shows the gallerist and three other people working on the lock to try and release the artist.
The work of Benjamin de Burca, is a witty approach to a serious topic revealing fundamental friction between art appreciation and taste as the ultimate guide to understanding in his new work ‘Edifices of Recife or the right to the ugly’, made during his recent stay in Brazil. The Porter and the Sculpture are two central players that are brought into dialogue with each other in this work and thereby disclose their symbolic opposition – The porter – silent unless asked, there to perform his daily tasks – refers to people in the building as ‘sir’, ‘madam’, ‘doctor’ – and the sculpture – Silent, anonymous, there to perform its task, but as an outward expression of wealth, prosperity and privilege. The work hints at an aspirational wish to redress imbalances in who decides, and what makes ‘high’ art high and ‘low’ art low; The right to the ugly. Similarly Mark Curran’s work looks at historical change and impact with his ambiguous images and text of the present day Potsdamer Platz.
Enda O’Donoghue’s brightly coloured images are the by-product of his meticulously planned large scale paintings functioning themselves as an intriguing work about process – a state between completion and idea, control and chance, analogue and digital.
Jane Hughes’s large scale drawings invite you to physically stand between a moment of tension, an uncertain space of attack by the simultaneously tame and wild urban fox. The highly labor intensive work of David O’Kane oscillates back and forth from animation to painting using images that are deployed in a manner similar to scientific thought experiments, probing for a reaction from the artist and the viewer with the heavy tangibility of time and space as a major theme.
The exhibition includes weekly events, including a live performance by Silences (Tom O’Doherty and Kata Kovács) on 5.5.2013 at the Embassy of Ireland. There will be a reading by Alan Cunningham from his debut novella, Count from Zero to One Hundred, published by Penned in the Margins (London) on 19.4.2013.
There will also be two curators talks by Jane Hughes and Enda O’Donoghue on the 14.4 and 21.4.2013.
Ireland holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union during the first six months of 2013, this is an opportune occasion to highlight the work of these 10 contemporary Irish artists who have migrated to the city of Berlin over the last 20 years.
The exhibition will tour to Ireland to be exhibited at the Galway Arts Centre (www.galwayartscentre.ie) in December 2013.
Kindly supported by the Embassy of Ireland, Berlin and Culture Ireland as part of the EU presidency fund.